Promises, Hope and my Heart

Counselors picI accepted a job offer last week! I have yet to share it with the world. I have been trying for consistent employment in counseling for the last two years. I am excited and I feel extremely blessed. This morning as I was looking at the beautiful autumn leaves I realized that I am manifesting, yet afraid of His promises of hope.

The dream opportunity to work as counselor—to be in this role before graduation, waiting on licensure scores—terrifies me. Manifestation: an event, action, or object that clearly shows or embodies something, especially a theory or an abstract idea. I am walking in what God has placed in my heart, a work that He knew of before my acceptance, a purpose He gifted me without giving details of how to achieve.

I tell you, do not push away from the painful things, the disappointments. Remember, that God is within those things, those interruptions as well, right there with you. This Counselor’s path has been not easy —very difficult. Becoming a counselor is not a stagnant career choice. You will grow whether you want to or not. Your heart will change, stop, beat, ache, break, melt, heal and then do it all over again. Your friendships, the ones you cherish will hurt. Oftentimes your alone time will be your healing time. This is an unquit for me.

This is my unequivocal purpose that is coming true! Although the promises of Hope move me in unfamiliar territory, I am in a territory of harvesting—working within my spiritual divine role. The moments that do not hurt: receiving authentic affirmations from a 15 year old recovering within her eating disorder: “I am beautiful. I am so beautiful! I am disappointed that I treated myself this mean.”

I received a beautiful hand-created scarf (pictured above) —this client did not use a knitting nor crochet needle. She used her fingers! She saw my joy and I put it on immediately, and said, “I will rock this!” She responds so unsure: “Ms. Michelle I can make you another, a better one.”  Me: “I don’t want you to. This is perfect!”

I have learned to love the unexpected hugs! (In the beginning, this was a problem for me.)  They are the greatest especially when I know my clients battle with touch, intimacy and trust. With all that comes with gaining a trauma victim’s trust it has been my intimacy with God that carries me through each session. At times, the science and the spiritual do not mesh and then there are times you cannot have one without the other. There are different paths that lead to healing. I marvel at these concepts and therapeutic techniques. I love Counseling! I do.

My life has by far been a complete God-experience; He has kept me when I did not recognize how He keeps. I could not have identified my professional identity without my spiritual journey. My first day begins after Thanksgiving.

Remain grateful, hopeful and I beg you to, choose the larger life.

“The beginning is most important part of the work.” –Plato

Intimately worded,

Michelle

{Song of Solomon 8:5}

Happiness

#SundayLove  Selfie_August 2017

Happy Sunday Family! Don’t focus on the mess, you will miss the miracles. #encouragement

I woke this morning refreshed, happy. Yesterday, I committed to my own Saturday self-care as well as celebrated a young cousin’s elevation into marriage.

Last week: Wednesday, I awoke with hives. Stressed. This was after supervision with my site supervisor Monday and my professor’s supervision, on Tuesday. I was so bewildered and confused of why my body was attacking me …well protecting me. I do my best to make sure self-care is a daily practice. Thursday, I met with seasoned therapists that laughingly told me this was normal. Hives, cold sores , hair falling out, and mind-fogs were expected! If I didn’t have these things happening something was wrong. I smiled. God intercepts, intervenes when we believe all is wrong and the path chosen is skewed somehow. Remain focused and be encouraged on this journey. Where you are is not without promise.

I believe our happiness is conducive to what is within. Our happiness is uniquely demonstrated in how we treat others and in how we accept what goes around outside of us. I have learned to protect my happy. (smile) It is hard work, especially when it takes years to develop and define happy.

Happiness, peace and joy are different narratives yet carry the same wholeness required to live celebrating life. No one has the ability to grow your happy…only you can do that.Happiness is in you. Grow it. Share it. You matter. #takecareofyourYou

Intimately Worded,

Michelle

From Crux to Flux… Part II

Early Saturday morning, just before it gets hot and icky out, I sit on my patio. I exhale; drink my water. I watch how the breeze plays with the leaves and gently touches my skin. I see the tiniest tomato growing on my tomato plant…its small and green and blends with the vines yet it is there. I smile remembering my Mom’s garden in the country. I frown remembering having to shuck corn…the “hair” and the worms you unveiled just flat-out gave me the creepy crawlies. Yet, eating the cooked corn was one of the greatest hits of summer. #yummy  I love nature, the simplicity of it, of how it all works in unison.

Garden_little mater

My little mater. #proudof mygreenthumb

Nothing stops…seasons change, life breathes new as much as it expires, our pain is continuous yet we heal. God whispers to us when we are at our lowest and when we find just the perfect moment of peace. He is ever so indicative of being seen for such an invisible God. Without difficulty, when we are in an existential crisis and cannot see Him we have no other option but to feel His presence.

Pain does not stop. We can both lie, dwell in it as well as allow it to be our entire reason for living. We have the choice to live within the healing process. I choose to heal and to continue healing. Healing is never-ending and it is without compromise. The beauty in brokenness—if I want to heal with love, with expectations, with hope I must do so without compromise. I cannot cheat you and heal. I cannot increase your pain and heal. I cannot stop loving and heal. I cannot forgive and love on purpose. Somehow, someway a part of this curative process is to understand the why. In addition, we cannot live there.

My flux…I am at a new internship site that helps adolescents and adults live with their eating disorders. I have never worked with this population and it is a great learning curve for me. I am completely fascinated, mindfully and spiritually overwhelmed. This is different and no the remedy is not simple as getting one to eat. Eating disorders are physiological and psychological. I am there 4 days a week—analyzing and understanding why clients are suffering with the basic necessity required to live. I have a great part time job. I have a huge gratitude for working with like-minded people. They are professional and so kind. I am near to finishing my first book. I am transitioning. I am healing.

My crux…Quitting at Life is not an option. Just as gardens cultivate, achieve, inspire where they are planted, we too must do the same. When God whispers it will be all right, it will be and just perfectly so. While watching nature I reflect of how holy God is. He is not some Fix-it King nor an entity that just repairs. He does so much more than our minds can phantom. How He intricately set the number of our days and count the hairs on our heads yet leaves it up to us to do what we will. His gift of freewill has no limits. We limit ourselves, create our own little boxes of our wants, we hold on to the familiar—pain, confusion, chaos, and our wants. We continue praying for what we want lessening the power of His intentional purposes for our lives.

Garden_God whispers

My little garden: tomatoes, some type of flower and a little basil

Get unstuck! #BelieveBigger God has a way of imparting and manifesting what we think are weaknesses into the greatest triumphs of our lives. Continue to love with care and heal according to the trust God has for you. That is not a heavy responsibility…if the thought does not bring you joy than that is where you need to heal. #mindyourmental

Intimately written,

Michelle ©

Heart Faults, when we break.

In any relationship, manipulation is the highest form of betrayal. We will have to stop eating everything that is fed to us…even if its silver spoon fed. We grow watching, observing and living to our parents and family wishes. We trust them. Believe them without reservation. When we live our lives only by observation, and with their expectations without knowing their wounds, their whys our foundation will crack.

Respectability and accountability are requirements for the things we want in life, what we require from each other. Jesus’ mandate was to love one another as we love ourselves. His commandment sounds simple enough yet I believe it is one of the most difficult challenges in our faith walk. Loving self is a lifetime journey and it becomes more difficult to do when we break. The longevity of carrying pain, damaging pain that steals your joy and stills your heart is not loyalty. Do not lose Self in your love of someone. Our definition of love has to be redefined at times for every relationship is different. I hope that you create, prepare, equip and fall in love with your perspective of love….for love does not destroy you. Remember it. Keep your personal definition close to your heart. When the fires come, you will be able to fall back on a firm foundation no matter the cracks.

Dr. K E Garland has written, “The Unhappy Wife” a book that solidifies the undoing of each woman’s heart within matrimony. The book is a collection of short stories of 12 different women and their intimate soul reveals.  I love how the book is not about failing marriages yet more about individuality and how meshing, merging are important without losing Self.

Intimacy should be a bond that transforms and grows us individually and with our mate. It is inhumane, to not be touched, or reassured in your love. Intimacy is more than sex, more than means of procreating, its right smack in the middle of the whole scheme of things. As you read this book watch how their lives differentiate from their initial dreams, from their wants and how they live, survive within those differences.

My friendship with this author, reading her book leaves me indebted to her. She writes truths that the reader unveils whether we are single, coupled, or married. She understands the schematics of how we love, how we believe with God and that the one-billionth prayer will somehow magically fix the ones we love to love us back. As I shared with her, “We have to do better” for ourselves, our daughters, granddaughters for all who are connected to us. As well as for the honor of a unique want that becomes a spiritual yet legalized covenant.

One thing I did for myself many moons ago: I stopped labeling myself as divorced within conversations, on applications and within my definition of self-love.  That word, that status carries an overwhelming heavy weight. Drop it. Move forward. Love self so that you are able to love others, equally and with compassion. The Unhappy Wife by [Garland, KE]

You are able to purchase, “The Unhappy Wife” here: www.kegarland.com. It will be one of your best book purchases this year. I promise! KE Garland’s blog link: kwoted.wordpress.com/

Please post your feedback here, encourage KE Garland on her website and blog-site. I would love any commentary on this book, this post and your heart faults, please share. I teach a monthly workshop on Identity for Women of Faith and our sessions have been remarkable. So this read, this reflection has me ever so excited for our future. It all circles back.

Keep healing; it recipriocates and removes the fault lines.

Intimately worded,

A. Michelle

Culinary Skills & Dilemmas

When I have no solace, a lot to think over and no one to share my thoughts with I cook. I love the art and the science in preparing a meal. I love the creativity it takes to create a new recipe…the imagination of different flavors and spices. Trying to measure and enhance one product  to mesh with another. I enjoy the soothing methods slicing vegetables brings. I love the colors of bell peppers, the promise of just enough heat of habanero peppers and I love the earthiness of mushrooms. Today I am preparing a new dish, a signature recipe in every aspect: Salmon Braise, perhaps. I like that. As I am cutting, and preparing all ingredients to go into the crock pot I think, I pray. I listen for confirmation, affirmation of my thinking process. Oh how I miss the days of having someone listening to me, hearing my heart without cutting me off, nor interrupting me nor misconstruing my words. I continue cutting. This meal is supposed to be for me, the Little Ones do not care too much for mushrooms and okra. I think I have prepared enough for the neighborhood.

My dilemmas: Church & Internship and other stuff

My length of unemployment boggles my mind. It still hurts. I feel so unbalanced and insecure. I have worked since I was 15 years old. Its wonderful being available to the children, driving them to school and helping with homework. It is completely alien to me not being able to provide from my own work. I do not know how to be…but I am learning. I am learning that this phase of my life is so much bigger than not having a 9 to 5 or an office job.

Church vs my prayer life! Someone told me that the length of my unemployment might have a lot to do with my prayer life. (I have to bite my tongue a lot!) This statement pissed me off until I realized my relationship with God is intimate and no one gets to decide if I am close to Him or not based upon my employment status. (The preparation of cooking gives me time to evaluate and rid myself of others’ toxic conversation.) My spiritual growth is becoming greater but my spiritual connect with fellow believers has become stagnant. This concerns me. I believe in going to Church although I do not believe in the strictness and mandatory that religiosity pushes.

Teaching this Identity Workshop series will be a huge undertaking for me. I am in awe of how I got to this point in my life. This concept is not mine alone. If it were up to me, I would be behind the scenes somewhere. I consider myself more of a support person not a leader. I think I help leaders be better. I am a bossy supporter! 🙂

Internship! Internship! Both placements are awesome and could take my counseling career to great horizons. What is amazing to me is that internships are coming left and right but no job offers. Confuses me so; boggles my mind. You would think God’s priority would be opening doors of job opportunities first.

This Soul reveal has been on my heart for awhile: I attended several training classes this past week. My counseling journey can be quite heavy. Confidentiality is a huge piece of counseling, the heart of it. This journey is going to be more difficult than I thought and what I presumed. One class educated us on the effects of child sexual abuse, the tragedy of what happens to the victim from onset to the cycles of their adulthood. Heart wrenching. The documentary included a 60-year-old beautiful woman; she had the bluest eyes and the whitest hair. (I still see her face.)  One particular night she described how terrified she was at a young age. Her father was in her room and they both heard her mother’s footsteps approaching. Her father stopped. She held her breathe knowing that it would all stop now…then the return of exact devastation as they heard her mother’s footsteps retreat upstairs. She knew her mother would not save her. He knew that they all knew, He would not stop. She stated he abused her from the age of 2 to 17. Oh how I felt her terror. I wanted to protect her then and at present. She is 60 years old and the fear that came over her as she told her story saddens me deeply.  It is a heavy but necessary training course. The permission of hurt that mother allowed, it stops my heart. We can prevent child abuse. Although my heart ached for all their stories and my soul is tattered, I will continue to volunteer as a Guardian ad Litem. I do not see myself removing this type of servitude from my journey.

Do your best to stop taking ownership of the hurt people cause you. It is not your fault. I believe we all have good hearts and the Life stuff happens. However, taking ownership of what others intentionally do to us manifests into cancerous emotional scars. It multiplies. Yes, get to the root, do the necessary work to heal but stop blaming yourself. Getting hurt is not a responsibility, stop owning it.

What I gained this past week, the good things, the revelations are: the beauty in pushing forward, the hope in seeing tomorrow and the requirement necessary to focus on the love received. You will make it. Our humanness, that spiritual part of us promises that we will overcome. Sometimes the unintentional hurt pulls our heartstrings the worse. Allow God to work His way… you have to release it, all of it.  It is not your fault.  Tomorrows are worth the fight. {Psalms 91:1}

Me intimately worded,

A.Michelle

The Cost of no, maybe & no response

He doesn’t want me…

and I’m good with that. I am better when I acknowledge that information.  I am still great. I am still going to lose the weight and not eat this big bowl of butter pecan ice cream… and lays potato chips. (Awesome combination and a great emotional cure all.)  I am still loved. I am still an awesome mother. I am still kind. I am appreciative and appreciated. Rejection is painful and it also should make you fully aware of your greatest asset: Self, your You.

We too often fall victim to our own missteps. We turn our hopes into a great mistake. Learning to love who you are should never be categorized with rejection. Love heals. Love corrects. Love gives. Love loves. Do not tear yourself down due to inattention, love is action.

I know the negativity that runs rapid through our minds. I know how it replays itself over and over again. The strength of our hearts is based on the strength of our hearts… it’s unbeatable.  Never allow a person to out-purpose God’s intent and intended for you.

Earlier this week, a great friend asked me why I never spoke of my ex-husband.  I responded: “That’s not a part of me. Why would I? It is so long ago. I have been divorced over 10 years.” She responds: “You filed it away. ” Me: “No. It isn’t a part of me. He was mean and cruel. I refuse to give Satan any credit. To “file away” implies I carry it and at times look back at it. I don’t. I’m healed. There’s no discussion about him because there’s no new information to discuss.” One little tidbit: If a person does not bring up their ex in a conversation, respect it and you in turn do the same.

I’m learning that no one’s journey is the same. Heartache happens to us all but no one has the right nor the self-history to label my healing. Life is heavy don’t carry the unnecessary; carry hope.

He doesn’t want me and I’m okay with that. Dating has become so generalized, an unflattering epidemic of social media terms and rules. Love is so much more, so intimate. Don’t get caught up in the pics, the messages,  the memes, sex clips, and infamous propaganda. I watched,  observed my parents a lot. What I didn’t comprehend they explained and taught me better. 33 years of marriage. God’s grace.

I remember my first date. I was 16, so excited. I finally was allowed to date. My date blew the horn.  I jumped from the sofa,  ready. My mom,  my Pearl: “If you open that door I’ll break your neck.” I stopped in my tracks,  my smile fading. My Dad,  all 6 feet of him: “If he doesn’t come in here and speak to us there is no date. You not going anywhere.” I tried my best to hold back the tears while holding my breath and simultaneously working my unknown telepathic skills to will my date in. He finally crossed the threshold and I remembered that breathing was again wonderful.  Of course there was a list of rules and a set curfew.

That lesson and many others from my parents keep me “okay” with a great deal of things. Rejection is a minimal concurrent stacked against unlimited possibilities. Know your worth and always expect God’s greater for every area of your life. No matter where you are in the phase of your journey—interested, like, deep like, in love,  can’t live without him feelings, heartbreak, know that you deserve all or nothing. Be proud of wanting what you want!  If the wanted doesn’t want to be wanted free’em with love. Stop bashing self and others. There are other open doors, different and in want of you!

He doesn’t want me and I’m okay with that. Smile, anyway. His competition, that One will. Keep pressing. Remain focused. Subtract the cost, add in the benefits. For any person struggling for a place to be or how to be… Be you! It is better than okay.

Heart full,  heart
A.Michelle

Geeked!!

What God wants…

Happy 2017! I have committed to living a better life…no resolutions. Great things happening this morning, Wednesday, January 4 has led to a shift in perspective. Although I am able to encourage others (not just shoot off cliches) I find myself in the “dumps” quite often.

Early morning I receive a text requesting that I speak at a Book Club event. I smiled and agreed. My friend, requested and suggested the topic to speak on: the “work” needed in the “Sisterhood” era. Earlier this week I tweeted my thoughts on Self-care:

Click on link: https://www.instagram.com/p/BOvSoQCjiE0/?taken-by=nit_one

I smile at her suggestion, our communication and reflect. During my graduate interview in 2014, I was asked by the panel, “What population do you think you will have trouble serving?” Me, “To be honest, its not a matter of trouble. Its a fear. I fear working with Black Women and that makes me feel guilty. They are a population I feel I cannot reach. There is so much hurt there. I can’t understand it and it bothers me so.” Dr. S, “Than there is where you are most needed. Your greatest fear is entry point to your greatest triumph.”  I side-eyed her, she is African-American. I thought to myself, pssh if I am accepted I am not dealing with anyone I do not have to. My plan was to maintain a B average and avoid the difficult. God has other plans. Accepted in, A average and I did not avoid any difficulties…I worked. I studied. I cried. I counseled.

As my day progresses, I review assignments for my next class: Substance Abuse Counseling. I am excited that we have the previous professor we had in our Crisis Counseling course. She is awesome! My final course, Gender Counseling is taught by another professor I adore so my nervousness in achieving all A’s is swept away. I am able to do the work. I have learned as a grad student that apprehension about a course has a lot to do with learning the professor and the way they teach. Once the final two courses are completed, I begin my practicum and internship in May. Finding and researching the correct placement for my counseling career is exciting, slightly overwhelming. I emailed two more resumes and requested contact information for spots in Domestic Violence and Sex Trafficking of minors. I will be a practicing student counselor. Oh my!

One of the assignments in the Substance Abuse course is to abstain from one certain thing and journal our progress for the next 8 weeks. I have chosen to abstain from sugar. I have practiced the Daniel’s fast several times and although it takes great discipline, I enjoy it. The healthy results gained were fast, effective and practical. I am intrigued with how I will progress in abstaining from sugar as a project assignment. Especially, after I was a dessert pig over the Holidays.

I am looking forward to traveling and attending counseling workshops with my cohort. We get to meet one classmate’s mother when she visits. We have been pressing through together for three years; meeting mothers are a treasure. (I love the Elders)

The Little Ones return to their regular schedule of school and homework. They were not excited this morning yet this made me smile too. Their ways, their reactions I am learning to devour every chance I get. Time is so swift. Brutus’, “two more minutes” are the most endearing because he mumbles it and pulls me in for a hug. Autumn’s, morning “mm-hmm” and conversations on the drive to school remind me so much of myself. She said, “I already know they are going to be asking me for my pencils. I am going to say no. These pencils are my fav, the eraser just does not stick straight up you know. They twist up. You know I bought three packs. (Big sigh, smiling). It makes me feel better knowing I have them and I will not run out. Its 9:05, not late and not too early. Bye, Mother.”  My teen, she is a stickler for wanting things a certain way. (We cannot just write with any kind of pencil. She buys pencils!!! Lol) #motherhoodbliss

The career hunt is still a career hunt. I am maintaining a consistent belief that God is my provider. After this stint of unemployment, something wonderful will come. #bigHope #BigGod

Just a quick blog message, I am going to enjoy 2017 moment by moment. You do the same! Nothing is greater than walking the path God leads us on, for there; there He has equipped us for it all. Dig deep. Go further. Faithfully pray and do good works. #necessary work

God’s grace,

Michelle, Counseling Graduate