Forfeiting Destiny

Good afternoon to all of the beautiful readers of this blog! 

Happy March! I am looking forward to Springtime and the delightful weather that it brings. One of my favorite things to do in Spring is spending time in public parks and spaces with family and friends.  The days are longer, the sun is brighter, the weather is warmer and people are happy.  So yes, I am looking forward to it all. 

download   The Spring season reminds us of the beauty that comes after harsh winters.  I’m thankful that the winter in my state has been mild this year. However, in the past, we have had blustery cold winters full of snow and ice. Those winters helped me to develop my love for Spring.   The same can be said for the difficult times in our lives. They make us appreciate the effortlesly carefree days. 

Yesterday, I was listening to some music on Youtube when I was inspired to write this post. Last Spring meant so much to me. It was a season of rebirth. I felt like a new woman. I spent most of the winter of 2017 (end of 2016) processing the end of a 3 1/2 year relationship that I ended. I broke it off because I felt that we were going in two different directions and it was brokeness that attracted us.

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  And I knew if I stayed with that person/in that situation that I would end up forfeiting the destiny that God had for me. It was difficult for me to walk away from what I thought was the love of my life.. but it ended up being the best thing for me.

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Throughout the last year of the relationship, I had been praying about its purpose and its position in the ultimate destiny of my life. I was feeling anxious and stagnant about life at that time. I was ready for change and growth.  Each time I’d ask for signs, God would give them to me. However, comfort would tell me to wait a little while longer. I wasnt fully ready to accept the signs and unfortunately, the longer I waited, the longer I held back blessings that were only accessible after I closed the chapter.  Then, finally, one Sunday morning, while in church service, my pastor preached a message that deeply convicted my spirit and I could no longer deny God’s voice and my need to make a move ASAP!  

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After I ended the relationship, I sat with myself and reviewed the last 3.5 year of my life. I re-read journals, reviewed pictures and calendars.  I immediately felt two feelings: shame and then relief.  I felt shame when I read the journal entries where I wrote about this relationship from the lens of an insecure school girl. I justified lies, lack of support for me and my goals, and an unwillingness to fully commit to me. Right in front of my face in bold lettering was the reality of the broken woman I was in that season. It was a reality check as well as a huge lesson for me. 

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I had jumped into that relationship right after being divorced. At that time, my self esteem and self image was in ruins.  I used that relationship as a crutch for my mental and emotional weakness in that season. I was extremely emotionally vulnerable. My self worth, self esteem, self love and happiness were all dependent on how this person felt about me. Therefore, the behavior that occurred, I allowed, because I wasn’t ready to face myself and my own need for healing – alone. And so yes, I ended up hurting myself even more. I unintentionally added new pain on top of the pain I already experienced from my divorce.  After it ended, I  never felt anger toward him. Just pity toward me. I had never realized how low I had gotten in the first two years after my divorce – which were also the first two years I spent in this relationship. However, after processing the entire experience in totality.  I felt relief. It was all over. I was free now and mature enough to accept the me I was then and forgive her for her mistakes.

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Once I forgave myself and all of the mistakes that I made, God allowed me to experience joy, peace and self love again. And most importantly, He gave the wisdom and discernment needed to properly pursue the destiny that he created for me.  This is why I can tell the story now and feel no shame about it because God is a healer and He gives us the power to heal ourselves.  Our greatest pains give us the insight and experience to assist others. I share this story so other people in the same predicament will not make the mistake of forfeiting their destiny in fruitless relationships chosen out of brokenness. Pursue healing !

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Its Time!

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Happy 2018!

By the grace of God, we are in a new year!

For many of us, a new year is a time of renewed faith, hope, focus and vision.  As we tear the plastic wrap from our new calendars, we are full of excitement and anticipation regarding what we will accomplish in this next 12 months.

The beginning of the year is also a time to go inward and allow God to give us His vision for our lives for 2018.  For me, this is the most important part of my year.  Here are some of the things I do to become more centered on God:

  1. Praying more frequently and specifically requesting guidance for His will be to done for this year involving career, health, relationships, family, friends – everything. SCR385-L-02
  2. Spending more time alone in stillness – I am able to hear from God and receive instruction/revelation.  This may require shutting down social outings for the first 30 days of the year.

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3. Reading the bible and studying His word.

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4. Listening to a playlist of specific songs that bring me closer to God – everywhere I go including the car, in the house, in the office. No television – outside of news and weather.

Receiving the guidance of God allows us to pursue our purpose effectively. It allows us to function at our highest level of capability. With the Lord on my side, I feel that I am unstoppable. He is the creator of my destiny – who else can guide me toward it better than He can?!

After spending time with God, many of us have written resolutions or goals for the year. Others of us have created  vision boards detailing our ambitions and intentions for 2018.  The action entailed in writing resolutions or creating vision boards makes us accountable for achieving the goals that God gave us the vision to set.  He is giving us visions that will change the world, improve our lives as well as our families and communities. It is important for us to be intentional about the plans of God and the timing involving them. Time MATTERS! There may be a problem that needs to be solved in this world that is tangled inside of the visions God gave you. You are the solution to someones problem. They are depending on you. Get to work!

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Many people may not feel hopeful regarding the new year. Some people experienced extraordinary difficulties in 2017 that have caused them to look at the future with doubt, fear/anxiety and uncertainty. I encourage you to seek help from God, mental health professionals and those who love you. Even with the difficulties that you have experienced, God has not forgotten about you and He is able to turn your tears into joy – in time. If you are still alive, your life still has purpose. Seek help, recovery is possible.

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I am Thankful!

This week, we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.

As the 2017 slowly comes to an end, it is a time for reflection, love and gratefulness. I thank God for my family, my friends, my church family, my community, my gifts, my talents, my successes and my failures. 

This year has been a time of great professional growth and success for me. I was able to accomplish goals that I had dreams of completing for many years. I wrote my first two books, started my business, created this blog and became a licensed clinical social worker. It has been amazing to see my greatest prayers manifest. 

However, it has been a challenging year for me emotionally.

 After years of dismissing my consistent, overwhelming feelings of anxiety and impending doom as “bad nerves”,  I chose to seek help as my symptoms were beginning to worsen and severely impact my quality of life. I had been experiencing a severe bout of depression in February that was worsening by the week. For a period of 30 or more days, I was waking up to a black cloud, even on the sunny-est of days. It was painful to just be alive on those days and I just couldn’t understand what was going on. But I had work to do and children to raise.. so I pressed forward. I was also experiencing severe body aches as well as headaches that would not go away even with medication. Whatever was going on in my mind.. was attacking my body.. 

At the beginning of my initial treatment session, my therapist asked me about my childhood. She asked me specific questions about my family and my household. During that session, she opened up a box that I had locked tight and placed in a steel grave inside of my soul. It was a box that I kept hidden. However, that day it was time for me to open it. 

I have spent most of my year in mental health treatment for symptoms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

The National Institute of Health defines PTSD as:  PTSD is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. Nearly everyone will experience a range of reactions after trauma, yet most people recover from initial symptoms naturally. Those who continue to experience problems may be diagnosed with PTSD. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they are not in danger.
To be diagnosed with PTSD, an adult must have all of the following for at least 1 month:
  • At least one re-experiencing symptom
  • At least one avoidance symptom
  • At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms
  • At least two cognition and mood symptoms

 https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml

Many people associate PTSD with the soldiers returning from war. However, there are many people in society who have experienced traumatic events unrelated to war such as shootings, accidents, rape, robberies, etc that are living with PTSD.  There is subset of folks like me who are living with phenomenon known as chronic complex trauma.  The National Child Traumatic Stress Network defines chronic complex trauma as: 

“The term complex trauma describes both children’s exposure to multiple traumatic events, often of an invasive, interpersonal nature, and the wide-ranging, long-term impact of this exposure. These events are severe and pervasive, such as abuse or profound neglect. They usually begin early in life and can disrupt many aspects of the child’s development and the very formation of a self. Many children with complex trauma histories suffer a variety of traumatic events, such as physical and sexual abuse, witnessing domestic and community violence, separation from family members, and revictimization by others. Complex trauma can have devastating effects on a child’s physiology, emotions, ability to think, learn, and concentrate, impulse control, self-image, and relationships with others. Across the life span, complex trauma is linked to a wide range of problems, including addiction, chronic physical conditions, depression and anxiety, self-harming behaviors, and other psychiatric disorders.  ”     

  http://nctsn.org/trauma-types/complex-trauma

Initially, it was very difficult to talk about my childhood and adolescence and all of the memories I had suppressed for many years. However, once I began to talk about it with my therapist and I began to understand that I had been severely traumatized from the age of 8 years old and how my trauma had impacted me, my quality of life began to improve. I realized that many of my actions in my past had been trauma responses. It was very alarming for me. However, once I learned what it was and began weekly therapy sessions, my depression and my body pain subsided.

  Being able to speak to someone HONESTLY about the realities of my feelings, my fears, my disappointments, my anger, my resentment, my loneliness, my regrets, my wishes, my truth – helped me to heal places in me that I didn’t even realize were broken.  Being able to cry, scream, yell, be angry, and ask questions in a safe place was helping me to grow. I mean, it hurt to have to face the pain, but it was the best thing I have ever done for myself and those who love me. I have spent most of the year writing..writing about my experiences, reading healing materials.. and spending time alone to process my past hurts and what I needed to do to heal myself.  The wound was open..the bandage was off and I had to let it heal in my own space and in my own way. And it healed and in that process, my second book, The Guide to Living ROYAL  https://www.amazon.com/Guide-Living-R-O-Y-L/dp/1544061013/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1504293529&sr=8-1 was birthed. 

Speaking my truth made me a more confident woman.  I had finally acknowledged pain that had always been a huge source of shame for me. It wasn’t my fault. I could finally forgive myself and take that weight off of my own shoulders. Once I acknowledged my trauma, I finally understood why I made some of the terrible choices I made in my past. My therapist is amazed that a person with my complex childhood trauma history has been able to accomplish all of the goals that I have in life.  I guess, this is the reason that I am so thankful on this Thanksgiving. I know that it is NOTHING but Gods grace and mercy that has allowed me to come out of this experience with minor cuts and bruises when statistics show that I SHOULD be a substance abuser with severe mental health issues and poor interpersonal relationships.  For the first time in my life, I feel completely free.  I thank God for  His healing powers.   

Living Royal: Triumphing After Tragedy

For the month of August, the Live Royal Blog will feature stories of women who have chosen to “Live Royal” in the midst of unforeseen tragedies. Each of these writers were chosen because of the power in their testimonies. They are living examples of God’s promise in Joel 2:25. 

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Our first featured writer is Ms. Erika A. Dorsey. I first learned of this young woman via social media. We have so many mutual friends and I would always seeing people share her posts. After three posts, the Holy Spirit showed me that this is a person I need to be connected to. I could feel the similarities in our stories.  After we became “friends” on social media, I met her in person at a mutual friends networking event and her energy confirmed what the Holy Spirit had already told me about her.  This woman is doing amazing things in God’s kingdom in spite of tragedy. She has chosen to recognize the gifts that God has given her and to use them to enhance the Kingdom and the world. Please meet Ms. Erika Dorsey. 

 

Here is her story in her own words: 

Erika A. Dorsey is a proud mother, financial specialist and business owner of Ms. FinancialE.  Ms. Dorsey was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland where she thrived academically and athletically throughout her grade school years. As a graduate of Western High School, she was groomed with the principles of quiet dignity, giving light to receive light, and pride to be only the best.

Erika went on to attend Coppin State University, where she majored in Management Science with a Concentration in Accounting. At the end of her sophomore year, she welcomed her daughter, Kaiya Christine and soon after continued with her studies. Unfortunately at the end of her junior year, she suffered the loss of her mother due to complications of diabetes. This tragedy forced Erika to take some much needed time off from school to handle such a major death. However, in spite of the uncertain events during her college tenure, Erika managed to graduate in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science degree.

Following her undergraduate studies, Erika has worked in a variety of financial roles that range from Banking to Corporate Accounting. She currently serves as a Senior Financial Analyst for a non-profit, and will continue graduate studies in Finance at The University of Maryland in the Fall of 2017.

For the last 17 years Ms. Dorsey has worked in a variety of financial roles, but she knew that her calling was to be a voice of reason in the community. In the spring of 2017, Ms. FinancialE was launched with a vision to enlighten, empower, and educate.  Ms. FinancialE was a business that was birthed out of lack as financial management was not taught in her household and her own parenting experience allowed Erika to realize that knowledge would activate financial power. The business was a dream deferred, but after ending some toxic relationships, overcoming many professional obstacles, the birth of her son, Gavyn Amari and obtaining spiritual maturity the journey of her purpose became clear.

As the owner of Ms. FinancialE, LLC she conducts financial workshops in a variety of settings which includes Walk by Faith Ministries and Living Classrooms Foundations among other organizations. The service provided by Ms. FinancialE allows clients to build financial literacy, develop money management skills, and maintain economic stability. She can be contacted at: http://www.facebook.com/msfinanciale. 

 

 

It is my sincere prayer that you are inspired to reach for more and that your confidence in God has increased after reading the story of Ms. Dorsey. 

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There will be more stories of inspiration coming during this month of August. If you would like to be featured, please email me at jessica@jessicatfauntleroy,com.

 

 

 

 

Fatherless Daughters: Three Things I Wish You Would Have Shown Me.

This past Sunday was Father’s Day and people all over the country celebrated their fathers, stepfathers and grandfathers.  It is  day full of joy for many people. However, for some of us, it is a day of sadness and difficulty. I know because I am one of those people.  

My father was 16 years old when I was born. As a parent myself now, I recognize that that is still a child. A 16 years old is still developing biologically and mentally, learning about themselves, their families and the world around them. A 16 year old isn’t really prepared to become a parent even with the support of their family. And that was true for my father. I do not hold a grudge against him for this. I just accept this as my and his reality. However, it doesn’t mean that this did not make life more difficult for me as I navigated through childhood, adolescence and young adulthood.

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My father spent the majority of my childhood in prison, on and off. When he was not incarcerated, I would see him from time to time. However, it was never enough to develop a father/daughter bond. It was never enough for time to develop a relationship that made me develop a secure attachment to him. It was never enough time to develop trust, security, respect and adoration that should take place between a father and a daughter. Initially, I thought that not having that type of relationship with him didn’t really matter. I felt like fathers were optional anyway since many of my friends and neighbors were experiencing the same things as a child. By the time I was 21 years old, things still hadn’t really changed.

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Once I became an adult, got married and had children of my own, I really began to understand how necessary fathers are in their children’s lives.  And through my own failed relationships and eventually failed marriage, I began to understand how much growing up without a strong relationship with my father and without the strong presence of my father affected many of my life decisions. I believe that if I learned certain lessons from my father that I would not have made certain mistakes in my life.  Here are the three things I wish he would have shown me.

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1.  That I deserve to be loved and respected by any male that comes into my life.  This is a lesson that it took me a long time to learn. I was a teenager that spent most of my teenage years dating someone that did not even deserve to be in my life in any way. However, I was so caught up in my need for attention from him until we finally split because he became too disrespectful for me to continue to tolerate.

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2. That I am not ignored, I am not abandoned, I am not worthless, I am not lonely. I spent most of my adolescence and young adulthood feeling empty inside and I never really understood why. I figured it was just growing pains of life. But the reality was that I was not being “poured into” by significant adults in my life. I was raising myself in some instances. 

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3. That it is acceptable to have a standard in life in all areas. I struggled with my destiny for a long time because I always felt that I was striving for something that I wasn’t really deserving of.  I felt like I shouldn’t have such high standards because I am not on the level of the standard I am reaching for. 

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As an adult, my father and I have a decent relationship. I have come to accept that fact that he did the best he could with the knowledge that he had at the time. He was growing up while I was.

By working through the issues I have regarding his absence, I have developed a certain level of understanding toward our situation and I am intentional regarding building positive relationships with other positive male role models in my life.

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Resolving my issues regarding his absence has positively impacted my dating relationships with men as well as my own self esteem.  Prayer and remembering that God is a father to the fatherless has helped me with accepting my truth as well as my fathers. However, Fathers Day will probably always be difficult for me as I still mourn for that fatherless daughter inside of me. 

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5 Tips for Single Parents to Stay Encouraged

Hey Guys! 

Those who follow me on social media have watched my videos on “Single Moms Making It Happen! ” that I shared earlier today.  Well, I decided to share that same message on my blog.

This message is for single mothers as well as single fathers. As divorce rates increase, there are a large number of single parents living among us in our schools, neighborhoods, churches and other settings.  I know that this is a personal subject for me as I have been divorced for the past 3 years and living in my own home with my three children. Although my ex-husband and I share custody (as many people do these days), I still consider myself to be a single parent. The fact that I am solely responsible for the finances and maintenance of my household that I share with my children makes me consider myself a single parent.  Initially, it was very difficult to transition from the role of wife/co-captain of the household to sole provider in my household.  However, with time and experience, I have managed to successfully transition into this role and thrive in it.

I want to share five tips for single parents to stay encouraged. These five tips have helped me with being successful in single parenthood. 

1. Pray!  It is no secret that prayer is very important to me. It is a vital source of my strength especially being a single parent. Sometimes this role is very overwhelming especially when unforeseen situations arise and I am left to manage them without the assistance of a partner.  Initially, those situations caused me great anxiety. However, prayer/meditation have been my weapon during the difficult times. It allows me to focus my mind on my creator and His promises to us in His word. His promises allow me to stay faithful and committed to doing my best in this role.  

Exodus 14:14 ” The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”  

2. Stay focused on the goals that are ahead of you and the time that you still have left. It is easy to look back at your failed marriage or relationship and find fault in the situation or remember a situation in an unrealistic positive light. Constantly looking back on your past will cause you to not recognize what is currently in front of you. You could miss your blessing by ruminating on a season that has already passed.  Focusing on your health, strength, mental health, hobbies, friendship/possible dating relationships, career and most importantly your precious children will allow you to create a present that you can be proud of once it becomes your past. 

3. Surround yourself with positive people.  In order for you to remain positive and productive, you must surround yourself with people who have the same outlook on life.  It is imperative that you choose to cultivate friendships and relationships with people who want are in continuous pursuit of happiness. These people will keep you encouraged and vice versa. They will be a source of strength for you when you are experiencing difficulties. I am so thankful that I was intentional about building my community of friends and supporters that share the same attitudes, dreams and life goals that I do.  This has been what has allowed me to continue to grow in a situation that could have caused my growth to be hindered. 

 

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4. Use your resources. As single parents, we have to be more resourceful than parents that are in a partnership. We have to create a network of resources that will assist us with raising our children. This network should consist of God, family, friends, church members, neighbors, sorority/fraternity brothers/Sisters, parent groups, schools, mentoring organizations, performing arts centers, libraries, programs, daycare centers, etc. My network has allowed my children to thrive spiritually, emotionally, educationally and socially and it has been totally intentional.  If you are a parent in the Baltimore area, attached are some links of to resources that could be helpful to you.  

Resources:

http://www.baltimorecityschools.org/students_and_families/services_and_supports

http://baltimorecityrecandparks.org/

http://www.mochamoms.org/

http://calendar.prattlibrary.org/

http://arts.jubileeartsbaltimore.org/

http://www.thecarrollschoolofdance.com/

https://www.gscm.org/

https://www.jhsph.edu/research/centers-and-institutes/center-for-prevention-of-youth-violence/resources/programs/mentoring.html

 

5. Do what’s best for you and your kids. God is going to continue to reveal to you the path that He has for you. Continue to pursue Him and His way.  You WILL be successful! 

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