Monday, November 27, 2017

Life's Journey!

Life is a journey!  We are each traveling on different highways, streets or back roads.  Wherever our journey takes us we must all stay in our lane.  There will be stop signs and red lights along the way. There will be rain, snow and ice.  There will be tornadoes, hurricanes and floods.  Some roads will have potholes. However, we are not to stay stuck in one place.  The lanes are not for parking.  We got to keep it moving.  Yes, you may run out of gas or have a flat.  Refuel, change your tire and keep it moving. 

Life is not a race!  It does not matter who gets where first or who you pass along the way.  What counts is that as you travel that you take God with you, and you share with your sisters and brothers the love of Christ. 

Life is not about the material things you gather along the journey!  Life is about the lessons learned and the memories.  Some of us miss the lessons but gather and hold on to so much stuff that our lives are running over. The load has become so heavy that it is unbearable.  Some of the load we are carrying is not our stuff.  We picked up this or that when we jumped in someone else’s lane, relationship, bed or business.( Did she?   Yes she did!) Some people and things we did not intend to take with us but they attached themselves to us… do know demons transfer?  Stay in your lane!

God planned our life’s journey!  God prepared a specific travel route just for each of us.  Unfortunately, God tells us to go right and we go left or He said go around the city but we cut through cause we want to see what is going on or we want to run by his or her house.( Just say ouch if you can’t say Amen!)  God said stay in the slow lane, but no, we just had to go faster so we move over to the fast lane.  Uh oh, then we have an accident now we want God to fix it.  We should have just followed the specified travel route and……..stayed in our lane!

Life is truly a journey my friends!  Take God with you, follow the specified route, keep your eyes on the road, stay in your lane and keep it moving!

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Saturday, September 30, 2017

Big Little Lies

I watched the HBO drama series Big Little Lies.  This series had 16 Emmy nominations and 8 wins.  The series began filming in January 2016 and premiered on HBO February 2017.  The cast includes heavy hitters such as Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon as well Zoe' Kravitz.
The plot, acting and directing was great. I was really glad to hear and see that domestic abuse is getting some much-needed attention and awareness.

I was disappointed with the lack of diversity in the series.  Domestic abuse is not limited to white wealthy women.  I would love to see this series come back and show domestic abuse in other neighborhoods, cultures, and socioeconomic statuses. Domestic abuse does not discriminate.

I support this series and I hope that you will also.  Below is the trailer for Big Little Lies.

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Saturday, September 2, 2017

Purposeful Pain

Purposeful Pain is
  • the pain you experience when you're going through your process.
  • the pain you feel when God is preparing you for something greater.
  • the pain you feel when God is stretching you.
  • the pain you feel when God allows you to be broken down so that He can get the glory out of your life.
  • the pain you feel when God separates you, calls you out of your hiding place or your comfort zone.
  • is very real and necessary for your destiny. 

Purposeful Pain is the Birthing pain you feel when you are pregnant with purpose!

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Intimate Partner Violence and PTSD

After dealing with depression and other health issues it was brought to my attention that some of these issues were symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Although, I reassured myself that I did not have PTSD I went on to begin researching the connection of Intimate Partner Violence and PTSD.  During my research I also took several online PTSD assessments.  After completing these assessments all of them told me to immediately contact a mental healthcare provider.  I scored differently on each assessment but they all determined that I scored very high on the PTSD scale. My research reassured me that I am by no means alone in my symptoms of PTSD or in my denial of the fact that I suffer with PTSD.
Millions of women are affected by Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) each year.  Experiencing trauma is very common in women. The National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) reports that five out of ten women experience trauma. (National Center for PTSD, 2007)    The relationship between intimate partner violence and PTSD is very strong.  This relationship grows stronger depending on the amount of violence a woman is exposed to and what coping strategies she employs in response to the violence. (Lily, 2010)  Repeated exposure to trauma from intimate partner violence causes posttraumatic stress disorder in women.

            Intimate Partner Violence is another name for domestic violence.  The term Intimate Partner Violence is normally used in relationships where the victim is involved in a sexually intimate relationship such as marriage.  Intimate Partner Violence is a fairly new term while domestic violence is not nor, is the act of domestic violence.  Domestic violence dates back to the early Roman society.  During this period women were considered the property of their husband.  Men had authority over their wives and could beat and divorce their wives at their own discretion. If a man murdered his wife it was not questioned or frowned upon.

            The government's definition of domestic violence and abuse is: “Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behavior, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.(Bagness 2016)”  Domestic violence is all about power and control.  The ultimate goal of an abuser is to have full control over their victim. 

            According to Michelle Lilly, millions of women are affected by intimate partner violence each year that results in adverse social, physical and emotional outcomes. (Lilly 2010)  Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and symptoms of PTSD have been observed in survivors of IPV.  Higher amounts of violence are correlated with greater symptoms of PTSD or likelihood of a PTSD diagnosis. However, it has been reported by Mary Ann Dutton that, “Psychological abuse is a stronger predictor of PTSD than physical abuse among women.

Some of the symptoms associated with PTSD are anxiety, depression, gastrointestinal problems, insomnia, chest, back, pelvic pain and headaches.  Many survivors of domestic violence may relive traumatic events over and over again.  Chronic pain syndromes are very common in women who have experienced domestic violence. (Dutton 2006)

Furthermore, how a survivor copes with the intimate partner violence is a determining factor in whether they will be diagnosed with PTSD. (Lilly, 2010) Survivors will employ multiple coping strategies to deal with the effects of a traumatic event or as violence increases in order to preserve their safety and/ or relieve their stress level. (Lily, 2010)

Some of the coping strategies used by victims of IPV are; adopting the belief that they are responsible for “helping” the partner, they can control their partner’s violent outbursts, or the violence will not occur again, minimizing the extent of physical or emotional injury suffered, blaming oneself or a partner’s addiction problem, and becoming increasingly isolated to avoid shame over being abused. (Arriaga 2005)

Whatever you choose to call it, domestic violence or intimate partner violence we need to bring an end to it.  Until domestic violence is brought to an end women will continue to suffer with the many physical and mental symptoms associated with domestic violence and PTSD.  Victims will continue to use coping strategies to preserve their safety and the number of women diagnosed with PTSD will increase.



Thursday, April 13, 2017

She Did Leave!

    One of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to domestic violence is "Why doesn't she leave"?   This is a question that I can honestly say that I hate to hear come out of any person's mouth.  
     This question rolls off the mouths of those who have no clue about surviving domestic abuse.  Most of the people that open the mouths to spew these words at a victim think that leaving is merely packing a bag and walking out of the door.  You have no idea how many victims pack a bag but never live to make it out of the door?
     Domestic violence is about power and control.  Abusers want to control every area of a victims life.  He will isolate her from family and friends so that she has no support system.  He makes her believe that no one cares but him.  He tears her down with his fist and his words.  Her self esteem unravels like the thread that's used to knit together the very sweater she wears.
     Why doesn't she leave?  Clearly those who ask this question have no idea that more victims die trying to leave their abusers than those who actually stay.  Packing a bag and leaving does not always mean it is over.  Leaving does not mean that she will be safe.
     Karen Elaine Smith left her abuser and had been separated from him for 1 month before he walked into her classroom  and without saying a word he shot and killed her.   He also shot 2 of her students, killing 1 of them.  He also killed himself. 
     All of this took place in front of Ms. Smith's special needs class.  These students will undoubtedly be traumatized by this horrific scene.
     Sending my condolences and prayers to the families involved including Ms. Smith's students.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Dream, A Prayer, A Victory!

      Pursuing my degree  will not only be a dream come true, a prayer answered, but it is a victory won!
      My life has taken many twists and turns.  I have experienced many challenges.  I have lost many things and people on this journey called life.  As a survivor of an abusive marriage it has been a dream to finish my degree.  My abuser took many things from me but, there is one thing no abuser or anyone else can ever take from me and you is our education! 
     In order to be the best Monica I can possibly be it is very important for me to continue my education.  Accepting this opportunity to complete my degree is not just for the betterment of me, but it’s for my daughters, my parents and all those women I will help in the future.  Getting a degree will open some doors that would not be open to me without a degree.  This has been something I have been praying about for some time. This is the answer to my prayer.\

     Years ago I was in college and I had to attend classes twice a week. I had a husband and two children at home. It was hard to concentrate on my studies while arguing and fighting between cooking meals, washing clothes and taking care of children. It's hard to write when your hand hurts from your fingers being bent back or squeezed. You can't see to read when your eye is swollen from being punched in it.

     Rising early the next morning while the house is quiet to finish homework becomes almost impossible when every part of your body hurts from the fight the night before. Getting out of bed takes every ounce of energy you can muster. Getting up takes a miracle.

     My divorce was final years ago. I got my name and peace back. Completing this degree is the final act in taking my power back. This is the final battle in a war I have been fighting for years. This degree means VICTORY!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

At The CROSSroad

It's at the CROSSroad that we are faced with important decisions and our lives change in one way or another.  It's at the CROSSroad that we choose obedience or disobedience, God's will or our own will for our lives.  Thankfully,as we travel this journey called life we will encounter several CROSSroad experiences. Each CROSSroad gives us an opportunity to get it right.
Pastor Curney has been teaching on CROSSroads.  He has taught us that while we're at the CROSSroad we should embrace the moments of solitude.  We need these moments of solitude before we make decisions. When we're at a CROSSroad we must be selective about those we allow to continue the journey with us. Everyone cannot go.  Some people can only walk with us the first mile.  While someone else was meant to accompany us to the CROSSroad but no further.  
As we stand at the CROSSroad there will be those that will burden us to go now. However, everyone cannot handle NOW!  Everyone cannot handle where God is taking you.  Everyone cannot handle the trials and struggles you will experience on the journey.  When we are at the CROSSroad we should continue our journey with people who share our vision.  Often those who want to travel with us cannot understand our vision, handle the gifts God has given us and where God is taking us.  
It's at the CROSSroad that we have an intimate encounter with Christ.  We experience God like never before.  At the CROSSroad that His still small voice is much clearer than ever before.
It's at the CROSSroad where we take up our cross and to make a choice to follow Jesus, choose the love of Christ.  This is where we yield our lives and will to Christ.  
While Christ hung on the CROSS for our sins that He surrendered His life for us and submitted to the will of God.  How appropriate that at the CROSSroad we choose Christ, we repent of our sins and submit to the will of God for our lives.

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