My Morning Meditation/Prayer Time is So Necessary

I understand so clearly this morning that finishing my M.A. in Biblical Counseling should never override these precious moments I set aside for God . . .in the morning. Yes, my course workload is getting rigorous as I come closer and closer to the finish line! I spend countless hours reading and writing each day. If I don’t intentionally set aside time for meditation in the morning. . .I will become inundated with my assignments. I shared this scripture fresh from my meditation and prayer time, on my Instagram page, this morning, Hebrews 4:12 (The Amplified Classic version):

For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.

“. . .the very thoughts and purposes of the heart” are exposed when we dive into God’s Word intensely. . . so intensely that we actually hear His voice, speaking to our situations and circumstances (all the stuff we worry about). Nothing is more satisfying to the human soul than a Word from God spoken directly to it. Nothing! His Word changes and rearranges things within us, and ultimately gives us renewed life in indescribable ways. This was such a blessing to me I thought I’d share. Pondering a scripture slowly in a translation I can easily comprehend is one of the most effective ways I meditate. . . my inner self thanks me every single time! Selah.

Discovering Your Passion: What Moves You? (Part 2)

*revised classic blog series

Even if you discover what you are truly passionate about, you will not know how to direct it (according to His plan for you) if you do not get God involved in your plans. Proverbs 16:3 in the Amplified Bible says, “Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.” God wants you to succeed in discovering His overall plan for your life. He is not trying to hide anything from you, but this step is the most important because without Him success is limited to merely a worldly perspective. 

Therefore get focused and start taking better care of yourself— physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. You cannot hear Him when you are stressed out, deprived of nutrients, worried, and mentally cluttered. 

Part of your self-care program should include organization. Get your life in order. How can you even hear your own thoughts when there is clutter all around you? You can clear out the junk in your mind and spirit by journaling. Clear out the junk in your home by taking one step at a time. Focus on one area of your home one day then another area the next day.  

Also be sure to do whatever you need to in order to nurture your spirit. Get up early in the morning to pray and seek God through Bible reading and meditation. The time you give yourself to connect spiritually is vital to your overall peace in life. Your peace will open the door to those things that ignite your passion.

Readers’ note: See new topics on everything from spiritual renewal to everyday practical tips here each week on NaturallyMs.Tawanda.live.

Discovering Your Passion: What Moves You? (Part 1)

*revised classic blog series

I want you to close your eyes for a moment and imagine that you have millions of dollars in the bank. You’re on a warm, secluded tropical island, considering your future endeavors. What do you see yourself doing? What are you most passionate about pursuing for the rest of your life?

Okay, you may not have millions of dollars, but there’s a driving force within you, propelling you to do something big. What is it? Pull it out of you. You only have the rest of your life to pursue it. 

One of the definitions I’ve found for passion is, “a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for something.” For example, you can have a driving enthusiasm for profound artwork or music or grand ideas. It goes beyond your “why” because it naturally flows from you, in a way that it appears to be attached to the very core of your being. 

As stated above, Passion has many definitions. However, the one I want to focus on is: a strong or extravagant fondness or desire for something that is significant to you.  God has put various desires in your heart. But how do you know the difference between a core life passion and a passing admiration of something? Maybe the answer is found in considering. . .what drives you? What sparks your passion and desire more than anything else?

When you talk about something you are truly passionate about, pure joy bursts out of you, and everyone can see it all over you. I like to think of it as God Himself, oozing out of you, showing the world a sneak peak of something you were just born to do. 

You are responsible for doing the work of discovering your true passion. I believe that when you discover what you are infinitely passionate about, you’ll have part of the puzzle of your life’s purpose solved. 

Former Editor-In-Chief of Essence Magazine, Susan Taylor, put it beautifully. She said, “To know yourself is to know the power of God within you.  We are here to discover our truth and to make our unique contribution to life.”  

I found another quote on passion by an unknown author. It connects passion with everything you do. It says, “If you have passion for what you do, the company you keep, the life you live, it will be reflected in whatever you create. Passion is like that; it springs out, jumps, unpredictable and planned, into everything we touch. If it doesn’t, others know. Passion can’t be faked and it can’t be manufactured, which is why it is so priceless.”

One thing you can do to discover what you are truly passionate about is to begin asking yourself a series of questions:

What ignites your enthusiasm? 

What can you imagine yourself doing all day with joy?

What charges you and drives you to excel?

In what do you get the best results? Also, you can find your passion in your hobbies or in those things in which you have a natural talent.

*This is part one of a classic Food for Thought blog series.

The Journey to Emotional Healing

One day I was thumbing through one of my Bibles and praying, “Lord, how do you heal people who suffer from emotional illnesses? Is it the same way in which you heal people with physical illnesses?” The Holy Spirit led me to read about two different women in the Bible. 

One was the woman at the well (John 4:1-42). As I read this passage repeatedly, I learned something about this conversation Jesus was having with the Samaritan woman. He was discussing this “thirst” she had. And the Holy Spirit revealed to me that the thirst in our lives is the God-sized void in our hearts. Many of us try to fill that void or thirst with relationships, which all fail because of the pressure we are putting on them. No human being or relationship can fill a God-sized void in our lives. Jesus pointed out this woman’s issues with relationships—she had five husbands, and the man she was with was not even her husband! She obviously needed emotional healing. Jesus was constantly delivering people in the way they desperately needed deliverance. He was continually healing the physically sick and casting demons out of people. However, with this woman, I noticed that He ministered to her about her thirst, and living water. Water, in the Bible, is often used to symbolize God’s Word, and rivers of living of water also describe the Holy Spirit. John 7:38 says, “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” John 7:39 defines this river in more detail, “But He was speaking here of the Spirit, Whom those who believed—trusted, had faith—in Him were afterward to receive” (Amplified Bible). 

Many times we just can’t seem to understand practically how the void within us can be filled by God. We may know that God fills us with part of Himself at the point of salvation, but we may be wondering how to tap into this continual divine connection that fills the void in our lives? How does God fill the void in our lives? I’ve discovered that the void in my life is filled once I am engaged in His presence, making a connection with Him through worship, praise, prayer, meditation, and Bible study. It is also when He heals and directs my emotions. In other words, He restores my soul (Psalm 23:3). The Apostle Paul prayed a powerful prayer for Christians in Ephesians 3:16. In the Amplified Bible it reads, “May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the (Holy) Spirit [Himself]—indwelling your innermost being and personality.” Verse 19 says, “[That you may really come] to know—practically, through experience for yourselves—the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge (without experience); that you may be filled (through your being) unto all the fullness of God—[that is] may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself!” When we take the time to meditate on this scripture, we understand that God does the filling all by Himself, not us. And finding true fulfillment within a relationship with Him is hard to explain. He deals with us on an individual basis. However, He does it all by His grace through our faith in Him.

But now I know from experience that Jesus heals the brokenhearted (Luke 4:18). I can also make a divine connection with Him, and that connection heals my soul. He is the manifested Word of God—the Word made flesh. And the Word is also health to all my flesh! (Proverbs 4:22).As I studied the story of this woman at the well, I saw that this encounter with Jesus changed her life. She began to tell her people, the Samaritans, to “come and see the man who gave me revelation about myself and my issues.” She asked, “Could this be the Messiah?” It appears that this woman longed to truly worship God. She wanted to truly know Him. And Jesus knew the deepest desire of her heart. Many Samaritans believed in Jesus because of her testimony (John 4:7-42).

*Excerpt from Bittersweet: Dealing with Our Emotional Issues

My Spiritual Recovery from Abusive Relationships

I remember visiting a women’s domestic violence support group once. I was single at the time, and I wasn’t in any domestic violence situation. However, I had just gotten out of a relationship with a man who was very verbally abusive. From the very beginning of the relationship, he would always put me down and try to control me.  One night he became very angry with me just because I wouldn’t kiss him goodnight the way he wanted me to. I was thinking, “I barely know this guy!” 

When I started thinking about how I seemed to attract these abusive men, I decided to talk to a facilitator (and counselor) because she had a lot of knowledge about the patterns of women in abusive relationships. I was looking for more information on the subject. I had just attracted two men who were interested in having a relationship with me, but I found out they both had violent past relationships! It was an eye-opener for me because I realized I was still attracting the same type of men. The counselor was really passionate about the subject. She has helped many women understand their value after they have endured many years of abuse. She told me that she knew it was her calling to do so. When we met, she helped me to gather information on the subject and counseled me about the recent break-up I had gone through. 

She invited me to visit her support group, and I did. I remember walking in slowly, not knowing what to expect. The house was warm and cozy. She brought out chocolates and other refreshments and proceeded to introduce me to the group.  

After others shared their experiences, I shared my story. Afterward, the facilitator brought out free gifts—free beauty products! We all had just visited dark places in our lives, but at the mention of beauty products, our spirits were lifted. We were giddy, like little girls again, as we tried on lipstick, lotions, and perfume. Although I felt like a five-year-old playing in her mother’s make-up, I was learning a profound lesson. It doesn’t take much to lift a dreadful mood. I couldn’t help but laugh as the ladies came alive! All memories of their troubled pasts had vanished right before my eyes—if only for a few glamorous moments. It lifted my spirit to see the shift from feelings of sadness and regret to excitement and fun. 

From that experience, I learned that it is important for us to feel good about ourselves as women.  Even if the feeling initially comes from a little dab of perfume or a little rouge on the lips, it’s all the same—self-love and appreciation are important for those who are broken inside. 

Recently, I thought about the ladies, and I was inspired by the event all over again. I decided to give myself a little boost by trying this electric-blue eye liner I had found. It wasn’t much, but it was a small step. It was a step toward a foundation I was already building on in my life—to change the course of my life, no matter what is going on. 

Here are some other tips to help you focus and better take care of yourself:

  • Have a time of the day in which you set aside time for prayer, meditation, and Bible reading. The mornings are a good time, as this helps set the tone for your day. 
  • Set aside some “me” time. This a time in which you do something you really enjoy, such as reading a novel, listening to music, journaling, or simply sipping a cup of tea. Remember to choose an activity that helps you unwind. 
  • Make a list of things you need in order to properly take care of yourself. For example, I really need to drink more water; therefore, I have to remind myself to do it. I also have to remind myself to take my vitamins. I actually do it by talking to myself as if I were my own mother, making myself take them! It’s crazy, but many of us have to be made to take time to do those things that are good for our health. In the past, there were times when I would try to skip on eating any vegetables and fruit during the day! Again, I have to make myself eat what I need to eat in order to stay healthy—yes, it requires extra effort and discipline at times. 
  • Pray for direction and clarity. Pray for the wisdom to understand how to better use your resources, such as your money, time, and energy. Pray over your relationships and other areas of your life. 
  • Take the most stressful thing you’re dealing with and “cast” that care upon God. I often make a list of the things I want God to take control of. I also make a list of the people I want to pray for.
  • Get as organized as humanly possible. 
  • Make your home as comfy as possible for you, first and foremost. When you do, more than likely, everyone else will enjoy it also. 
  • Make a note to find ways to reduce your stress as much as possible. For example, if you travel a road that has aggravating traffic each day, try to find a calmer, more peaceful route home. It could take longer; however, if you have the time, it may be more beneficial to your peace of mind in the long run. As always, pay attention to the promptings in all of these areas. He will lead you and give you the wisdom you need. These are just suggestions.  

*excerpt taken from my book, “Bittersweet; Dealing with Our Emotional Issues.”

How Do I Fill a God-Sized Void?

 “The secret [of the sweet, satisfying companionship] of the Lord have they who fear (revere and worship) Him, and He will show them His covenant and reveal to them its [deep, inner] meaning” (Psalm 25:14, AMP).

We were designed for sweet, satisfying companionship with the Lord. However, distractions can pull us away from the Lord, and separation from Him leaves us empty (Hebrews 12:2, AMP). Many times we try to fill the void on our own. For example, we may spend an excessive amount of time on the internet, on social networks, playing video games, and texting. We may also attempt to find other avenues for fulfillment, many that lead to addictive behaviors and destructive habits. However, the gnawing emptiness returns. Deep inside we know what is missing; it’s our fellowship with God.

In order for God to fill that void within us, we have to turn our attention to Him, away from distractions that have become idols. An idol is anything that we give priority in our lives; it’s a substitute for God. It is something that consumes all our time, energy, and resources. We can make an idol out of a relationship, a job, a hobby, money, activities, or anything else that controls us. When we allow idols to take over our lives, we reach a point of hopelessness and despair.  

Within God’s Word we find the solution to these dead ends in life. “My son, attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings. Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh” (Proverbs 4:20-23, AMP).   

            His Word is life to our weary souls in so many ways. The ultimate thirst within us is quenched whenever we turn our attention to His Word, the very essence of who He is. When we begin to meditate on His Word, we begin to hear His spirit speaking to us within our born-again spirits. As the words of the psalmist so eloquently says, “This is my comfort and consolation in my affliction: that your word has revived me and given me life” (Psalm 119:50, AMP).

                The Amplified Bible tells us that fellowship with God is a distinguishing mark of Christians (1 John 1:3). It involves personal, intimate exchange. When we fellowship with God on a regular basis, we feel confident enough to talk to Him, even when we miss the mark. Fellowship or as the Scripture says, “the sweet companionship” of the Lord is vital to our success as Christians. The more we meditate upon the Word, the more revelation He gives us, which causes us to succeed in our endeavors (Joshua 1:8). This sets us apart from the rest of the world, and helps us grow in our relationship with God.  

We can practice fellowshipping with God on a daily basis. For instance, we can sing Him a song while putting away the dishes, tell Him how much we love Him while driving, and talk to Him continually throughout our day. We do these things, knowing that He loves us and hear us, and is deeply concerned about us. When we acknowledge and are made aware of His unfailing love, and His presence in our lives, it is easier to trust Him. Our fellowship with God includes trusting and acknowledging Him in all that we do so that we will make the right decisions (Proverbs 3:5-7). He leads us onto the right path for our lives because He loves us.

Therefore, when we fellowship with God, we should expect a response. Hearing from the Lord in is one of the sweetest experiences we will ever have. This type of fellowship and awareness of the Lord is how we begin to become complete in Him. When we turn our full attention to Him and keep our eyes on Him as our source, the God-sized void within our souls is filled. True fulfillment in life will not come from any other source. We may find something to fulfill our flesh temporary, but once the feeling subsides, we are left with religious burn out. And then we get into to self effort and works and fear, and never achieve the will of God, which starts a vicious cycle of busyness, with no fruit.  

Remembering Our First Love

Many times we allow a number of things to distract us from our personal relationship with Jesus. For instance, we can begin to give attention to the thousands of cares and concerns going on in the world. We are often inundated with all the world’s cares through the news, media, and social media. As a result we find ourselves spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically depleted. We become frustrated because we feel we’ve lost our connection with Him. We reach a road block on the road to our dreams and goals. We find ourselves with no direction in life, and spending time with Him becomes merely a chore instead of a desire.  

We can also get caught up the “doing” many Christians get caught in. In other words, we are doing a lot of good things for people and in service to the Lord, without actually spending time with Him. We can easily get out of balance in our relationships with others to the extent that we are neglecting our most important relationship.

However, this is not the Lord’s fault. We cannot blame Jesus when we neglect Him, and become burnt out. He has sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within each of us as a personal counselor. The Holy Spirit is also our advocate, guide, and our great teacher. He is always available and ready for us to acknowledge His presence. He is our great helper in a time of need.

Romans 8:26, AMP, states So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance.” Praying the Spirit is a way in which we rely on the Lord for strength; it is a grace gift. When we pray in the Spirit, we are no longer relying on our own abilities; we are relying on the Lord.

Another way we acknowledge the Lord is by reading, studying, and meditating on the Word. Everything we need to live our lives as Christians can be found in the Word of God. The Lord and the Word are one. In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. He was present originally with God.  All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him was not even one thing made that has come into being” (John 1:1-3, AMP).

When we are distracted, something has stolen our focus. However, we can re-focus on what the Lord says to us through the Word. Proverbs 4:20-22 in the New Living Translation states, “My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body.” 

Focusing on Him is a way we respond positively to God’s promises. When we begin to place our trust in Him, we will find our heavy loads lifting from us. Matthew 11:30 states, “For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.” We can tap into His peace when our minds are crowded by the cares of the world. And He keeps us in perfect peace, when we keep our minds our Him (Isaiah 26:3).

Achieving Emotional Wholeness

Photo by Eternal Happiness on Pexels.com

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised”
(Luke 4:18).

The truth is, we all have experienced negative emotions that have left our souls bruised at the end of the day. No human being is exempt from feeling pain. When our thinking and emotions are damaged, every part of our lives suffers. However, painful emotions are not supposed to rule our lives, ultimately causing feelings of desperation, resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness. These are emotional cancers that affect our mental and physical health. The good news is, Jesus has already made our healing available to us. Therefore, whenever we are hurt, offended, or betrayed, we must deal with those emotions. When we do, they will immediately stop festering and infecting the soulish part of us—our thoughts and emotions. Our healing is manifested when we take steps of faith toward emotional wholeness.

One of the first steps we can take is to allow the Holy Spirit to help us by praying in the Spirit. “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words” (Romans 8:26, New Living Translation).

When we follow the Holy Spirit’s direction, we stop negative emotions from taking over. He develops us and makes us stronger, and healing begins as we follow His leading. However, negative emotions can create chaos within our souls and make it hard for us to hear God’s still, small voice. When we can’t hear His voice clearly, we can go to the Word and begin to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance as we search for specific scriptures (James 1:5).

Another step we can take is to meditate on the Word. Meditation is a powerful tool; it is simply rolling a thought in the mind repeatedly. We can use the Internet or a concordance to locate scriptures that relate to a particular situation. Reading the Scriptures aloud repeatedly and slowly helps us to focus on their meaning. Once we begin to focus on the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit will add more revelation to them.  

Confessing our faults to one another is another step of faith that brings healing. We can talk to a trusted Christian counselor, minister, or friend about our sins and ask for prayer. We should first follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in choosing someone who will agree with us. “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results” (James 5:16, New Living Translation).

Many times God will use an emotion or a situation that seems devastating to bring us to a new spiritual level. He doesn’t cause trouble in our lives, but He guides us through our pain, causing it to harvest into spiritual maturity.

Whenever hurtful emotions strike, remember we receive healing when praying, relying on the Holy Spirit’s guidance, confessing our faults, and meditating on God’s Word. In this life, we will have troubles that will try to move us emotionally; however, we do not have to act on our emotions. Achieving emotional wholeness is not a one-time event; it’s a lifetime commitment. When we deal with our emotions effectively, we gain emotional wholeness, and each emotional attack becomes a little easier to handle.

How Do I Love the Person in the Mirror?

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! You workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb” (Psalm 139:13-15, New Living Translation)

We can take a lesson from David and meditate on how much God loves and values us. When we meditate on God’s love, we gain a greater appreciation of ourselves. The psalms of David clearly express how much he meditated on God’s unfailing love for him and His faithfulness toward him.  In the above Psalm, David acknowledged that God carefully and intentionally considered him and all the complexities of his body as he was being formed in the dark of the womb. 

To truly love ourselves, we must acknowledge that God loves us so much that He sent His Son Jesus to die for us (John 3:16). Jesus is the ultimate expression of the love of God. And He knew that He was the beloved Son of God (Matthew 3:16-17). Now we are accepted by the Father because of Jesus! We are accepted in the beloved!

There are a myriad of reasons why we sometimes feel unloved and unlovable, but God wants us know that we are infinitely and greatly loved by Him (Romans 8:35-37). Even when our feelings don’t line up, we can always go to His Word and meditate on scriptures about God’s love.

You may be thinking, “How does this help me to love myself?” When you receive God’s love by faith, you will begin to love yourself properly. Here are a few steps to get you started:

  1. Meditate on scriptures that express God’s love for us. The psalms of David full of expressions of God’s love. For example, Psalm 8:3-5 says, “When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—the moon and stars that you set in place—what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them. Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor” (New Living Translation).  Begin to ponder the fact that your heavenly Father, who created the heavens and the earth, made you a little lower than Himself and crowned you with glory and honor! 
  2. Begin to acknowledge the ways God expresses His love for you. There are many ways God shows His love for you every single day. For example, you may receive favor on your job, a financial blessing, an unexpected free gift, or a great parking space while out shopping. No matter how big or small the favor, begin to acknowledge God’s involvement in it.
  3. Like David, express God’s love for you using your gifts and talents. For example, if you have the ability to write songs, write a song expressing His love for you. Or if you can paint, paint a picture that expresses His love for you.  

  While doing these practical steps ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. Depend on Him to give you revelation of the Father’s love. Ask Him to help you love and appreciate yourself as you accept Gods love. Remember, you can’t give away something you don’t have. When you begin to love yourself properly, you will also begin to love others appropriately. Begin your discovery of love today! Your life will never be the same!  

The Therapeutic Effects of Self Care

  1. Grab a Journal

One way that has helped me to take control of my thoughts and emotions is through writing in journal on a regular basis. I spend a lot of time just spilling my soul out on paper. When you write your thoughts on paper, you are able to decipher and organize them. That’s difficult to do when thoughts are rushing around in your head. However, it’s easier to take the thoughts captive, once they are organized on paper. I usually write a prayer at the end of my journal entry, and include gratitude and praise reports. 

Also, I noticed that having a good self-care program helps me manage my emotions. One counselor that I went to concerning my high stress level asked me if I was taking care of myself every week. He asked, “What did you do for self care this week?” And that really helped me because it made me pay attention to the areas in my life that I was completely ignoring due to overwhelming emotions. I was able to manage my emotions enough to take care of whatever I needed to take care of that day. He got me back on track with that question. I believe the Lord used him just for that purpose in my life. I knew a little about the power of a good self-care program. Previously, I had read an article that explained that when a person comes to the hospital for depression, the first thing nurses do is give the person something hearty to eat, like a steak dinner! They make sure the depressed person is not simply suffering from exhaustion or malnutrition! I’ve heard that some people have gone to the hospital because they believed they were having a nervous breakdown, when they only needed to rest and/or they needed proper nutrition. Having a good self-care program is not a luxury but a necessity in today’s fast-paced world.  

2. Actually take care of yourself! Don’t just think it!

“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in every way and [that your body] may keep well, even as [I know] your soul keeps well and prospers (3 John 1:2, AMP).” 

It’s crazy how sometimes I have to be reminded to take care of myself! I will get so caught up in taking care of others that I forget about myself completely. I heard another friend of mine say she constantly does the same thing. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we won’t be around to take care of those we love! 

One day, many years ago, I noticed a bald spot in the back of my head—right in the center. When I saw it, I began to panic because I thought I had alopecia, which runs in my family. I pictured myself almost bald, and I began to cry. I was on the floor crying and praying when I heard a small, still voice deep within lovingly say that my hair would indeed not fall out, but it would grow back healthy if I would begin to take good care of it by not processing it with chemicals and, instead, doing all I could to nurture, nourish, and protect it, as well as my entire body. I heeded the voice. I stopped processing my hair, and started taking baby steps toward natural hair styles. It’s been over six years since I’ve made that decision, and I haven’t looked back since. I slowly but surely began the journey, researching and experimenting with foods, drinks, nutrients, vitamins, and all kinds of natural products that were better for my hair and skin—my entire body.  

Eventually, my hair grew back thick and full, and even my eating habits improved. My eating habits and fitness were fine, but they could stand a lot of improvement. For example, I ate way too much sugar. I didn’t really eat enough organic fruits and vegetables. I didn’t get enough water in a day, and I didn’t get enough sleep. When I realized I needed to make a change with my hair, I decided I wanted to completely makeover my entire health. However, I had to first decide that I was worth the sacrifice it would take for me to maintain a truly healthy lifestyle. 

3. Make necessary sacrifices and pertinent lifestyle changes to remain whole and healthy.

I wanted a better lifestyle in which I was eating healthier, exercising, and in healthy relationships with people who were nurturing and encouraging, and with a man who was not at all abusive. I began extensive research on how to take better care of myself—body, soul, and spirit. I started with my body first. I started to research vitamins, and I started to become more physically fit. I glowed, knowing I was achieving a level of wholeness I hadn’t before. I started to hang around women who were encouraging and who helped to build my self-esteem rather than tear it down. I started to volunteer more. I began dealing with the abuse by attending a 12-step Christian group, and I even wrote this book about my recovery. I began to follow my dreams, and I bought a home for my daughter and me. I can’t say my soul is completely healed and whole yet, but my daughter and I are definitely happier and healthier than we have ever been before. We often curl up and watch YouTube videos and learn better ways to care for our hair, skin, and bodies. My younger sister also got on the bandwagon and began doing more to care for her hair and body! She also watches who she spends time with. She is now planning to study abroad oversees! I began to see that when we examine our lives and begin to take better care of ourselves God equips us with the grace to continue to do so. Then we are able to influence others. God wants all of us to prosper and to be in the best health possible.