When Marriage is Truly Dope

Dear Friend,

Hope the month of January is treating you well; not too cold, not too hot…just the right ‘temperature’. This time each year my church holds a 21-day fast and we are entering day 10 of this awesome experience. Today as I reviewed my Instagram blog timeline, I came across another ministry @marriageisdope ‘s post about what else…marriage. The post pointed to Proverbs 18:21 which speaks of death and life in the power of the tongue. It brought back some very powerful memories about my marriage from the year 2015. Going into that year, I was at the peak of my physical transformation from post-partum thus felt really good about myself-physically which in turn translated into peak physical and sexual chemistry with my husband. At the start of the 21-day fast that year, I felt the Lord speaking to me that I needed to use that year – 2015 – and speak life into my marriage. I wasn’t fully strong in my spiritual awakening of the Holy Spirit so it took me till May of 2015 to really obey the voice of the Spirit and begin what turned out to be a transformational journey of my physical and emotional presence in my marriage.

#marriagefastmonday is what I tagged this process; an intercession activity of prayer and fasting for our marriage and marriages near and far from us. Bottom line, this experience not only brought my husband and me closer but brought us closer to God where we truly understood the meaning of “three stranded cord not easily broken” Ecclesiastes 4:12 and what a covenant marriage should be about. We spoke life over our marriage that year; we dedicated a day to focusing less on our physical needs (food) and more on our spiritual needs which transformed our covenant marriage.

So when I saw @marriageisdope ‘s post, I couldn’t help but go down memory lane and blissfully reminisce on some of the things that make our marriage dope. You might be reading this and thinking well, I’m not married. All I can say is if you plan to, wish to, desire to be married, I pray that someday your marriage has some of the following elements to make it dope:

  • Build a grace filled marriage – a book by Dr. Tim Kimmel gives you the missing ingredient after love in marriage – grace. Check it out on amazon. I stumbled upon this book during a trying time in our marriage where I realized I didn’t have an ounce of grace for my husband; I was so quick to point out what he had done wrong but always seeking God’s grace on my life, how ironic was that. This book and its resources on Right Now media transformed me – us.
  • Team work makes the dream work – it’s been work but we have worked at being aFile Jan 16, 8 41 41 PM.jpeg team on all areas of our married life. The 1st year of our marriage almost ended in divorce because of selfishness and unforgiveness. With the help of our church’s marriage classes, we learned the process of shedding the unselfishness (which stemmed from childhood experiences) and forgiving one another. In the newness of our marriage, we vowed to be a team in all things. This means being on the same page with our finances, our friendships, our career goals, and our family goals…everything…even household chores…serving each other all day, every day!
  • Be transparent and work at challenges – don’t put a mask over it; don’t push it under the rug; don’t postpone it indefinitely; it only cuts deeper and makes things pile up leading to a terrible blow up. If communication is a challenge, be honest with each other and work at it; if finances is challenge, be honest with each other and work at it; if handling conflict is a challenge, if sex is a challenge, if friends are a challenge, if family is a challenge, if social media is a challenge…whatever the challenge is, be transparent, find and seek resources and work at it. One thing I love about my marriage is that, when we see red flags in any area, we bring it up (many nights we’ve stayed up in our almost 8 years of marriage) and talk about it till both of us come to a forgiving and mutual go forward understanding.
  • Make decisions together – it’s an ‘us’ in the marriage, not ‘me’ and ‘him’ kinda File Jan 16, 8 41 14 PM.jpegdeal. The day we got married we became one – a ‘we’ which means I lost all rights to make individual decisions. If team work makes the dream work; if I want our marriage to thrive on a team by being more selfless and less selfish, then I shouldn’t make decisions without consulting my better half first. From big decisions such as buying a Coach purse to small decisions such as confirming an invite for a Super bowl party. The lesson here is don’t assume your spouse will be on board with it, run it by him/her, not because you are seeking permission but because you respect and love them, you are a team and you need his/her support.
  • Have fun through the rainy and sunny days – I can’t stress enough the importance File Jan 16, 8 42 41 PM.jpegof God being one of the three cords in your marriage because when the rainy days come, it is you, your spouse and God; and when the sunny days come, it is you, your spouse and God. Laughter is good for the soul – enjoy the little moments in between – a selfie here, a slap on the butt there (lol), a hug, a dry joke… I have cried in my husband’s arms when I didn’t know what the heck was wrong with my hormones; and I have wiped away his tears when a beloved friend passed from cancer. When I am weak, he is strong for me; and when he is weak I am strong for him; this level of emotional transparency binds your souls and deepens your love…

I can write endlessly about why marriage is dope but it wouldn’t make any sense until you unselfishly let down your walls, embrace your spouse for their imperfections, and commit to building a covenant marriage glued in faith and obedience for the Word of God. Our marriage is dope not because we are two perfect individuals, it is dope because we are two imperfect people who have chosen to be One interlocked with a perfect God thus becoming a perfect union. I pray you continue to bliss in your marriage and if you are yet to find yours, I pray you allow God to lead you to it.

Be Blessed, Stay FREE,

Kate

New Year! Change is Real and Constant: 5 Lessons That Will Bring You Peace Through It All

Dear Friend,

Going into this New Year, I absolutely handed all planning, all knowing, all understanding to God. 2016 was the year I truly found my purpose and 2017 is the year I live out this purpose…how to live FREE in Christ as a wife, a mom, career woman and help others do the same. Last week, my freedom in Christ was tested and I must say it opened my eyes to my need for more of Him everyday. As I maneuver through changes at work, the uncertainty of new relationships and networks; one thing is certain…with eagerness, determination and enthusiasm, I will humbly put my feet in motion. I want to freely serve God all the days of my life. Through the changes, through the uncertainties, through the storms, through the rain, through the stagnation, through the silence I want to continue to serve Him.

Here are 5 lessons I have learned as a result of the change events:

  • When God interrupts your life, it is because He is either preparing you for something greater or He is making you aware of the need to be uncomfortable in order to receive your intended blessing.
  • Sometimes when change happens, past the initial shock, anger, bargaining you get to the compromise and acceptance stages where your mind is clear for you to make meaningful decisions. You shouldn’t make decisions out of negative emotions; they will always lead to regret.
  • When a change causes your pride to rear its ugly head, the best antidote is to go to the Word and search your heart. Try to understand the real feelings behind the pride. It could be a valid emotion but you are expressing or channeling it the wrong way. Think logically about your decision making on the change and ensure that whatever decision you make isn’t out of contempt, bitterness or ill-will.
  • The change may be good for the initiators but isn’t or wouldn’t be good for you. In this case, work at your current situation with all your heart, work with your new members in the network not against them, and ensure your actions while at the current situation promotes a Christ like experience. Remember God is either preparing you or has brought some awareness/wake-up call; while you work diligently in your current situation, seek His Word and ask Him to lead and guide you to your next blessing.
  • Seasons come and seasons go, no change is permanent, no situation is constant; remember you are a proverbs 31 woman, a Romans 8 warrior sister, the spirit leads you into and out of each season. Let the spirit be your counselor and when the season for elevation arrives, you will be ready to usher into it.

When my heart was troubled last week, John 14:27 comforted me, gave me hope because He says “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” My heart is now at peace with these sudden changes work and I am pleasantly thankful for His signal – signal to faithfully prepare, humbly obey and prayerfully move on towards my year of elevation.

Friend, it doesn’t matter what the New Year has brought thus far- is it a sudden change event, is it uncertainty, is it confusion…I hope you put your feet in motion and allow God to elevate you to your next level of greatness.

Be Blessed, Stay FREE,

Kate

Just What the Back-to-Reality Fever Doctor Ordered!

Dear Friend,

It’s the day after New Year’s and I’m having the post-holiday blues; or more poignantly back-to-work fever. You know that feeling very well…the Christmas decorations have been boxed up, back to school preparations and schedules have commenced,  New Year resolutions and goals have been penned…yes you are all set for the days ahead as you settle back into routines…frankly I’m not ready yet…I need a vacation from my holiday vacation! I kissed my husband see you soon this morning as he stepped out to start his first day of work this year; tomorrow, I will kiss my baby girl see you soon as she starts her first day back in preschool this year; and then comes Wednesday, I will pep talk myself all the way into the office. This is serious, the back-to-work fever is real and I must shake it off. img_4132

As I laid on the couch Monday afternoon enjoying my last few hours of binge watching Nigerian movies (if you’ve ever watched one of these movies you know a good four hour block is required to complete one movie within which there are several plots…lol), I thought to myself “how do I shake this back-to-work fever off?” The first sentence that came to mind was “whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for man” and that’s from Colossians 3:23. This verse not only puts into context who I should be working and living for but also, helps me refocus my mind, body and soul on what matters in the end – doing everything from my heart, with all my heart. So I paused the movie and dived deeper into the Word to find other scriptures that would set my mind right and shake off this fever.

Going back to work means interacting with colleagues and more people than I really did over the holidays (as my preference is introversion, I derive energy from being alone, in my thoughts, reflections…so rarely traveling over the holidays was perfect), I have to ensure that “my conversations are always full of grace, seasoned with salt so that I may know how to respond to others” and this is from Colossians 4:6. It is not always easy to do this given the position I have and the nature of the professional relationships I have with colleagues – mostly managers and leaders. Sometimes it is indeed tough to lead in grace but I have learned over the years in my leadership role to also ‘be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger” James 1:19 …emphasis on the first two (quick to listen and slow to speak). While the expectation is that as a leader you speak your opinion, sometimes good leadership means allowing others to speak fully and completely…cutting in, asserting yourself unnecessarily isn’t a sign of a strong leader, it’s a sign of an insecure one…and that I am not!

Then there is the great Atlanta traffic which I must be prepared for; it requires extreme patience in. I have a daily commute of 1-1¼ hours one way, a lot can happen if you’ve ever witnessed how folks drive out here! I pray that I am “completely humble and gentle, patient, bearing with others in love” just as Paul laid it out in Ephesians 4:2! I have already asked God to pardon me in those moments when I am weak in my language and to continuously work on renewing my mind and tongue so that my inward expressions of love from Him flows outward to the drivers on these busy ATL streets and highways.

OK I should be all set right? Well there’s more – it is evident that this back-to-work fever is actually an unnecessary anxiety that the enemy is presenting as another feeling that generally speaking most people go through…well I am not most people, neither are you. So to this anxiety I declare, paraphrasing from Philippians 4:6-7 that “I am not anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, I will present my requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all earthly understanding, will surely guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus.”

Above all, I am resting my concerns, my fears, and my thoughts at the feet of God; knowing that “if I continue to listen to Him, I will live in safety and be at ease without fear of harm whatsoever!” Let this Proverbs 1:33 be just what the ‘doctor’ ordered to help you get rid of your back-to-work, back-to-school, back-to-reality fever – one thing’s for sure, mine is all cleared up and work…here I come!img_3196

Be Blessed, Stay FREE

Kate

My Gift to you…

I witnessed the most priceless innocent expression of satisfaction on Christmas morning; one that is etched in my mind forever. My baby girl’s reaction to her newly minted play area decked with Frozen doll house, a mini library, a colorful arts and crafts table…is a reaction that is bringing smiles to my face again this morning. I was tempted to grab my phone and capture the moment instantaneously and share with the whole world…but then a still small voice whispered to me that this moment doesn’t need capturing, my being in it with her, my senses registering every crack of giggles and smiles; registering every quick movement to touch everything in her sight was all the capturing I needed to do. It was a moment, which is now a priceless memory that will stay with me forever.20161225_103747

This got me thinking about you, my friend who takes time to read my blogs. I want to first thank you for subscribing and following my FREE life in Christ. When I started the blog, I wanted it to be an avenue through which I could write about my life. As I reflect on the best gift I ever received on Christmas morning, I can’t help but plan for the New Year and what my ministry through blogging will be about. Just like my Christmas gift, I want to gift to you my faithful reader and friend and vice versa, a chance for us to live this FREE life in Christ together. My gift to you is a regular letter sent into your inbox which will contain priceless memories from my heart to yours. I have realized that social media while it has its upsides, also shapes us into sharing only the parts of life that are good. Well, you and I know that there is more to life than a selfie here, a 15-sec video there. My writing to you regularly is my way of sharing the good and the challenging parts of living FREE in Christ. These will be priceless memories that money can’t buy.

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Sometimes we allow other things to become a priority and we forget what the important priorities are. In the New Year 2017, it is my prayer that you set an effective plan to live life fully and beautifully fulfilled; keep your priorities above making money and make priceless memories first. God, Family, and everything else…in that order. This will bring you much peace and joy to last forever. I hope that as you read my letters, you will respond by commenting and engaging so we uplift each other. I look forward to growing FREE in Christ with you.

Be Blessed, Stay FREE,

Kate

3 Practical Ways to Being a Highly Patient Person

I have been there and the feeling is unnerving; it quickly turns into anger which eventually flows to the surface as rage. You know what I’m describing here? Impatience. They say that patience is a virtue; they also say that your attention span has shrunk from twelve seconds to eight seconds; apparently a second shorter than a gold fish – yikes! Do you see the correlation between this very short attention span and the growing rate of impatient people? If the human brain can now only hold coherent thoughts for eight seconds, then there isn’t much cognitive processing going on long enough for you to think – really think through a situation so you act irrationally. What if you could learn a few practical tips that would help you cultivate a habit of self-control so that your impatient thoughts never see the light of day? OK here we go…keep reading:

  1. When travelling: like most people, you may be travelling to visit family and friends this holiday.

First allow ample travel time from your point of origin to your destination. When you are late or feel rushed, your circuits are short…really shorter than your attention span.

Before you begin your journey, accept that you will encounter drivers who aren’t as polite as you are (you are polite when driving right?) Accepting this fact is the first step to maintaining your cool when you are cut off, you find yourself stuck behind a slow moving vehicle or in heavy traffic.

Next keep safety at the forefront of your mind – you must arrive at your destination in ‘one peace’ so does the next driver. This means think of others…and yourself when travelling; stepping on the gas a little harder should not be worth more than your life.

Finally, enjoy the travel experience. Take in the sights and sounds – listen to some music, let down your windows, sing along with passengers. Remember your goal for the travel is to get to your destination in ‘one peace’.

2. When shopping: like most people, you may be hitting the malls and shops this holiday to buy gifts, window shop or simply go about your business.

First be aware that you are uniquely created and there is no other person who behaves the same way you do. The malls and shops are filled with different people from all walks of life including you, be consciously aware of this fact before you step into the malls and stores.

Then check your attitude at your door. If you leave the house in a funky mood, you will be in a funky mood when shopping and will return home in a funkier mood than when you left.

As you drive to the malls and stores and park your car, remember tip #1 above

Since you are now aware that the place is filled with different people, this also means different moods, temperaments, personalities, etc; let the warmth of your heart be evident to all. Use your magic words and body language ‘please’, ‘excuse me please’, ‘thank you’, ‘sorry’, smile, hold the door, make way.

3. When spending time with family and friends: like most people, you may be with loved ones this holiday chatting, laughing, making memories.

First accept that ‘this is my family’ and/or ‘these are my friends’. By acknowledging this to yourself, you become fully aware that no relationship is perfect.

Listen more than you speak; seek to understand rather than being understood.

Realize that you aren’t there to change them; keep your unsolicited advice to yourself.

Enjoy being with your loved ones just the way they are. Remember while you are busy stewing over petty issues, life is just passing by and lasts but for a moment; be in the moment.

Every tip here, comes down to one thing – positive mindset. If you prepare and focus your mind on positive things, you can utilize your eight seconds of attention span recording valuable memories instead of escaping them.

Have a Merry Christmas, be safe and practice self-control which leads to a high level of patience and low blood pressure.

Blessings,

Kate

Like Arthur, Want Your Mommy

“…and I need you to just be quiet please” these were the words that came through to my ears as I stood at the register at Walmart while my cart items were being processed. I looked to my right and saw a tall man in probably his mid-forties standing about a foot away from an elderly woman who was leaning onto the Walmart cart with items in it. She looked expressionless. I turned back to the cashier who at that time looked at me and smiled…she continued processing my items. Then it came, these words “mom please, I don’t need you to keep talking about it, and put that phone away and ZIP IT…SHUT UP” I raised my head from looking at my wallet and looked at the cashier who looked at me, this time not smiling but just a tad bit horrified to hear these words from a grown son to his mother.

Let me back up a bit as to how I’m having to write about moms today. My daughter’s school is having a book exchange for Christmas. I walked into Walmart besides regular purchases, to find and purchase a kid appropriate book for her to wrap for a classmate. After surveying all the books, I landed on this one titled “I Want My Mommy” by Traceyfile-dec-05-12-37-13-pm Corderoy. If you haven’t guessed, yes I read the book cover to cover before deciding to buy it (side note – do read your kids’ books before they do) This book is fun, appropriate for a five year old and most importantly, has very good lessons to reassure any kid worried about being apart from his or her parent. Arthur loves his mother so much and knows he’ll miss her when he goes to grandmas. Despite having a lot of fun at grandma, he always looked to see mommy walk through the front door. Finally when the doorbell rang, and it was mommy standing at the door, Arthur run so fast into her arms. So to be standing in line, paying for this book and hearing the exchange between a mother and son broke my heart.

Being a parent isn’t easy. There is no manual that comes with it. Mothers in particular…from the minute we find out there is a ‘bun in the oven’ to when we meet our bundle of joy for the first time…the feeling while very different from mother to mother, there is one constant – this is MY child. I believe that first time moms, second, third, fourth time moms would agree that with each child- naturally born, adopted, inherited, borrowed, whichever way you became a mother – you would agree that with each child you learned something new! You either corrected mistakes made with the first born or you invented new ways to make life a joy to live in…usually for the child…ha. No matter what the parenting journey has been, I also believe that irrespective of how your parents raised you, mom especially (as they did their best given what they knew and lacked) as kids – young or old, there are many reasons why mom should have more of your loving heart this holiday season and…always.

  • She was your incubator
  • She was/is your nurse
  • She was/is your personal assistant
  • She was/is your chauffeur
  • She was/is your personal chef and waitress
  • She was/is your alarm clock and time-keeper
  • She was/is your bank
  • She was/is your shelter
  • She was/is your safety and security
  • She was/is your counselor
  • She was/is your housekeeper
  • She was/is your laundromat
  • She was/is your Santa
  • She was/is your photographer
  • She was/is your disciplinarian
  • She was/is your teacher
  • She was/is your voice of reason
  • She was/is your cheerleader and devoted spectator
  • She was/is your comedian
  • She was/is your storyteller
  • She was/is your fixer-it-all
  • She was/is your know-it-all
  • She was/is your shopping buddy
  • She was/is your encourager
  • She was/is your best friend
  • She was/is your built-in nanny/babysitter
  • She is your MOTHER/MOMMY/MOM/MAMA/MA

I know that as adults, sometimes we may find some of the things they say, do, ask, tell…annoying, heck irritating BUT in no way should these words as spoken by the young man come out of your mouth to your mother. As I walked away from Walmart, my heart heavy with thoughts of my mothers (blessed to have two and alive); I also thought of those who have and don’t appreciate; and those who don’t have and wish they had; and those who had, appreciated but lost; and those who had, didn’t appreciate and lost.

Life is so fickle, love your mom while she’s still here…and like Arthur in the book, always run fast into her open arms anytime you see her. And unlike the man at Walmart, if your mommy is an angel now, hold on to the precious memories you have of her.

Stay Blessed, Stay FREE

Kate

She said “you have a baby in your tummy”

Ah baby girl has finally gotten to the age where with little instruction and intermittent interruptions, she is able to take a bath by herself, get dressed by herself, clean up after herself, feed herself…I mean she’s starting to be a little bit independent so mommy can really take care of stuff without the extra long lists which serve as reminders. I mean I still have the lists but shorter now. So on a cool Monday morning, after a busy birthday celebration weekend with baby girl and her god-sister and friends, all mommy wanted to do was get baby girl and god-daughter ready for the day, then she can sit down and get some office work started. In the midst of the ‘morning chaos’ with two princesses, wiping down bare bottoms and lathering lotion on ashy legs, all this mommy heard was “you have a baby in your tummy”. My eyes got wide, as my whole body quickly shot up from being on my knees overcoming ashy tiny princess legs; I looked at my god-daughter and asked “what did you say?” She being as giggly as any Disney princess would whispered again “you have a baby in your tummy”. This time it sounded real and in in-my-face kinda delivery. I looked to my baby girl and she was just giggling as she began rubbing my stomach. I laughed and shook my head adamantly saying – “no baby in my tummy…my tummy is flat…not yet…no baby” as I quickly got them clothed and headed down for breakfast.

As the morning lingered on, I couldn’t stop thinking about this ‘prophecy’ from my god-daughter so I texted my husband, and dear friend to relay this message and get their thoughts. Husband was obviously excited at the possibility and dear friend was equally excited offering to bring over some pregnancy tests – ha, no please. I went about my day but the ‘baby thought’ took center stage in my mind. So I finally paused work, closed my eyes and took a few minutes to soul search – why the hesitation? Or was it fear? Then I remembered a conversation I’d had with another friend a few days prior about this second baby business and during that conversation I mentioned that I wasn’t fully ready because my emotions weren’t right given my postpartum challenges after my daughter was born. The light bulb came off as I sat in my ‘office space’ eyes still closed – my reaction to the “you have a baby in your tummy” ‘prophecy’ by my god-daughter was that of fear which resulted in hesitation which resulted in adamant behavior – as if I knew God’s plans for our family.

As I write this note, I haven’t taken a pregnancy test yet; and I don’t plan to. At some point, it’ll become evident should the ‘prophecy’ come to pass soon…it sure will be a surprise! However, this is what I’ll share with you if you are caught in a situation where you know there is the possibility for something amazing to happen in your life but because of fear you block that amazing thing from happening or being manifested – stop getting in your own way…spiritually. Five years ago when my baby girl was born, I struggled mentally, emotionally to connect with her; it took spiritual healing first for my mind and body to align to the realization that I was now a mother, and the little baby was mine to love, God gave her to me! In the same way, I now have to heal spiritually by thwarting off the lies of the enemy in the form of fear; and invite the possibility that is ‘mom of two, three..’ into my mindset. See I can be all giddy at the idea and possibility but If I don’t prepare my heart spiritually, if I don’t ask God to deliver His plans His way – not my way, If I don’t ask God to take away my fears – fear of disappointments, fear of health crisis, fear of not getting pregnant as easily as the first, fear of gaining so much weight, fear of having more than one baby (twins…yeah multiples), fear of the return of postpartum depression and the list goes on – if I don’t ask God to take away these fears and prepare me for whatever the next phase of motherhood brings, I know for sure I will find myself lost and broken at the end of that phase…whatever the outcome.

At the close of my work day, I could still hear my god-daughter’s voice saying “you have a baby in your tummy” and to that my response now is “I can do this if I put my mind to it. I can go through it all again if I step out in faith. I can be an excellent mom of more than one baby if I seek God’s help. Whatever the day brings…be it a surprising ‘prophecy’ or a revelation…be it an unexpected encounter or an out-of-this-world task ahead, I will never succumb to fear…neither should you.

So off I go…to explore this next phase…starting with a prayer and a smile.

Be Blessed,

Kate

Dear Friend, Why are you Shocked?

Dear Friend,

I woke up to what is being described as ‘the most shocking Presidential Election of our time’. I see that you are upset, shocked, surprised, scared and right now you are filling your mind with fearful thoughts of the uncertain future. But has the future ever been certain? If you have never been able to predict with 100 percent certainty the next minute of your life, what makes you think that the future of a whole nation is 100 percent predictable? Have you forgotten that every system, every analytical theory and tool, every mathematical equation laid out to predict certainty was created by man? And what have you learned about man? That humans are – unpredictable; that human beings’ actions will always speak louder than their words; that you are to trust no man!!!

So my dear friend, I ask you to wipe that disappointing look off your face, shake off that surprised smirk, rid your mind off those fearful scenarios about your future and the future of this country. Pick yourself up! First thank the Lord that you live in a country where you have freedom – even if the definition of freedom is subjective… Secondly, how about you put your trust in the One who has never let you down and has always been the permanent factor of all the seasons past and those yet to come? His Word is truth and His actions are righteous and just. He is predictable because He never changes to please no one, and harbors no selfish intent. He is the constant in your life in a world filled with mischief and disappointments. God’s plans give you hope and a future. Thirdly, please know that this too shall pass. The next few days, weeks, do not listen to worldly propaganda and the opinions of man. I implore you to take the time to reflect on your own life and where your eternal life is promised. Nothing lasts forever on this earth! The democracy you enjoy and live in made this outcome possible and now a reality. A reality you must live in with love, respect, kindness, forgiveness and ask God to give you wisdom and understanding to live in this reality.

My friend, be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9). Now go love on your children, your spouses/partners, your family, your friends, your neighbor, your community because whatever happens at the top, you can in your own small ways effect Godly change and live peacefully in God’s Kingdom here on earth.

May God’s peace that surpasses all understanding be with you today and always!

Love,

Kate

The 7 Steps to being FREE Indeed

It’s been almost 3 years since the thought of freedom from my past strongly came to my mind. Like many regular working women out there, I was busy being a mom to a two year old, a wife, a full-time employee, a servant in the Lord’s house and many more hats. I developed serious body image issues postpartum, so in the midst of juggling these hats I was also trying to lose the baby weight, get my sexy back, find myself attractive so my husband could find me attractive (so I thought). I was often an emotional wreck on the inside; on the outside, what family and friends witnessed was ‘happy’ woman. But I didn’t want to be ‘happy’ – that lasted only a few moments, I wanted to be filled with that after-a-good-run-unexplainable-feeling-of-satisfaction kind of ‘happy’. I searched high and low – read books, watched inspirational videos, teachings…you name it…I tried it. Finally, I found it right in my home, on my bedside table…dusty Bible. Yes dusty! I always used the Bible app on my phone and that book on my bedside hadn’t been touched in a while! As I felt something calling me to give attention, I obeyed and the result is what you see today – a Faithfully Renewed Encouraged Exceptional (FREE) woman after God’s own heart! I have friends and people I’ve shared my story with asking ‘how did you do it? And how do I get there too?’ Well, let me share my personal journey with you; maybe you will find in it something to apply and begin your own journey to becoming FREE indeed.

  • Make the decision to begin the process of Godly letting go of the pain. Godly because I believe there are two types of ‘letting go’ – there is the worldly way which encourages surface level deflection of hurts, pains and emotions into an instant gratification state. Instead of confronting the emotions being felt from within, you mask it with a bunch of tapes. Typically people do this through pretense – pretending everything is all right when the heart still aches and at the mention of that sore subject, all hell breaks loose – if not privately, publicly. Then there is the Godly way of letting go of the pain; this requires that you develop a personal relationship with God and obediently allow Him control of your life giving you guidance through the Holy Spirit to deal with the pain and release it – permanently. So, which one would you rather have? The road less traveled but leads to permanent peace and joy or the road paved with the finest gold but underneath the surface is a bunch of cracks and craters ready to burst into sink holes? You choose…
  • Self-reflection leads to self-awareness. Once I made the decision to take the road less traveled, I had to take inventory of me. Not the physical me, but the spirit and soul me. I’m talking about behaviors, attitudes, personality and connect these to the statuses of my relationships – marriage, parenting, friendships, family members, coworkers etc. What I found out was pretty astonishing! While I had all these relationships, I wasn’t FULLY connected to any of them! It was like a part of my heart (soul) was closed off from them which understandably stems from my past and my need to protect my heart from getting hurt. So while I had these relationships, I didn’t fully open up for fear of being let down, being hurt, being neglected, being disrespected, being judged, being unworthy, not measuring up…!!! This step is very critical because this is where you know you are imperfect, you know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:32). You will never be perfect BUT you are OK with the revelation because you are on a journey to eternal peace.
  • Develop an intimate relationship with God. I began with Romans 8 – I needed to understand the spirit, I needed to understand love. This chapter in Romans became my anthem daily because I needed to renew my spirit and learn who God is from the point of His love for me despite my stinking behaviors and attitudes. If I was able to wake up and make it to the gym on time to work out, I knew I had it in me to give God the time and I needed that time with Him. So my wake up time got pushed back a bit; and I began spending my morning with Him first. Listening to christian music was another tool I used to develop intimacy with God. It was all around me…I changed my listening habits on my drive to and from work, my workouts, even when taking a walk in my neighborhood. If I was going to do this, I couldn’t still hold on to things that didn’t build my soul – and music definitely can weaken or strengthen your soul. Slowly God revealed the healthy way to open up my heart and to above all else guard my heart His way because everything I do flows from it (Proverbs 4:23). Get close to God through the scriptures, get close to a church and build a healthy network of believers. Dive into spiritual inspirational resources. Develop a doer attitude when you read the bible.
  • Grab a book and make it your journal. This is just one outlet that I employed as a way for me to let out all the emotions, thoughts I felt. On most days, they were as raw as uncooked rice but I knew by writing down my thoughts, emotions, it would help me understand myself better. It also served as a ‘tongue checker’, a ‘filter’ because not everything that came to mind had to be spoken or shared immediately. Write down your interpretations of your quiet time; if you are a sharer like me, post it on your social media. You never know who you might be helping.
  • Work on your physical state. Your body, mind and soul when aligned is a beautiful thing. I worked out 5-6 days a week and developed a very active lifestyle all year round. Since my body had completely changed during and after pregnancy, I had developed body image issues, with added to my postpartum depressive state. When I started working on my mind and soul, naturally my body also craved for some attention. I found that working out was my time to focus on just me without any labels or hats; and I enjoyed it very much. The types of foods I ate also got a makeover – I started to meal prep, cook wholesome meals. We (my family) aren’t the eating out type so it was easy to have home cooked meals 7 days a week and not be bored. Plus I enjoy cooking so that helps too. The key here is to be active and eat good healthy wholesome foods. You have to take care of your body as much as your work on your spirit and soul – all three are connected.
  • Align your mind, body and soul. I released my pain by doing a deep dive with the Holy Spirit as my memory recollector. I was in a very high emotional state most days because the memories would flood my mind and I would need an outlet. That’s when the journal became very useful! As memories came, there was one key action I needed to take – FORGIVE. I learned all about forgiveness – not necessarily for the person who wronged me but for me to be able to move forward. Also, if God forgives me 77 times over, who am I not to forgive? Connect the woes of your past to the woes of your present. Then pray on the connections God reveals to you. Begin to release the pain to God; this means opening your heart completely and allowing God to come in and take reign…surrender control…healing begins when forgiveness becomes an action.
  • Begin a daily activity of positive affirmations. I changed negative thoughts, judgmental thoughts, unworthy thoughts by employing a daily activity of positively affirming myself. I knew my weaknesses from the self-reflection and self-awareness activity I’d done at the beginning so all I needed to do was find scriptures that affirmed and countered the lies that the enemy told me. Eventually, I spoke more of God’s word into my life and silenced the voice of the enemy. This doesn’t mean I never got tempted, or triggered; it means that when a negative thought came to my mind, I was able to quickly dismiss it without giving it time to fester and grow. You must develop this behavior to move past ‘talking without thinking’, ‘diarrhea mouthing’, or ‘emotional charged insensitive out bursting’. This type of behavior kills relationships and distances you from experiencing an incredible thing called love. If you get stuck here, go back to the beginning of step 1 and review, repeat BUT don’t give up.

At the end of these steps, is a life filled with peace, joy, contentment and freedom for if the Son has set me free, then I am FREE indeed (John 8:36). I am faithfully renewed encouraged exceptional woman because I put in the work for myself and no one else. However, the fruits of this hard labor walking the road less traveled are endless to all the relationships around me. I definitely have my moments but those moments don’t stick, they don’t define me because guess what, I now have the tools to quickly get to the other side of mind, body, soul alignment where there is pure joy; and the joy of the Lord will forever be my strength. I hope by sharing my process, you are encouraged to begin your own emotional healing journey and become FREE indeed.

If you have questions or need help getting started feel free to contact me.

Be Blessed,
Kate

I am a Woman Who Survived Sexual Assault and I Choose to Speak Now

There is way too much going on in society where women are being victimized and some re-victimized for speaking up about sexual assault that I have chosen to not wait till my book is complete to share my story, rather shed some light into what I deem ‘the unspoken’. Irrespective of how long ago a woman encountered a sexual predator, she encountered, she endured, she lives it – on one end the unspoken has overcome her or on the other end she has overcome the unspoken.

It is unspoken. It is the unspoken truth. It is the unspoken secret. It is unspoken. You wouldn’t know what goes on in the mind of a sexual assault victim until you’ve walked at least a quarter of a mile in their shoes; and it is one shoe, I hope you don’t ever have to wear. This unspoken comes in many forms- disguised as a friend, as a family member, as a lover, as a parent, as a stranger, as anyone that is on a mission to steal your innocence and rob you of your spirit. That robbed spirit could be your sister, mother, girlfriend, wife, co-worker, bestfriend, next door neighbor, a stranger. That robbed spirit could be you…it was me.

Born and raised in Ghana till the age of 18, my childhood and teen years were filled with sexual assault. When I was young, as far back as I can remember – 7 years of age – older men found me very attractive thus made physical and sexual advances towards me. I’m talking about men in their twenties to late fifties. How do I put this?

It all began one night…my innocence was stolen! I opened my eyes in the middle of the night to a burdensome weight on me and the sound of heavy breathing while I felt hands sliding down my waist. The innocence stolen wasn’t a physical encounter i.e. sex but of my mind where a part of my being was awakened to something that as a little girl laying on my bed in the dark I knew wasn’t right. Before his hands could slide down any further, I mustered all the physical strength I had in me and pushed his weight off me; he pushed back, and I pushed even harder until he finally realized that night wasn’t his night. He was a family member. And so began my love-hate relationship with the penis. Let me share a few with you…

When I was a child, my days outside of middle school were filled with me staying alert and ignoring prying eyes from sexual perpetrators who also happened to be family members, family friends and workers/employees in my family compound.

When I was a child, I was forcefully introduced to pornographic videos by a family member and a worker in my family compound.

When I was a child, I was sexually molested with an object by a worker in my family compound which resulted in reproductive surgery and countless behavioral issues thereafter.

When I was a child and teenager, I escaped 3 rape attempts; one at age 7, one at about age 12 and one at about age 16 or 17.

When I was a teenager (19), my virginity was finally… taken – stolen – from me. I was raped by a college crush. That was when I knew that my spirit had been robbed. You see throughout the years of sexual assault, I held on to one safety – my virginity – it was mine, and I held on to it. All the sexual assault that I had encountered since age 7 in my mind was ‘nothing’ if I still had my virginity. That night as I lay on this tiny twin bed as his genitals groped mine, his drunken breath all over me, his hands pinning mine deep into the mattress, and my soft voice repeating ‘NO’, tears streaming down my cheeks…and eventually laying numb to what was going on… all I could think of was ‘finally they got what they were after’. ‘They’ represented all the men who had crossed paths with my mind and body in some way.

See while they got my mind and body all those years, they never got to my soul. I got to my soul after the first incident (one could say I was young, I didn’t know anything and that’s absolutely true). But I chose to burden my soul with the woes of these incidents and so I acted out all through childhood – I had behavioral issues (most visible to my family would be my constant lying and stealing), emotional issues (moodiness, sadness, attempt at suicide more than once; gender identity issues/sexuality issues (contemplating lesbianism); body image issues (weight gain); sexual issues (hatred for men, used sex as a tool, bossy-always-in-control attitude in my relationships, treating men as ‘worthless’ as I could i.e. withholding respect but expecting them to love me unconditionally); faith issues – I had mixed feelings about God. On one hand I knew He protected me through many incidents, however on the other hand I couldn’t understand why I had endured all that. The list goes on and on…in a nutshell, yes that’s what the unspoken does to you – it rips your spirit and leaves you reparably broken (broken BUT reparable – read on)

I don’t want you to feel sorry for me; whatever emotions you have going on right now as you read my story you are entitled to those emotions but I will whisper this to you “God saved me from myself” That’s what happens when you have good people constantly praying for you and speaking life into you – even when you don’t see or understand it.

I run from God often during my early 20s but somehow He always brought me back to his love. After running for so long and feeling empty, unfulfilled by a string of ex-boyfriends and an ex-fiancé, I walked into a church one day – Victory World Church – and began attending their Young Adults Ministry (Fusion). That did it for me, every Wednesday I was there rain or shine. Eventually I broke it off with this guy who I was seeing (a Muslim- don’t get me wrong, I hold nothing against other faiths, I just knew that we were unequally yoked and all the worldly things I was doing, playing house et al wasn’t pleasing to God)! On one of these Wednesday sessions there was an altar call which I heeded to as I could sense something nudging me to. That night as the praise and worship team sang ‘I am free to run, I am free to dance, I am free to live for you, I am free’ I felt this unnatural feeling of the need to release my past; I kept hearing a voice throughout the service beseeching me to let go. That night as I drove home, rain pouring heavily, I stopped on the road not far from the church, turned on my hazard lights and cried…no…wept my heart out to God. I wept till there were no more tears but the sound of rain hitting my windshield. It was that night…that night I made a promise to God that I would become celibate and wait till marriage to have sex again IF He would create in me a new person, cleanse me and help me through the pain.

He did! The process wasn’t easy, it was painful, confusing – I had many days of wrestling with my flesh on things that God was asking me to do…Romans 8 was my lifelineand forgiveness was the hurdle I needed to climb to get to my healing – forgiving myself for getting in my own way in the form of blaming and feeling ashamed; forgiving all the men from my past and those I was yet to meet (thankfully, it was only one – my loving husband); forgiving all those who I felt could have protected me but in my view didn’t. See once that forgiving journey took off, there was no stopping this woman because I started to feel extremely free and unashamed; I let go of bitterness and anger towards men, the self-protecting mechanism I’d employed; at the point where I chose to forgive, I became healed, I became FREE – Faithfully Renewed Encouraged Exceptional woman of God. And as a FREE woman, my attitude shifted from focusing on man (humans) to fulfill me; rather focusing on God and allowing Him to love me. Through His love, I learned what love is, I learned to love me, I learned to love a man, I learned to love a friend, I learned to LOVE.

In all I  have learned that you need to address your past no matter what it is and that with His help and love, the unwavering faith you have in Him, He will pull you through. There is always laughter on the other side, there is always Joy on the other side; however you cannot take shortcuts to that joy, and you cannot take shortcuts to that laughter. You’ve got to go through Him to receive your healing and be set FREE. God has done for me what no man has and will ever do which is He’s given me peace and has made me FREE. I lean on Him heavily daily so as not to live for the world but rather pursue Him to use me. That’s my calling, my purpose. The FREE woman I am today is because I went through some stuff and that stuff…that unspoken made me stronger…I may have some scars, but those imperfections are what He’ll use to make perfect His works.

The unspoken has become spoken because I have found my voice; there is no timeline to when a sexual assault victim speaks – she speaks when she finds her voice no matter how long it takes. You (society) ought to not re-victimize her, not re-wound her, not shut her down. You (society) ought to listen, support and take action because the unspoken comes in many forms- disguised as a friend, as a family member, as a lover, as a parent, as a stranger, as anyone that is on a mission to steal your innocence and rob you of your spirit. That robbed spirit could be your sister, mother, girlfriend, wife, co-worker, bestfriend, next door neighbor, a stranger. That robbed spirit could be you…it was me. But I found my freedom, I am a Survivor, I am FREE Woman – Nothing Sticks! I hope you find yours too.

You can learn more about Sexual Assault through http://www.nsvrc.org/ , http://nomore.org/