The Incredible Invisible Woman

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Hey Ladies,

Have you ever felt invisible? I remember the trailblazing, science fiction movie, “The Incredible Shrinking Man” that told the saga of an average, everyday man who finds himself on the short end of the height stick (literally) as he gradually, but certainly shrinks to a barely recognizable physical existence due to exposure from a strange dark cloud. By movie’s end, and no larger than an atom, the main character declares, “To God there is no zero. I still exist!”

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Wow! I don’t know about you, but I can recall a few times in my life that I’ve felt small in existence. Earlier on, it took me a while to come to the realization that “I still exist” as the character Scott Carey reached in the movie. I’ll be honest and say that later in well over 40 years of life I’ve had to work harder at remembering and holding to the incredible-ness of my existence as the times and tides of life changed.

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As women, it’s easy to feel invisible not knowing if the world sees who we really are behind all of the titles we wear, sometimes even questioning if we know who we are outside of all the titles we wear. From the definitions that often bring us joy like wife, mother, homemaker, daughter, leader, caregiver, employer/employee or friend, to those that can be the source of some of our greatest sorrows like wife, mother, homemaker, daughter, leader, caregiver, employer/employee or friend, I believe it’s something about being a woman of faith and exercising that faith and trust in God in the midst of “life” that (I believe) tends to make one an even bigger target for the devil. he, the loser also known as the devil, would like nothing more than have us think that we don’t matter, that our existence is ever-dwindling, that our definitions are all that define us, or that people don’t see who we really are or what we’re going through even in the midst of our efforts to keep the faith, with a smile on our faces, a praise on our lips and scripture in our hearts.

Well, I’m here to say we’re not invisible. Women, we’re incredible! To God, there is no zero. Regardless of what we have, what we do, who we used to have, where we’re from, where we’ve been or where we’re going we still exist… and we matter!

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@AngelaMichele316

The Divorce Dilemma: What About the Children?

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I’m divorced, but I don’t have biological children, nor did I grow up the product of divorce. With those factors taken into account, I did have the privilege of helping rear a beautiful goddaughter, who is grown, but was living at home with my former husband and me during the time of the separation and divorce.

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To make my unique situation even more unique, I also had the privilege to be like a “spiritual parent” to hundreds of parishioners at my former husband’s church, that had been like family, often using the example of the marriage that my ex-spouse and I presented as an inspiration for their own. So having a 20+ year old at home at the time of my divorce, and having hundreds of others I interacted with daily, one thing that struck home for me is the possibility of them living with fear of a repeat offense. When it comes to divorce, I don’t have much to offer regarding experiential insight into weekend visitations, child support, holidays or the likes with the exception of the child’s welfare, well-being and ability to see two mature parents show their love for him or her and respect for each other being all that matters. What I can speak on is the fact that fear can be real, but it does NOT have the final say.

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Let me first start by being spiritual. God has not given us a spirit of fear. Just check 2 Timothy 1:7. Now, with that out of the way, let me be honest and say that I can only imagine some people living with the thought of having the same fate in marriage as those they’d possibly observed, admired or lived through which ended in divorce.

Before that thought lingers any longer let me make a declaration to the devil regarding children of divorce. Their future is not destroyed by another person’s divorce. (Take that, loser!)

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What children of divorce can do to avoid fear and failed marriage is:

  • Pray for healing. Don’t let fear or bitterness be an open door to an attack.
  • Ask question of the parents on what lessons were learned. (That is in no way a green light to get in their “bees-wax”, but an invitation to talk candidly about what they gained even through their pain.)
  • Learn from the past mistakes of others, but also monitor your own actions and intentions with your spouse.
  • Seek divorce counseling designed for the child’s perspective.
  • Seek pre-marital and marital counseling.
  • Don’t take on another persons battles.
  • Simply don’t entertain fear. If it comes, cast it out quickly with the Word of God.
  • Accept that another person’s problems will never trump God’s plans.
  • Realize that each person’s journey is custom-made by God.

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 @AngelaMMoore316

You Don’t Know My Story

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“You don’t know my story so you won’t understand my glory” is a phrase often heard. That, coupled with others like, “if they only knew what I’ve been through”, or “people have no idea what I’ve  gone through” have become common terms in our generation. Some may think those phrases to be catchy, or sound cute, but they’re starting to irk me like uninvited ants to a July 4th barbecue.

I have just one question, if people don’t know your story why don’t they? If we’ve been through it, come out of it, learned from it, moved past it, come from under it, grown because it, been rewarded due to it, or restored after it, why don’t they know our story?

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It’s no longer good enough to walk around with a Hershey’s chocolate chip-sized morsel on our shoulders in response to people who don’t understand us, don’t get why we are the way we are, question why we respond in faith the way we respond, misinterpret why we do what we do, misunderstand the Source of why we live like we live or have what we have if we haven’t opened up our mouths to say something. I’ve seen too many Christians withdraw, become defensive and even go so far as to get a “fruit of the spirit-less” attitude because people don’t know what they’ve gone through to get to where they are and it’s simply because they haven’t shared what they’ve gone through to get to where they are. The Bible says, “let the redeemed of the Lord say so”. People’s lives are dependent on what we’ve already lived. I’d say it’s time we say so.

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@AngelaMMoore316

Friendship 101: Prefer the Positive and Nix the Negative

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I’m an early bird. I’ve always been and it seems there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m also an earl bird who tends to get a lot of thoughts and ideas in the middle of the night. Having had a day mixed with wonderful times with family and friends, viewing “Frozen” and “Ride Along” back-to-back…two movies with friendships/relationships being a theme, and a good bit of Reality TV has me up dark and early on a Sunday morning writing. I don’t know what it is about my mind that tends to make me wake, sometimes when I don’t want to to churn out whatever it’s been simmering on. In the middle of last night its thought of choice was friendship/relationships.

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Friendship is a necessity, people. In fact, I’m convinced that we are strategically created by God to have healthy, strengthening, nourishing relationships, based on Christ’s relationship with His friends in the Bible, and based in His love for us. The problem is, we often don’t know how to do friendship the right way. I could go on and on about the mistakes I’ve made concerning my treatment of friends simply because I didn’t know, or take the time to know any better, but I won’t:-)

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While watching “Blood, Sweat and Heels” yesterday, a reality show that is growing on me, and even teaching me a thing or two about friendship (in the midst of hints of humor and the unneeded madness I cringe at watching), I learned a few things that further prove Proverbs 18:24 to be true…A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

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We all need and deserve friendships. One thing we have to work on, however, is preferring the positive over the negative when it comes to our associations with other human beings who are just as flawed as we. I’ve been reminded, even through the lens of “Frozen”, “Ride Along” and “Blood, Sweat and Heels” that we have to…

  • Be present in good times and times that could be better. We shouldn’t abandon our friends when times are tough for us, or them.
  • Live in the present, not always referring to the past (how a person use to be, how we helped them, how we were there for them, what they’ve been through, etc.). Nobody wants to hear that over and over, especially after they have lived it.
  • Guard our mouths and actions around those we love.
  • Have proper expectations of people. Not all friends will play the same roles for us in our lives, nor will they often play the same role for us as we’ve played for them. Each person has a different assignment.
  • Ward against comparisons and covetousness.
  • Be open to the notion of having friends that aren’t like us so they can help sharpen us and we can help sharpen them. As long as they’re “iron” it’s all good. (Check Proverbs 27:17)
  • Be flexible as life tends to change the pace and course of our lives and the lives of those we love. Be willing to change and grow for the good of ourselves and the association.
  • Be willing to be vulnerable, transparent and TRUSTING.
  • Be helpful to those we call friends.
  • Allow those we call friends to be helpful to us.
  • Learn to relax.
  • Guard trusted secrets and never use those secrets for our own gain.
  • Respect each person’s role in the relationship, and reason for God allowing them to be there.
  • Believe the best of tried and true friends first before accepting what is being presented as the worse.
  • Learn to say or accept “I’m sorry”…again and again if needed.
  • View each friendship as a gift from God.

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@AngelaMMoore316

Please Ma’am/Sir, Don’t Cancel Your Own Order

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Imagine being famished!!! Imagine walking into your favorite restaurant while famished and having the ability to order anything off of the menu that’s pleasing to your palate and fit for your consumption. Imagine all you have to do is be seated, place your order, wait on the food, eat and enjoy. Sounds good, huh? Well, imagine what the owner of the restaurant, who is offering up your all-you-can-eat, at no cost meal to you would think if, as soon as you ordered you cancelled the order, then ordered, then cancelled, then ordered, then cancelled again. Ummm, yep, I don’t think he’d be too happy with that and you’d still be starving.

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That’s a lot like life. So many times we choose to cancel our own orders with our own words then we get mad or discouraged when what we wanted isn’t received.

  • We’ll ask God for a good mate then say, “All men are dogs” or “Women just want you for the money”. #cancelled
  • We’ll ask God for a good job then say, “I could never get a job like that because I don’t have experience or a degree”. #cancelled
  • We’ll ask God to change our lives then say, “Well, this is just who I am. I’ve been this way all my life.” #cancelled
  • We’ll ask God for friends then say, “I can’t trust ‘nobody’. I’ll just fly solo dolo.” (as the kiddos say) #cancelled
  • We’ll ask God to draw us closer to Him then say, “God knows my heart. I’m not going to church. Church people are messy and pastors are crooks.” #cancelled
  • We’ll ask God for healing then say, “I’m so sick. I guess I’ll be like this always. My mama was like this too so…” #cancelled
  • We’ll ask God to restore a relationship then say, “He/She won’t ever change.” #cancelled

Do you get my drift? We’ve all been through too much and God has been too good for Him to prepare the table, we get there, then decide, through the power of our own negative words, that we don’t want to be there. Please ma’am/sir, don’t cancel your own order.

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@AngelaMMoore316

I Need to Lose Control

A recent trip to the Red Door Spa in Bethesda, Maryland opened my eyes to a startling revelation. “Eye” deal with control issues. The nail tech who expertly performed my much-needed pedicure was nearing completion of her services, when she wrapped my tenderly treated feet in hot paraffin wax, a plastic bag and a warm, moist towel. In her sweet, and soft enough to be spa-room appropriate voice she whispered, “now close your eyes and relax”.

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Having started their treatments around the same time as I, my three friends there with me had no problem following directions. They closed their eyes and relaxed. I, on the other hand know they closed their eyes and relaxed because I had mine open. I tried closing my eyes. It lasted about two minutes. I peeked around and tried it again. It lasted about three minutes. I finally succumbed to the fact that keeping my eyes closed and trusting the process was something else I needed to add to my list of improvements. (It seems the older I get the longer my list.) The revelation about having trouble losing control was only made more clear after my tech gave me a stern, yet still sweet look and said, “You’re supposed to have your eyes closed and be relaxing, honey”.

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I wrestled with why I couldn’t keep my eyes closed. I simply couldn’t stop looking at my gold layered toes, the shelf baring the warm towels, the speck of lint on the floor, the magazine in the distance or anything else, and that’s a problem. Instead of relaxing I thought, and thought and thought. What did not being able to close my eyes and relax say about me? How long had I been this way? Who’s fault is it? Why am I this way? So instead of closing my eyes and relaxing I thought about why I couldn’t close my eyes and relax. (Don’t laugh. Just pray:) I don’t know what my eyes were expecting to see, miss out on or discover, but I feel in that moment that not being able to follow that simple instruction spoke more about me than meets the eye. “Eye” must overcome control issues.

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So I embark now on the quest to keep my eyes closed, and relinquishing control. Oh the mystery of what lies behind the lid…the eye lid that is.

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@AngelaMMoore316

The Divorce Dilemma: You Don’t Have to Choose

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Divorce from the outside looking in is one of those things that can make you feel like a third grader on the playground having to choose between your two best friends who currently are no longer friends. It can sometimes feel as tough on the support system as those who are actually going through. It tickles me who many people are still “feeling some kind of way” (as the youth say) about my divorce when I’m so far gone from that. I recognize that the side effects can strangely sometimes linger longer with the support system than the two parties actually involved who took the time to be healed.

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Having been on both sides of the fence, as the one who was divorced, and seeing it in the lives of too many family and friends, one thing I’m beginning to accept is you don’t have to choose. Yes, divorce can be painful. Yes, it can be messy. Yes, there is usually one primary person who is the cause, and a list of other supporting actors playing major roles or bit parts. Yes, it can cause a great divide, but it doesn’t have to, and if it does, it doesn’t have to cause a divide forever. Now, I’m not talking about this being an overnight fix, or necessarily remaining besties with the person who broke the heart, or broke the covenant with the other, and instantly inviting them (and their new boos) all over for tapas and frappe. I’m not even saying you have to be friends at all, but you do have to extend forgiveness and the love of Christ to your fellow sister or brother, and through a very prayerful and purposeful healing process each person involved in the throes of divorce can come out better (even the onlookers). After all, one day you could find yourself on that side of the fence and it’s even lonelier when you’re literally alone.

I remember my now, four-year divorce, and a few persons that I loved, was there for and thought loved me that I’ve still not heard from to this day. I just recently relinquished the thought of one day my phone would ring with explanation of their exodus from my world as if I’d done something wrong. After time continued to pass and still no word from them my mind would sometimes think of one of my favorite songs, “Mr. Telephone Man, there’s something wrong with my line.” Lol! Regardless of whether it’s the person who left or was left, it’s specifically at the time of separation and divorce that people need to know that they are loved, cared for and most of all prayed for, whether you agree with their actions or not. (I’m not speaking to instances regarding abuse or harm of life.) You don’t have to choose. In God’s timing you can offer the same measure of grace and forgiveness wherever needed knowing it costs you nothing. As life goes on and roles expand to the different parties dating or remarrying others,  or as relationships shift and situations causing them to come together come about you still don’t have to choose. If you desire it, the Lord will show you a way to be who you are supposed to be for both in a way that is not awkward, inauthentic or uncomfortable. Your part in each parties life might be starkly different, but don’t rule out the possibility of having some role. Remember, divorce is not a country. You don’t have to pledge your allegiance.

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At a function I witnessed a great divide come together. A central figure was the cause of uniting a previously married couple and their new spouses under one roof for an extended period of time. As an onlooker, who was connected to all parties involved, I was scared when I first spotted them (they use to be a force with which to be reckoned). Then, I was a bit hesitant to fully embrace the first wife (although my heart was doing the cabbage patch at the site of her). I didn’t want to make the current wife, whom I love, feel bad because I also love the first wife. Then it happened. They had the audacity to ask me to take a picture of them, hugged all up like BFFs.  I don’t know how long they’ve even been this way, but it was evident this wasn’t new to them. Now, don’t, by any stretch of the imagination, think that their path to this picture had been smooth, or that they sit by the fireplace roasting mallows and sipping warm cider. Their transition to this point of sincere civility was about as smooth as Florida alligator skin. But through time, prayer, distance, healing, and probably good ol’ growing up there they were in the middle of us all taking pictures together, with their spouses, and with us. So the challenge then shifted to us, the onlookers, whispers and gawkers, who had not seen this coming, but had to quickly adjust to the fact that clearly it had already come. What better testimony is there for life to go on and all those involved catch up with what God was up to all along. It would have been a tragedy for those of us on the outside to be holding on to leftover anger, opinions and “wouldas, couldas and shouldas” when clearly the parties involved were way past that point. They told us that day with no words spoken that we didn’t have to choose. They also told us in unspoken words that they were mature enough to know that neither parties involved had the right to ask any of us to choose, especially since we didn’t have to.

Regardless of who did what to whom, why and for how long, God never chooses. He loves us just as we are on our way to better than we’ve ever been. When it comes to divorce the same especially so.  God did the choosing and He chose us all. You don’t have to choose.

 

@AngelaMMoore316