Confessions of a Ménage à Trois

As I was laying in my bed fighting the fact that I was awake, my stepfather came to mind. I begin to think about all the broken promises He made to my family. He used to tell us we were going to Disneyland, Hawaii, and etc. He promised us extravagant gifts, and he never delivered on them. As you get older you start to realize that he’s a liar, and you will never see the things he promises. Completely unbeknownst to me, my stepfather was creating my image of men. His empty words created a mistrust in me towards men. My stepfather’s actions coupled with my biological father’s decision to be missing in action was a perfect concoction for trust issues in future relationships. By age five, all I had come to know about men is  they will lie to you or abandon you. That was my perception based on my experience with them.
I remember my first heartbreak came in the fifth grade. I was dating this guy named Gary. I went away for a special school trip. When I returned it was rumored that he and Tara, a fully developed and sexually advanced fifth grader, were doing some things in the bushes. Those activities led to them being in a relationship and me being dumped without my knowledge. When I confronted Gary, he lied and denied everything. Once we were all at recess their actions told another story. I remember running to the bathroom and weeping alone. I had never felt such humiliation and betrayal from any other male than my fathers. This experience watered those seeds of distrust and abandonment. Distrust mutated into mistrust, and I became suspicious of every man that entered my life.
After Gary, I seemed to attract guys who were either bankrupt of love or felt they had too much loving to give. Many of my short-lived relationships consisted of me trying to convince a guy they were worthy of my love, or convincing myself that cheating was okay because I wasn’t having sex with them. From jr.high to high school, mistrust and abandonment were blossoming into glorious Weeping Willows without my permission.
In college, I changed up my dating strategy. Throughout college my dating relationships were long distance. In retrospect, I believe I did this to avoid another Gary and Tara situation on campus. I found these relationships to be easier on my heart. I didn’t have to overlook stuff, question them, and etc. I was completely committed to them, and those relationships brought about some of my fondest memories of being in a relationship. However, those relationships came to a sad ending due to fear. By the time a man was seriously interested in loving me, my insecurities wouldn’t allow me to receive it. So I ran like Usain Bolt!
My last relationship was the most devastating of them all. It was the one I gave 100% percent of me. It was the one I shared every truth I knew about myself. It was the one I made a conscious effort to ignore the Weeping Willows in my heart. It was the one that I went shopping for a wedding dress. We looked at rings, venues, and honeymoon destinations. It was the one I gave my virginity to because I just knew forever would be how long we would spend together. However, life happens and you end up back alone.

Fast forward to today, I am 32 and single. Well actually I’m not. Mistrust and Abandonment have been my most intimate companions for some time now. They have been constant friends reminding me that men cannot be trusted; one will never truly love you; and when you choose to love them they will abandon you. Their lies have become my truth, and they have painted my perception of men and my relationship with them.

Today, I felt a strong unction to simply forgive my stepfather for every lie and unkept promise. I will no longer allow those things to rent space in my heart and mind. I also release my biological father from the expectations I had for him as a father. His purpose was served by getting me here; and I’ll be forever grateful to him for getting that part right. I release every toxic and dysfunctional relationship that has tainted my perception of real love. I forgive myself for allowing my insecurities to sabotage past relationships, and today I pray that the Weeping Willows, abandonment and mistrust, be cursed at their roots never to live again. I renounce my allegiance to their ideologies, and I choose to believe “Good men who value the integrity of their word do exist.” Last but not least, to those who I hurt by allowing my perception of men to get in the way of what you were trying to show me please forgive me. I truly did not mean you any harm; and I hate that what I did in the name of protecting me harmed you.
Thanks for reading!-Charity Israel

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: https://goo.gl/images/1Mh2PT

Note to Self: I am His!!!

Fact: There are days when I question, “am I saved enough?” This isn’t because I’m not secure in my salvation, but moreso due to me looking at how others respond to God or what they consider the things of God. I’m​ not into “churching” aka being in church for the sake of being in church(powerless services, conferences, and etc.). I don’t observe Jewish holidays, and I don’t care to be so “deep” in the things of the Spirit that I fail to love in my pursuit of this knowledge. As I start to focus on what others are doing, I begin to think simply loving Him and loving others is not enough. Then these two verses come to mind, and I get back on track:

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12, 13

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”- John 13: 34,35

He provides me with the will to do what pleases Him, and ultimately that is to love Him and others more. Sometimes the reminder is needed that I am His and his love flowing through me proves it. Thanks for reading!-Charity Israel

How to Make Your Dreams Come True: Five Lessons from Watching Kevin Durant

I will be the first to admit that I am not a huge fan of the game known as Basketball, and I will also admit that I could care less about who wins or loses the NBA Finals. However, I do stay in the loop of things for conversation purposes. I never want to be the lady that is clueless when people are talking sports. With that being said, I remember the rage that was shown by Oklahoma fans around the country when Kevin Durant announced he was headed to Cali. He left his royal throne in Oklahoma and settled for being on the King’s (Steph Curry) Advisory Board. Many called Durant a traitor. In their loyalty as a fans, they failed to see the NBA as the business that it is and “loyalty” is not a business practice of the organization. Kevin made a decision to do what would make his dream come true. Watching Kevin Durant’s transition in the last year has provided me with some nuggets for life. Here they are:
1. Never forget the vision. Last night KD shared during a Postgame interview that he told his mom at eight years old that he would win a NBA Championship. Since the age of eight, he saw himself as an NBA Championship winner. Although, a team would be required to win a championship, it was a PERSONAL goal for Durant. No matter how much success you are having in a place, if it keeps your from the vision for you life, leaving is necessary.

2. Be courageous enough to make the move. Kevin Durant took the same heat that any great player takes when opting to leave a team. The same people who praised him quickly turned into persecutors as he chose to play for a better team. With all that would be said about him, he packed his things and left in hopes of fulfilling the vision he had for his career. Your next move may leave you in the hands of persecutors for a moment, but the reward will outweigh their words.

3. Take Humility with You. There is no way that Golden State Warriors would be 2017 NBA Champions if Kevin Durant chose to be a thorn in the flesh of GSW instead of a team player. He could have made things about himself, but he got with the GSW program and added to their greatness. With every great move you make in life, take humility with you. Be willing to adjust, learn, and add to the greatness of the people you are serving.

4. Loyalty at the cost of your life’s vision is death. Kevin Durant gave nine seasons to OKC before deciding to go to Golden State. Nine years of his life was devoted to a team that he tried to ensure a NBA Championship, and it did not happen. There are some places and people that you cannot afford to remain loyal to solely based off the principle of loyalty. Kevin Durant gave all he could to OKC, and it was in his best interest to try to win with another team. When choosing to be loyal, one must ask themselves, “Would this decision cause me to forfeit my dreams?” If the answer is “yes,” you may need to reconsider the decision. Life without fulfilling your dreams is a slow and painful death that you have chosen for yourself.

5. Everyone won’t appreciate your accomplishment. As previously stated, the man gave nine years of his life to OKC, and he was absolutely deserving of winning MVP last night. However, some of the “crabs in the bucket” could not get pass the route he had to take to accomplish his dreams; or they could not get pass his hair being uncombed during a basketball game. Side note: He’s a millionaire, do you really think a haircut is beyond his reach? Back to the topic, there will be people during your moments of victory that will focus on everything except the effort you put into accomplishing your dreams. To that I say, let them enjoy their misery as you partake in enjoying the fruit of your labor.

There are many more things that could be said, but I  am tired of typing. I will say this, please do not be afraid to do what it takes to accomplish your dreams. As long as your decisions are producing peace in your life, continue on that path. People may not understand every decision you make, and that’s okay. People will go back and forth with their praise and criticism of you. KEEP GOING!!! No matter what keep the vision in front of you. It is your roadmap to keep you on course when comfort tries to convince you to become stagnant. Your life is a summation of all the choices you have made, and at any moment you can choose to change its course. Why settle for being a king, when you can be a god? God meaning one of the greatest to ever live in your field of expertise. Last night, Kevin Durant became one, and I hope you will too. Thanks for reading!-Charity Israel

P.S. GO COWBOYS!!!! LOL

 

 

Photo Credit: http://uproxx.com/dimemag/kevin-durant-mvp-speech-2017-nba-finals/

Freedom Friday: 20 Years of Torture & Unnecessary Shame

img_20160930_144721You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex. Your workmanship is marvelous.”-Psalm 139:13,14 NLT

I will admit that this has been one of the hardest scriptures for me to believe in the bible. It has been very difficult for me to say, “Thank you for my body.” This is due to all of its deformities. I have a severely clubbed right foot that makes my right leg and foot significantly smaller than the left side. I was born with a dislocated hip, congenital scoliosis, and missing chest bone. I will admit that after my hair and face, in my most jaded opinion, my body goes downhill.

To add to the disfigurement, I am also left with scars on my foot, leg, and back as doctors made attempts to correct the way I was “knitted together in my mother’s womb.” It has been very difficult for me to believe that a God who carefully created creation seemed to have missed a few steps while creating me. Of my mother’s four children, I seemed to carry the physical deformities for everyone. No one else was born with a physical deformity. For years I never questioned it, but I would be lying if I said at one point or another that I did not find myself envious of their “normal” bodies and disgusted by mine.

At 12 years old, I pronounced a life sentence of shame and hiding upon myself. I stopped wearing clothes that would reveal what I hated most about me. I stopped wearing sandals because I no longer felt like explaining my condition to people. I did not want pity or sympathy. I just wanted to be normal. So I became a hider, and into my closet I went hoping to never have to face these legs of mine again. If I hid them, they would eventually go away. Now that I am 31 years old, I can say that was the dumbest idea ever in the history of Charity’s dumb ideas. I literally signed my life away when I decided to start hiding my legs. I stopped swimming. I did not try out for any dance or cheer team because it meant I would have to show my legs. I almost quit softball one year because I thought they were going to make me wear shorts. I removed myself from any activity that required your legs or feet to be seen.

As God would have it, the one activity I could continue was dancing. Our liturgical attire was always long and covered! The only thing that gave me assurance that God meant to put me in this body is that even with my deformities, I am still able to dance. Some of my moves are limited, but I am able to dance unto His glory. He gave me a voice, and I use it for his glory. He has given me the gift of counsel, wisdom, and writing. I use them all  for his Glory. The interesting thing is nothing about my physical deformities have stopped the gifts of God from operating through me. The only thing that has hindered those things at any time have been my mind. I have allowed the “what ifs” to keep me from doing. What if my legs become a meme? What if the men who follow me find out and unsubscribe? What if people start treating me with pity because they discover the truth? I never considered what if I share my story and help others overcome their own insecurities? What if my process of freedom convinces others to find freedom? What if God placed me on this earth as an example that the package is only limited by the mind not by its deformities or flaws? For 20 year I have allowed something that I had absolutely no control over ruin and rule my life. I was completely convinced that because I was born this way I was undeserving of love, friendship, and fulfilling my dreams. That was all a lie.

For years I was afraid of  photo tag notifications. I just knew that someone from elementary school would post a picture that would expose the secret I was hiding, and I would lose everyone once they found out the truth. None of my friends from junior high up until now have been privy of this information, minus those who knew before I started hiding and those who were at Oral Roberts University my Freshmen year. I was just too afraid of rejection, and the enemy had my mind convinced that if people knew the truth about me they would not want me around. However, now that I understand my purpose I must take that risk. God cannot get all the glory that is due Him if I remain in hiding.

The photo being used for this blog was taken on my birthday, July 25th, as I declared the 31st year of my life to be my year of freedom. I asked my sister to capture it because I wanted to see what freedom looked like. It has been twenty years since I have seen myself photographed in a dress and sandals. I had every intention of posting this pic that day but fear convinced me to wait. Well i’m tired of fear and shame ruling my life, and I did not consult them this time. I am tired of preaching freedom and living enslaved to thoughts of fear, rejection, and shame. I am tired of worrying myself with how people will respond to something beyond my control. I am tired of being hot during the summer LOL, and today is the day I free me for good. Even with what is deformed, disfigured, and ugly about me, I am still His workmanship. I am finally choosing freedom over fear, and that my friends is a marvelous thing!-Charity Israel

Throwback Thursday: Fearless, Free, and Five Years Old

I have roughly 56 minutes before the clock strikes 12 and Throwback Thursday will be over; but I could not let the day end without writing this blog. Have you ever ran across one of your childhood pictures and instantly remember everything you were experiencing that moment the picture was captured? In this particular picture I had just finished dancing with a few of my cousins, and I was thrilled that people were impressed by my moves. This picture was taken shortly after what I considered to be the best performance of my life at that time! LOL

I chuckled and happiness instantly hit my heart as I reflected on that joyous occasion of hanging with family. Then the joy became bitter-sweet as I longed for that boldness I had back then. I miss that Charity, and I have spent 20 years trying to be her again. That Charity was fearless, and she believed that anything was possible. That Charity did not allow her physical condition to determine what she could do. That Charity was unfamiliar with shame, and she loved the skin she was in completely. That Charity was not acquainted with how bad life could wound your soul. Her innocence was her superpower! She did not doubt herself, and she was not afraid to try anything. She believed that she was in fact “fearfully and wonderfully made by God!” She was amazing, and I’d be lying if I said that I have not been on a search for that Charity for years now.

After I turned 12 something died inside of me, and I felt like hiding in shame would be better than living as I was.I have spent almost 20 years of my life trying to find that freedom, boldness, and courage that I once possessed. It took me awhile, but I can say i’m finally starting to experience it again. I do not want to hide any more, and part of my purpose requires that I stop. The hypocrisy of preaching freedom and living captive to things I cannot change about me has finally caught up with me. How dare I preach freedom and not live it. No more running in shame, and tomorrow I will finally share what has held me as its slave for over twenty years. I have spent the last year of my life confronting the deep wounds of my life, and now that healing has occurred shame is no longer needed for me to function in life. Tomorrow a piece of me will be shared that I have tried to keep hidden from the world. Freedom Friday will be just that for me, and it’s about time I told my story. Until then thanks for riding down Memory Lane with me.

Do not RSVP: A look at Proverbs 23:6-8

So today I had prepared to write a blog on the scripture “for as a man thinketh so is he…” I had all my great points written out, and I was excited about what I had to say. Then something amazingly awful happened. I read the passage and had to start from scratch. The scripture in its proper context did not support the words I wrote, and I had to discard my thoughts because I had no biblical support for them. I soon discovered that all my life I have been paraphrasing  this scripture, and using the misinterpretation of others to interpret it for myself. Here is the passage that I am speaking of Proverbs 23:6-8:

Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee. 8 The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words. (King James Version)

Every time I have heard verse 7 preached it has always been in the form of encouraging people to watch their thought life. However, this scripture is not encouraging people to watch their thought life. It is a warning for us to be mindful of the character and motives of others. It is encouraging us to consider those we fellowship with and be conscientious of the fact that some people will invite you places and have no desire for your presence. For those who may think I am off my rocker let’s try the same passage in the New Living Translation. It says:

6 Don’t eat with people who are stingy; don’t desire their delicacies.7 They are always thinking about how much it costs.“Eat and drink,” they say, but they don’t mean it.8 You will throw up what little you’ve eaten,and your compliments will be wasted.

Nowhere in this scripture are we being warned to watch our thoughts, but we are being warned to consider the character of those who request our presence. It is ensuring us that if we eat with people that we know are selfish, we will eventually regret every bite! Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible suggests, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he, He is not the man his mouth speaks or declares him to be, but what his heart thinks; which is discovered by his looks and actions, and by which he is to be judged of, and not by his words. Eat and drink, saith he to thee, but his heart is not with thee; he bids you eat and drink, but he does not desire you should…” Everyone’s table is not worth a visit. We should consider their character before accepting their invitation.

Since the Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 13:1 that “…every fact shall be sustained and confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses,” (AMP) allow me to present one more translation on this text to validate the true meaning of Proverbs 23:6-8. The Douay-Rheims Bible says:

Eat not with an envious man, and desire not his meats: 7 Because like a soothsayer, and diviner, he thinketh that which he knoweth not. Eat and drink, will he say to thee: and his mind is not with thee. 8 The meats which thou hadst eaten, thou shalt vomit up: and shalt loose thy beautiful words. 

For the third time, we see our personal thought life has nothing to do with this scripture; but the text is warning us to be aware of the intent of others. The addition of “because like a soothsayer and diviner” comes from the late fourth-century Latin translation of the Bible known as the Vulgate. I actually wish the modern Bible translations would have kept that in there to make the text more clear. Just like the soothsayer and diviner deceive, bamboozle, and cause great havoc in the lives of those who take their bribes or use their services; so is the envious or selfish person who invites you to dinner. It is best you go without for the day rather than dine with the person you know is never doing good for anyone else except themselves.

So if you are still with me let me conclude with these few points:

  1. Make it your business to find out what the scripture says for yourself.
  2. If you discover that your interpretation was wrong, admit it and adjust your life to the scriptures not your feelings or misinterpretation.
  3. There are scriptures in the Bible that will support the need for us to change our thinking but Proverbs 23:6-8 are not the ones to use.
  4. Do not eat at the table of a person whose character consist of envy, jealousy, and selfishness. If you ignore this warning, you will regret it.
  5. Make it a point to never to be the person described in Point 4. If those words describe you, today is a great day to allow the Lord to change your heart.

 

Thank you so much for reading, and I hope this has encouraged you! Have an awesome day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: https://www.buzzfeed.com/emofly/hannibal-food-secrets-janice-poon?utm_term=.slVbY3wJZl#.gye7dE3xKr