The Wedding that Didn’t Happen

Today is August 5, 2016 and it is has been a year since my beautiful grandmother on my father’s side passing. However, today I mourn for a different reason. Today, if things had gone as planned, I would have burned my Single Woman card forever. Yep, today is the day I would no longer be a Porter. Instead I am single once again and telling my story to complete strangers. For those who have not been following me on Social Media, on Christmas Eve 2015 I reconnected with someone, and from that moment we were inseparable. Considering that fate brought us together again, we were both pretty sure that this meant marriage.

This man took great care of me. He made it his business to make me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world. He was kind. He enjoyed a good laugh. He had a career. He was a Christian, and he was fine!!!! Tall, dark, and pleasing in my sight was the man I fell completely in love with! He knew everything about me. He managed to accept those things about me that I wrestled with accepting about myself. I was hooked on that Milk Chocolate man, and he was hooked on me. Then March 3, 2016 came and my little fairytale ended. The united front we once were had become divided. The vision of life we had together started to look better apart from each other.

Things were not bad. He did not cheat and neither did I, but we both felt that it was in the best interest of each other that we go our separate ways. It was the sweetest breakup ever, and I could not be mad because I felt the same way. But after a few days of sitting alone and coping with the fact, us breaking up included there being no wedding, I became furious!!! I read over every text message of him declaring how excited he was about us getting married. I kept having flashbacks of us going shopping for rings, checking out venues, and how gorgeous I looked in the gown I tried on. I was pissed that I spent money on Bridal magazines, fabric samples, and anything pertaining to weddings. I was highly upset that I introduced this man to absolutely everyone important to me. More than anything I was ashamed that I would once again be single at all the family functions and have to dodge conversations about my Relationship status. I was on the brink of marital bliss, and instead I ended up drowning in tears full of disappointment, anger, and shame.

I was highly annoyed with God that he would permit my heart to know this kind of pain, and I kept quiet about it for almost four months until I could speak about it without falling apart. To be honest, this was my greatest fear realized. I never wanted to be the woman who knew what it was like to be with “The One” at a family function and have to do the walk of shame at the next family function. I never wanted to know what it was like to give your all to someone only to hear “let’s go separate ways!” It was one of the greatest blows to my heart even though I agreed it was truly the best decision for both of us. This was the most painful moment in my experience with love, but the beauty that came from living through this nightmare was worth every tear. You’ll have to wait until Monday to hear that side of the story. Have a wonderful weekend beautiful people.-Charity Israel

P.S. I made it through typing this blog without a single tear. It appears my days of mourning have ended!!!

 

 

 

Photo Credit: http://weddings.lovetoknow.com/wiki/African_American_Wedding_Clipart

 

I’m the Most Beautiful Girl in the World: Thanks Prince for the Reminder!!!

"Prince"

“** FILE ** Prince performs during the 6th annual BET Awards in this June 27, 2006, file photo in Los Angeles. Prince will headline the ninth annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, festival promoters announced Wednesday, April 9, 2008. The Purple One will be the featured act on day two of the giant summer music festival, a three-day affair that runs April 25-27 in Indio, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, file)”

 

 

Usually when the death of a celebrity occur I give my condolences via the internet, and I move on. Yesterday, I assumed would be no different as I sat in silence for a moment trying to wrap my mind around the news of Prince’s passing. Honestly, i’m still like I won’t believe it until the funeral.#noLordnotPrince After getting over the initial shock, I went on Youtube, and I found a video that would convey what I wanted the world to know that I appreciated about Prince. I typed out my little tribute:

Rest well to the beautifully weird musical genius, Prince. Many appreciated his voice, but I appreciated his musicianship. I’ll never forget the first time I heard him play the guitar. He made me feel as if I could too!!! Thanks for giving this world what you could. Your gift of music helped make the world a better place for a moment as we all danced our troubles awa.

I had fulfilled my Internet duties, and I started to look through my timeline to see how others were paying homage to this musical genius. I chuckled at how some felt a righteous indignation to condemn people for honoring his influence on their lives and the world. I rolled my eyes at “Super Fans” who made self-righteous post declaring how the rest of us were not true fans because we did not know his favorite eyeliner or designer. I smiled at how cities and meteorologist around the world used Purple to light up the city or represent the rain. He was indeed a gift to this world.

I will admit I was not a diehard fan. Matter of fact, I would not consider myself a fan of anyone I do not personally know.. However, Prince’s music has had an amazing impact on my life. It’s no secret that my father opted to leave my mom with the responsibility of raising me, and my stepfather was not the best replacement for the job. He did not affirm me as a young girl. My mom always assured me I was beautiful, but it was not until 1995, at ten years old that I heard a man declare just how beautiful and special I was as a girl. I was listening to the radio, not really paying attention to the new song being played until I heard the chorus. I gave my undivided attention to the second verse so that I could hear these words again:

Could you be the most beautiful girl in the world? Could you be? It’s plain to see. You’re the reason that God made a girl. Oh, yes you are!

To this day, I cannot describe what happened to me in those moments, but I felt confident  and appreciated by the end of the song. To some this may be a moment you would like to give me your pity, please DO NOT. LOL God uses whomever and whatever he needs to get the message to us, and that day God used Prince. I did not run out and buy the single, but the chorus was engraved on my heart.

Of all the Women Empowerment songs this song celebrates being a woman in a way that does not diminish the value of a man in the process. Being a lyrical genius, he reminded women to take delight in being the object of a man’s affection. In my opinion, there is nothing more beautiful than giving all your love to another.

Prince will truly be missed, but his music has made him immortal as long as we have a means of listening to it. I’m sure he had no clue that his song would be a tool used to instill confidence in a 10 years old girl in Little Rock, Arkansas. It is just a reminder to those who are living to use your gifts because God knows the lives you will touch by doing using them. Prince was unapologetically Black, unapologetically an artist, and unapologetically himself. I wonder what greatness we would achieve if we decided to stay true to what is inside of us no matter who told us that we should change to make them feel comfortable.

Thanks Prince for helping me realize that because God created me, BEAUTIFUL is all I can be, and forgive me for showing my appreciation a few days too late.-Charity Israel

 

The Danger of Living “Your Truth”

truthThe heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9

Yesterday on Twitter I tweeted, “If living “your truth” is sin in the sight of God, you are still living a lie. As Christians, the Bible always trumps our truth.” I followed that tweet up with “satisfying your flesh is bliss until the enemy comes to collect and sin is always paid in death.#Romans6:23 #readit” I know death sounds extreme, but it is true. Consider a thief, he enjoys the instant gratification of acquiring that stolen object, but once he is discovered he will either experience death to his freedom (jail time) or to his life (killed by the owner). Consider the adulteress, she enjoys the moments of pleasure with her lover, but once her infidelity is discovered it oftentimes lead to the death of her marriage. Need more proof? Consider the gossiper, he or she thoroughly enjoys spreading rumors, until the death of a friendship or their smile because someone hit them in the mouth and took a couple teeth in the process. LOL

You may be wondering, Charity what does that have to do with living my truth?” I’m glad you asked. Oftentimes, living our truth comes at the expense of clinging to sin. Especially if our truth is being with another man’s wife; cheating your customers out of their money; and etc. Usually our “truths” are lived from our hearts, and that is a dangerous place to acquire truth. Matthew 15:19 says, “For from the heart comes evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, and slander.” In other words, “it is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.”(Jer.17:9) Even as Christians, we risk the chance of being led astray by the suggestions of our heart. This is why Christ admonished in Matthew 22:37 to “love the Lord your God with all your heart…” He knew that if we did not submit to God’s lordship in our hearts that our lives would not reflect His presence in us. Matthew 15:18 says, “But the things that come out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.” This also rings true about the way we live. If we are living from the truth of hearts that have not submitted to God, we will live lives that lead to all kinds of death.

The world has a luxury that we gave up when we decided to become a Christian, and that is the permission to live by their “truth.” They have the right to sleep with who they want; marry who they want; and take what they want. We forsook that privilege in order to obtain the privilege of being children of God. We no longer live according to the truths of our heart, but we live according to the truths of his Word. “Following our heart” is no longer an adequate excuse to remain in sin. God’s Truth (the Bible) trumps our truth (the suggestions of the heart).

Christians who lived before the Bible was accessible to all, maybe could have blamed their unrighteous living on ignorance. But we are without excuse. We have to make a decision to live according to the flesh (the suggestions of our heart) or the Spirit (the suggestions of the Holy Spirit). I encourage each of us to take a moment today and examine the “truths” we are living. If the Bible is clear on the matter, bring yourself under the subjection of God’s truth. If the Bible is unclear on the matter, seek wise counsel and be prayerful until you receive instructions on what to do. Always remember living any truth outside of God’s word will result in death (Romans 8:5-13). Today I pray we as believers are found choosing life. Thanks for reading and never forget that Love Lives FREE!!!

 

Prayer: Father thank you so much for the privilege of being your child, and I repent for living a life that does not reflect I belong to You. Today, I ask that you would bring to light all the “truths” that I have been living contrary to yours. Today I submit to your lordship over my heart, and I thank you for the grace to live in a way that is proof of your existence in me in Jesus name.

 

 

 

Meme Credit: The Daily Quote on Pinterest

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Daddy,

Today marks the one year anniversary of your passing (September 3, 2012), and I must admit I have not been able to write about this for a year. But I suppose doing so will put my mind at ease and thoughts of our past to rest. I first want to say “THANK YOU” for rearing two girls that were not your own. It is no secret that we did not have the best of relationships due to some of your personal life decisions; but I must acknowledge the effort you put forth. After leaving home and having to face or suppress my own demons, I understand your internal conflict that we had to physically witness. I understood your need for escape and your temporary leave of absence from your responsibilities as a husband and a father. I understand why you chose certain things to help you cope with failure, unrealized dreams, and the desire to do better but not quite “getting it together.”

I appreciate you staying away at your darkest times and returning when daybreak arrived. I appreciated your charisma, and during your good days how you gave love and laughter to everyone around you. I am grateful for our verbal spats. You taught me how to stand up for myself. I also apologize for them. I should have been more respectful.

We had this talk before but know that I FORGIVE EVERYTHING said that took a blow at my confidence, my talents, and my dreams. I now know your greatest pain in life was coping with your unrealized dream. Until the day of your funeral, I did not know you made history and set  Basketball records in high school and college that have yet to be broken. I did not know I was living with an urban legend until your friends shared stories of the Glory Days with us. I am sorry I never took the time to get to know you.

By the time we met you were living from a place of brokenness, and we did not know how to fix you. I get you now! The older I become the more compassion I have towards the way you handled Chris and I. You honestly had NO CLUE on how to raise young girls, but you were a great friend to us as women. Thanks for the encouraging phone calls and laughs. Thanks for the thick skin you gave me to stand my ground even when the earth around me chooses to crumble. Thanks for every attempt made to show us that you loved us. You did your best. The last time we saw each other, you proudly introduced me to your nurse saying “This is my oldest daughter Charity, and she is a doctor.” You have my word on making that come true.  Your approval was always important to me, and that moment affirmed all those years that you heard and believed in me when I thought you did not. I am glad to know you died proud of me.

I find myself thinking of you more now that you are gone than I ever did while you were here. I always assumed Ole Cole would be around, but you got to see God before I did. You were always good for surprises. I know you are safe now and free from a world that was not so kind to you. You were a troubled man, but I am grateful your last days were full of the rest you needed. You will be missed and thought of at every event. Maybe we can dance together when I get to heaven since you won’t make my wedding. What I know about a good but severely broken man I learned from you, and no matter the dysfunction that plagued my childhood I will only hold on to the good.

Thanks for Trying,

Your Eldest Daughter

 

Accesory to Murder: A Reflection on Resurrection Day

Today marks the culmination of one of the goriest murders recorded in history, the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It also celebrates the greatest moment in Christendom, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus a man whose perfection is often questioned; race is debated; righteousness is disputed; and divinity is argued CHOSE to die so that we may live. We, being the ungrateful, the merciless, the selfish, and the prideful. We, being the ones worthy of Eternal Damnation but given Grace instead. We, being the unforgiving became the Forgiven. Isaiah 53:3-6, 12 reveals how we are guilty of accessory to murder:

“He was despised and rejected. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. We did not care. It was our weakness he carried; and it was our sorrows that weighed him down. He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. The Lord laid on him the sins of us all.”

Our sins were accomplices to His death on the cross, but that’s NOT the focus of today (Rom. 5:8). Today we celebrate what His Glorious Resurrection means for those who accepts His lordship. It means we are now counted righteous by God (Isaiah 53:11). It means we have Eternal Life (John 3:16). The Resurrection means we have been justified and the blood of Jesus puts us in right standing with God (Romans 5:1). It means there is NO condemnation of sin, and we do NOT have to walk around weighed down by our past (Rom. 8:1). The Resurrection means for the Believer that sin and death are rendered POWERLESS (I Cor. 15:55-7). It means we all have a personal line of communication to come before God any time about anything (Heb. 4: 14-16). The Resurrection means that through the fulfillment of the Life, Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus we can put our faith and hope in God (I Pet. 1: 20,21). Last but not least, the Resurrection means we are now the children of God, and in His timing we will see our Father face to face (I John 3:1,2).

Today I pray that as we celebrate our hearts would be pierced by the reality that God considered us in the brutal murder and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. For the unbeliever, I hope you come to know Jesus in the pardoning of your sins. For the believer, I pray you come to know the love, freedom, and victory that now belongs to you as a result of accepting Jesus Christ. The work of righteousness has been done for us, please ACCEPT that truth! Today let us embrace the truth of the Resurrection which is God is able to bring back to life those things that are needed for His Glory. The Resurrection showed the undeniable power of God in Jesus’ life, and I pray that your life does the same. Happy Resurrection Day!- Charity Israel

Linger or Live?

This morning I woke up and had an epiphany. I realized I have been a resident of my past. I have set up shop in past experiences. I have lived vicariously through the victories of ole. I am guilty of making plans for the future when conversing with others, but I have not put forth any effort in getting those things accomplished. Some where between then and now I lost my motivation and I have become comfortable being mediocre. This may not sound like a big deal for some, but for me this is tragic. How did the Encourager lose motivation? How did the dreamer get comfortable with simply having the dreams and not making them reality?

As I type I am reminded of one incident when I confided in someone that I trusted about my dreams. I told them what I wanted to do for my community, my state, and ultimately the world. I shared how I felt God had placed me on the earth to do something that had never been done. I poured out my heart in hopes this person would provide affirmation and encouragement and instead they told me ” I was not special, and I should focus on other things than what I shared.” Because I held this person in high regards their words held much weight in my decision-making process. I was devastated by the words, but I agreed to their counsel because they were older and had more experience at this thing called “life.” I remember leaving that setting perplexed, disappointed, and discouraged.

By accepting this person’s advice, I had also made the decision to simply exist instead of live. It was the day I subconsciously decided that my dreams were not worth pursuing. It was the day I lost my faith in what could be and started to accept things as they were. All my life I had been on this adventure of doing the impossible, and on that day I entered the never ending saga of simply existing.

At the time I was a bright 23 years old that had returned from college and was ready to change the world. Now I am a soon to be 28 years old mourning the loss of five years wasted. I could be a therapist, lawyer, or doctor by now. I could have started a couple of organizations and could be conducting seminars. But instead I am just lounging in this mediocre life because I chose to esteem the words of man higher than God. I never thought to consult with anyone else. Neither did I consider the fact that the person may be wise in one subject, but it does not qualify them to counsel on another. Looking back, I should have kept my mouth closed and sought counsel from someone who was either doing something similar to what I desired to do or someone who was pursuing their dreams against all odds.

Now with two days before my 28th birthday, I am left with two options: linger or live. I can linger in the past or live pursuing what I believe God has placed me on this earth to do. I can spend another year regretting the time lost; or I can spend this year charting a new path and moving forward. Today I choose to LIVE! I am throwing off my vintage sackcloth and ashes and putting on something that works for the future. I am discarding the words of those who counseled me out of their personal fears and failures; and I’m CHOOSING to CLING to what God has said about me.

I am sure I am not the first or the last person to experience an assassination attempt on their dreams. But to those who have not experienced this let me offer you some advice:
1. Guard Your heart(dreams) with all diligence. It is NOT necessary to share your dreams with everyone around you.
2. If you are certain God told you, do NOT allow man’s word to trump what God said.
3. When pursuing your dreams ONLY take counsel from those who are doing what you desire to do or those who have blazed a trail for others to follow.

If you can relate to the story I just shared, you my friend are familiar with Attempted Dream Assassination. I use the word “attempted” because although it appears that it was dead, I believe God ordained this day to nurse it back to life. To those who have been guilty of living in the past and rehearsing the words that wounded you inside I offer this advice to you:
1. CHOOSE to forgive those who offered wrong counsel or those who maliciously spoke against you.
2. Ask God to restore your faith in Him and what He has called you to do.
3. Build yourself up on your most holy faith and work towards those things God has called you to do (Jude 1:20).

There will always be people who will not understand us or what we do, but we must not allow their opinions to snuff out what God says about us. Today I encourage us all to Live. Live with a determined faith to see what God has promised come to pass. Live with a heart of compassion for those worse off than us. Live with a tolerance for those who do not like us. Live with a love for God that inspires others to do the same. Last but not least, live with the blessed assurance that we can do all things through Christ who strengthen us (Phil. 4:13). God bless you all and I am praying that we will pursue our purpose in the freedom that Love provides!#Philippians 3:13,14