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Finding Peace in the Storms of Sisterhood

Credit: Transformingloveministries.org

I am re-posting a wonderful blog post written by my friend, Stacha Ashburn from @transformingloveministries.org

This is such a powerful and encouraging post about maintaining our peace within the relationships we have with others (not just our sisters, but it can even be powerful with any relationship we have with others.)

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For a long time now, I have been a huge advocate for sisterhood. However, I am still very much learning just what healthy and unhealthy relationships look like and how to navigate through them. We all know within any real relationship women have with one another there is going to be emotional highs and lows that will trigger drama. Let’s call them peace robbers!

I believe within the body of Christ it gets a little bit more complicated because we are not to conform to the world’s way. I am going to unveil and share some scenarios I have walked through within my sista girl circle –what I did right, what I did wrong, and what I learned overall.

Something I want to share upfront, though you are a believer that doesn’t mean you’re anybody’s doormat!

Holy Spirit will lead and guide you in Peaceful Relationships 101 when you respond verses react. When we react, we give away our power. When we respond appropriately, we stay in control of ourselves and secure our inner peace. Keep your overall peace by choosing to not allow another party to provoke you into losing your Jesus!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have mastered this choice at times, and other times I have failed epically! But God ain’t done with me yet!

I recently found myself in a situation with one girlfriend in which we simply could not agree to see eye to eye. So, what do you do in these scenarios?

By the grace of God, I was at work and had to keep all the fruits of HIS Spirit during this encounter. I finally got to the place where I called it out for what it was. I told the other party that “This isn’t me against you or you against me, it is the enemy we are warring with.”

Ephesians 6:12 says:

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” NLT

With that, we were able to agree to see it differently. We were hip to Satan’s tricks. We hugged it out and moved on.

Then there was another situation where my sista wouldn’t respond via call or text, which only added fuel to the enemy’s fire in my mind. Ephesians 4:26 says:

And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry. NLT

I totally see why now, because in the silence, your mind tries to make sense of it and creates its own conclusions, which essentially robs you of your peace. When we finally did speak, we discovered lies -all lies! I learned I am a “let’s handle this right now” type of person; whereas, she is a “I need to be still and pray for a few days” type of chick. After discovering this, we agreed to use a code word that my husband and I often use – processing. Now when we have a disagreement, she just texts the word “processing” to let me know she needs her space. With that, I know she just needs a moment and then we are going to come back to the dispute at hand.

Then there’s this example that recently presented itself. It is another great example of how I need to seek to understand my sista better before responding to her.

I was on the phone with a friend when chaos broke out in my home. I had to get off the phone abruptly and handle the immediate situation. This friend knew what was going down, but she hadn’t reached back out at any point in the day to make sure I was well. So, I reached out to her the next day and let her know it hurt my feelings because she knew I was in crisis and didn’t follow up. She immediately apologized and shared that in her family when there is chaos, you don’t bring it up. She assumed based on her experience that if I wanted to talk about it, I would have reached out to her. Huge epiphany! If it wasn’t called out in open communication, we couldn’t have come to that understanding.

Communication is so key in any relationship but is essential within the relationships of believers. The enemy currently has domain over this world, and he wants to rob us of our peace by keeping us entangled in relationship issues. It’s evident that’s one of Satan’s best tricks. This keeps us distracted from living life fully alive.

Matthew 18:20 says:

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them. KJV

We are better together than we are apart, and we already know the power in that!

At the same time, we must learn discernment and balance as we walk this walk. There will be times when we will need to let go of those God hasn’t called us to keep. It took me way too long to realize we don’t have to remain friends with the toxic people in our circles. We are free to walk away from people who hurt us. We don’t owe anyone an explanation for taking care of ourselves.

There will be times that we need to erase messages, delete numbers, and move on for the sake of our well-being. It doesn’t mean we will forget who that person was to us, but we come to accept that they aren’t that person anymore and must simply set ourselves free. If someone hurts you once, they most likely will do it again. Don’t let toxic people make you feel like you are holding a grudge when you are establishing well-placed boundaries.

Whew ladies! When it comes to finding peace in the storms of sisterhood, I have shared just a few moments from my personal collection of experiences. Maintaining healthy relationships in our community of sisters is important because God says love HIM and love each other!

Besides being members of a local community, we have wide relationships with family, including extended families, co-workers, sisters, and friends. We have friends across spiritual communities and generations alike. This creates courage for women to face the future in faith and in hope. Courage comes from the power of our sisterhood, the energy that women have together. And there are so many spheres in which the courage of women has shifted the arc of history toward justice. Our sisterhood is powerful. Protect it!

Written by Stacha Ashburn

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Unconditional Love Is Priceless

I struggle to share my private life and I know this post is going to seem a bit weird to some who do not understand the depth in which you can love your pets, but this dog is my world.

This is my doggo, Shadow (the one with floppy ears). If you follow me on Instagram then you know how much he means to me, but to those who do not, you will quickly learn, he is my life.

We adopted this gentle guy when he was only seven months old because our sweet family friend was unexpectedly transferred to a new duty station and had been informed by the U.S. Navy that she could only take one of her sweet babies with her.

She had to make an extremely difficult decision and had to find this precious baby boy a new home. We already knew the boys because they lived across the street and so she asked my family if we would consider adopting this baby boy and give him a good home for her. She entrusted us with her most precious baby whom we agreed to adopt.

I made her a promise when we agreed to adopt Shadow that we would take the best care of him as we knew how. It didn’t take him any time to melt the hearts of our family and become one of us. As a result of his adoption, it enabled his Mommy Sarah and brother, Baby Bear, to remain in his life.

This was a win win situation. His mommy Sarah has the pleasure of seeing him as often as she comes to town while we share pictures and videos with her often. This allows her the unique opportunity to remain in his life.

Friends, if you have a special dog in your life then you will understand this statement,

Shadow is my sunshine on cloudy day.

We originally thought we would train him to be a service dog for my husband who struggles with the effects of PTSD, but it did not take long to see Shadow had a different plan.

Shadow quickly became “my” side kick. He goes on walks with me. He waits on me at every chance he gets. If I go out of sight, I know he is always there and exited to see me come back. He even loves to go for car rides every chance he gets.

He loves the rest of the family, but him and I have a unique relationship. He is truly my life (outside of my human family and friends).

“Shadow Puppy” is the bestest buddy any human could have or wish for. He has truly changed my life. He filled a void I did not realize I had.

If you have a dog in your life who has done this for you, then you understand what I mean when I say,

I truly love my dog!

He is the bestest doggo friend I could have ever wish for.

He is my life in dog form.

My friend, if you have a special pet in your life, give them an extra hug as well as an extra treat today. They earned it through their unconditional for you.

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Hope Shines Brightly For New Tomorrows

Today’s Challenge is simple and was inspired by this quote,

“One person caring about another represents life’s greatest value.” – Unknown

How many people do you know who are struggling and are in physical or emotional pain?

All you have to do is take a minute to think of a person in life in your life who is struggling. They will not be hard to find.

I challenge you today to reach out and show someone who is in pain that they are not alone. Give them a hug, a smile, or simply a note of encouragement. Let them know they will be okay and that they are loved.

This simple moment of caring is enough to give them the hope they need to get through today.

My Friend, please reach out today and encourage them, give them the hope they may have lost, and allow them to see the brightness of a new tomorrow.
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Stand Firm On Your Truth

Encouragement Today and Motivation Monday

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Today’s Encouragement is inspired by my daughter’s latest medical hardship.

I have taken her to Urgent Care two times in the past four days for help with her mega migraines.

Her first trip went better than her second one. The first doctor has a better understanding of what migraines are and how severe Kiddo’s can be, however today’s wasn’t as sympathetic. I suspect she may lack an understanding of how debilitating mega migraines are and does not understand how bad they are for my daughter.

It is my hope and prayer today’s difficult day will inspire and encourage you to know if you are standing on solid truth, it will not matter what any one else will think about you.

Today’s quote came from our experience at the doctor’s office.

“Standing on truth allows you to always know you are right, no matter what anyone else believes.” 

I am not sure how much today’s doctor believed Kiddo was in the pain she was in, but as I write tonight for tomorrow, I can sit here knowing in my heart that it does not matter what she believes or does not believe, we know the truth. We know how debilitating these migraines are and how her other chronic illnesses affect her migraines and at the end of the day that is all that matters.

Today’s encouragement and motivation is this same truth for you. It does not matter what others believe. It only matters what you know as truth. 

Stand firm on the knowledge of your truth and do not let the lack of other’s understanding sway you in what you believe.

Your truth is all that matters at the end of the day.