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More Than Just Survive

After about two months I finally have the electricity back on in my apartment. In those two months I learned to operate in darkness in order to “survive”, I suppose you could say. Not having electricity affected many aspects of my life, figuring out how to eat and charge my phone, it’s not a long list but everything on the list was something of some importance to survive. Since I’ve had my lights on I’ve realized that out of habit I still operate as if I have no electricity. I’ll eat less to save more for later, even though now I have a fridge and a stove and microwave so I can cook and store food. The other night I was in my room looking for something while the sun was setting. I stood in my barely lit room for about 5 minutes looking for whatever it was I was searching for before I realized I had electricity so I could now turn on my lamp. This coupled with someone pointing out that I am always in “survival mode”, caused me to really sit back and examine this about myself.

The lights were only out for two months and I have trained myself to survive in such circumstances and it’s stuck, what else have I trained myself to survive in the 20 years that I have been living? How many things have stuck that I don’t even realize? I have become so good at smiling when inside I am a complete wreck. I cannot tell you how many times I have had someone tell me they would have never guessed what I was going through based on how I carry myself and interact with them. It baffles me at how good I have become at not crying. There has probably been a time when I was sitting next to or talking to someone and during the conversation I am on the verge of tears but take a deep breath or make a joke and I’m “ok”. I’m sure the list of things I have trained myself to do in order to survive is extensive. I’m tired of surviving, yes it is a trait many may admire. But there is more to life then just surviving. Yes I have survived but what about the wounds that I have acquired while going through? What about the tears I didn’t cry so I could put on a brave face for my little sisters and brother? What about the weight I lost from stress and lack of food in the past two years? The list goes on and on, I want to be more than a survivor. So here I am 20 years old going back to when I was 17 and my father called me useless and this time I am going to allow myself to cry, this time I will allow myself to express my hurt and anger, this time I am going to give it to Him. You see, I survived that and many moments like it, however I never allowed myself to heal from it. 

Revelations 12:11 tells us we overcome the enemy by His blood and the power of our testimony. To be honest I am not sure why I wrote all of this. I started writing a Facebook status about my power and planned on using it as analogy of how when we are free from something we at times still operate as of we are in bondage. Next thing I know I am on Tumblr typing all of this. My prayer is that my story will touch you in some way and empower you to live your life abundabtly. I don’t know who reads my Tumblr but I pray whoever does is impacted in a positive way, in a life changing way.

A Friend of Mine

I have this friend, she’s pretty awesome. I love her but…I don’t know. My friend and I we talk everyday, from sunset to sunrise. Lately she has been second guessing a lot of things and herself. Last week I shared one of the conversations I had with my friend with someone and they were shocked at how I spoke to her. They asked me why I spoke to her that way and honestly I had no answer. They went on to ask if I had the courage to speak to anyone else that way and I admitted that I didn’t. Now before I continue I think it best I share some of what my friend and I have spoken about. My friend was considering leaving school and when she shared this I immediately told her she would never amount to anything if she did. She went on to share some of her struggles and though I had sympathy for her I told her she was a failure and that at the rate she was going the chances of her being successful were slim to none. Before I get in boxed about how rude and mean I am let me say this; this blog really isn’t about how I speak to one of my friends, it’s about how I treat myself. That’s how I talk to myself.

Before I had a conversation with an actual one of my friends (LOL), I saw nothing wrong with my thoughts UNTIL she took the things I said to myself and said, “Jaunyce, so and so never finished college, would you look them in the face and tell them they are a failure?” My immediate and shocked response was NO, that would be mean and rude. She went on to show me that just as it would be mean and rude to speak those things over someone elses life, it was just as bad to speak them over my own. Proverbs 18:21 talks about how the power of life in death is in our tongue.

I am pretty careful about what I say to other people and how I go about saying things that may be hurtful. I don’t do that with myself, without even second guessing I will tell myself how much I suck. For years I have been killing my emotions and hurting myself with my mere thoughts and words. The Golden Rule is to love thy neighbor as thy self, I think it’s time I take a moment to love myself as I deserve. It’s about time I start speaking life into Jaunyce Nichole Priester. 

Aye Yo God, Let Me Spit To You Real Quick

The other night I was on the phone with a friend and we started talking about prayer. He told me he knows that the words he uses to pray aren’t as grand and profound as others but he was trying and that in all honesty he felt most comfortable speaking to God as if He was one of his boys. I quickly assured him that God wants to be one of his boys, the words he uses to pray mean very little to God, He just wants to talk to Him. It frustrates and saddens me to know that my friend isn’t the only one who feels this way. I’m sure there are countless others who feel as though their prayers are inadequate because they feel their vocabulary is insufficient. Well…that’s not true. God is not concerned about the magnitude of your words, He’s concerned about the one using them…He’s looking at your heart. He doesn’t care if you use omnipotent, omniscient or omnipresent. He’s not counting how many times you say “In the name of Jesus”. In my humble opinion, the idea that prayer must be some grand act (note the word act) in order for God to respond is a religious notion. I talk to God like I do my friends. Most of my prayers start off with “Hey God…” To be honest, I don’t even pray out loud that often. A pray a lot silently, I write prayers in my journal, some of my Facebook statuses are prayers as well as my Tweets. On my iPhone I use my note pad app to write countless prayers. And when I can’t find the words to say I cry, I believe those are prayers as well. God is interested in you as you are, so if your prayers start off, “Aye yo God let me spit to you real quick…”, let that be how you start your prayers off. Pray as you are, not as others tell you you should.

To Love Again

I only ever wanted to fall in love once. Not so much because I didn’t want my heartbroken, more so because I wanted it to matter…to mean something. Not to say that anytime in the future when I fall in love it will not matter or be sincere. I guess what I’m trying to say is I wanted to share and experience those moments with just one person because to me it would have meant so much more. How awesome would it have been to have my 10 year old daughter come to me, after reading something about love, and ask, “Hey mommy…who was your first love?” and I look over at her father and say, “Daddy.” I don’t regret falling in love with the person I first fell in love with. The story may not have had a happy ending and my dream of being in love only once may not have come true but I don’t regret it for a moment. My husband will not be the only man to have had my heart, kinda sucks, BUT he will be the first person to have all of me. By the grace of God I still have my virginity. That will count for something, in the long run it may even count for more. This has really gotten me to thinking about the things I have shared with the guys I’ve been with, what will be left for me to give to my husband and say, “You’re the only one to have this part of me.”? We, men and women, shouldn’t give any part of ourselves away so easily. Sure in the moment it’s awesome and worth it but in the end I don’t feel it is. I have a lot of awesome in the moment memories that I know I should have waited to experience with my husband. I know we shouldn’t live with regret but I can honestly say I have a few. I was told by someone important to me, “Never be the one he has to tell his wife about.” Meaning, don’t do anything with someone you are dating that should be saved for someone who you will be married to. He has plenty of things to tell his wife about and I’m not at all proud of that. However I have somethings to tell my husband as well. They say you live and you learn. As I move on I pray that what I’ve learned won’t be repeated so it won’t be something I have to live again. To my husband I just want to say, I may have done something’s to compromise my integrity and worth, there are a few things I have to tell you and you won’t be the first to have my heart. With all that said, I still have something special saved for you, and though you won’t be the first one to have my heart you will be the last and unlike the first time I loved, this time I love myself and I realize the need for His love and fulfillment. That makes a world of a difference.

Darkness

I’m a deep person, I look at nothing and search for the something within it. I’m not sure why I’m this way but I’ve grown to love it about myself. I believe one way God speaks to me is through my depth. Earlier today I had one of my deep moments. So I came home from school this afternoon to find that the power in my apartment is temporarily out. It wasn’t until dusk that this began to affect me, as the sun began to set I had access to less and less light. I was fumbling around my room trying to find clothes (my black jeans..-_- LOL) and as I threw stuff around in frustration I had this sudden thought. I thought to myself, “I wonder how it feels to be in a spiritually dark place?” Fumbling around in my, extremly messy, room was all but infuriating!! I didn’t have enough light to find what I needed, my room is a hot mess and that added another elemnt of chaos to the situation. If things were in place it would have been much easier to find them. But what really topped it all off was not having a place to charge my phone. The percentage bar slowly crept down lower and lower. I put my phone down in attempt to salavage what little battery I had left. Each moment I lost more energy made me that much frustrated that I did not have a power source to hook my phone up to. 

Not only does operating in darkness prohibit you from seeing, there is also a lack of power. When my phone died I had no way of recharging it in my apartment (I’m now sitting in the computer lab at school charging it). It must suck to experience this in the spiritual context. Any contact I now have with any type of light is greatly appreciated, I can safely say I do not look forward to going back to my now pitch black apartment. In that same way I don’t think those who operate in darkness enjoy it. It may be comfortable for some time but it’s not where they want to be though fear keeps them there. Just like outside of my apartment I can find light, outside of those dark places they can also find light. That light being you. You cannot bring them out of darkness, that’s His job, however you can shine some light on them. I can guarantee that it’s not their desire to return to whatever darkness they dwell in and the spirit they are dealing with may inevitably take them back there, but that doesn’t mean that the moment you spent shining in their lives will go in vain. Maybe enough of your life will give them a desire to have their own. Maybe your light will give them hope. I don’t know, all I know is some how it will make a difference. So I challenge you to be a light in every circumstance! No one in this computer lab knows I’m going home to darkness, you don’t know what the person next to resides in either. Be a light.

Lessons of a Broken Heart

August 27, 2011 Ericka Porter and I had a text conversation about the breakup I was going through. In that conversation she said something to me that really challenged how I saw my healing and moving forward from my heart being broken. Her exact words were, “The goal isn’t to feel better, but to grow, learn, and develop your relationship with God.” That simple statement changed how I viewed my situation and went about moving forward from that point on. The entire time up until that point I was seeking to simply feel better and get over it, which she kindly reminded me would take time and lots of it. It sucked because I just wanted to be over and done with the entire situation, erase it from my hearts memory and live my life never experiencing a pain like that again. That wasn’t the point though. People say there is purpose in your pain, I have found this to be the truth. Sure I wish I could have learned what I have been learning through some other less painful experience, but that’s besides the point. It hurt, still hurts, like hell! But from it I have learned to forgive, love unconditionally, to allow myself to hurt and be vulnerable. I’ve learned to cry again, I’ve learned to create boundaries and how to allow people to be there for me. I’ve learned to push, to live now, I have come face to face with myself. I have fallen in love with myself! Most importantly I have developed a deep and intimate relationship with God. It’s way too much to type in this blog, but all that I have learned, developed and seen grow within myself as a result of the experience has changed my life. I know it sounds so cliche and when you’re going through and hear someone say, “There is purpose in your pain.” it’s the last thing you want to hear. Trust me I know, I rolled my eyes and gave so many dirty looks…lol. Despite what it feels like I challenge you to change your perspective. Instead of seeking to feel better, seek the purpose. I promise you it’s there, and when it’s all said and done it will outweigh the pain. It won’t hurt forever, this moment is but a page in the story of your life that will inspire someone else to live again.

There is Purpose in Your Pain

The other day my sister Whitney Woodall said, “He has to break you deeply to use you greatly.” Before I fell asleep last night (actually, early this morning) everything I’ve been through these few months came to mind. As some of you may or may not know I was recently in a relationship. I’d like to preface that do to the sensitivity of the situation at this time, I do not feel it’s appropriate for me to go into detail. I ask that, out of respect, you do not judge the situation or impose your own thoughts or feelings. In all honesty, I do not say this to be rude, you don’t know what happened. Before we finally seperated at the end of July I remember sitting at the bus stop at Columbia Mall and realizing I was broken. I remember it so very clearly. I sat there and I felt this deep void and this overwhelming sense of heartache. I have never felt anything like that in my life. When our break up became final the pain increased tremendously. I have never, in my life, been so hurt. That is until I came home to Georgia on August 8th and my dad moved out, my parents seperation was final. Everything happened so quickly, literally within about a week or two of one another. The next month after my move home was so very hard. I was no longer with the guy who I sincerly loved and I was witnessing, first hand, my family falling apart. The pain was so overwhelming. I cannot tell you how many nights I cried myself to sleep, or how many times in a day I had to excuse myself because I couldn’t keep it together. I kept telling God it was too much. I remember talking to Ericka Porter and telling her how it was all too much. I’m dealing with getting my heart sincerly broken AND my family is just as broken. Why? Why me? I questioned why I couldn’t just get my heart broken or why he and I couldn’t have stayed together and I just be left to deal with my parents divorce. Why ALL at once God? I was told to hold on, that there was purpose but I had to hold on. Last night it became clear. He had to break me deeply so that He may use me greatly. The timing of it all kind of blows my mind. In 38 days I will be leaving to Florida to start school at Southeastern University. I know while there I am going to step into the woman God has called me to be; I know that without a shadow of a doubt. Before He could begin detailing me, He had to break and reform me. God is going to use me greatly, my life is going to change this world. The pain is preperation for my destiny. It all still hurts, I still cry, I’m still very much in love with him, my parents divorce will be final soon and my heart is still very much broken. However, I am so much stronger than I was yesterday. The deep pain I felt at that bus stop has lessened. I’ve taken Him and put Him back where He belongs, as the head of my life. In doing that the void has been filled. No relationship can fulfill your deepest desires, no one but Him can affirm you. Don’t give up, hold on. There is purpose in your pain, trust me. I know it hurts, I know it feels like it’s never going to end, I know you may be tired and weary. I still feel all those same things, luckily I am gently reminded that He’s still in control. How do I know? Well…many others who experienced what I have experienced have turned to alchohol, sex, drugs, given up on love, attempted sucide and many other destructive things. There are so many things I should be, but I’m not and it is by His grace that it is so. What the enemy meant for bad…yoi know the rest. ;) So please, hold on! This won’t last forever, this pain is temporary. You are going to make it and when you come out of this He is going to use you so greatly! In fact He is most likely using you now. Hold on. Remember, He must break you deeply to use you greatly. There is purpose in your pain; press.

After Me

I’ve been thinking about Legacy this morning. What it is I want to leave behind. I don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon, God willing, I have years of living left. At the same time that doesn’t mean I have to wait to make a difference, wait to start “storing up” what I want others to have after I am gone. As much as I want my family (Whatever that consists of when I’m gone) to have everything they need monetarily and material wise when I’m gone, that is not all that important to me. I don’t care about what car or house or furniture I leave behind, nor do I care about how much money I leave in the bank (or under my mattress. Lol!! Jk). What matters to me are the impacts I make and the lives I touch. I want to leave behind a domino effect. I want to touch a life that touches a life that touches a life. I want that to go on FOREVER. I want to leave people with a sense of purpose and knowing they have worth. I want to redifine what the world says love is. I want to leave behind the tools for people to live the life they are called to live. A few years after my passing the money I leave behind will be spent, the house and car may belong to someone else and all the material things won’t really mean much. The impact that I have in someones life will live far beyond those things. That is what I believe the definition of legacy is. In order to have a life that preceeds us after we are gone, we must live beyond ourselves while we are still here.

No Record of Wrong

I was chilling over the weekend and as I was laying there watching Cosby Show something told me to press pause. I pressed pause, layed there and started thinking. 1 Corinthians 13:4 came to mind, “…love does not keep record of wrong…” I was suddenly hit with the realization that this verse is talking about FORGIVENESS. The word Record is defined as a thing constituting a piece of evidence about the part, especially an account of an act or occurence kept in writing or some other permanent form. People you love WILL hurt you, it’s a given. To keep record of how someone has wronged you is continualy bringing up what they did to hurt you, that is not forgiving. By choosing not to forgive them you are holding yourself captive, by constantly bringing up their wrong you are holding them captive. You will NEVER forget how they have wronged you. I DO NOT believe God intends for us to forget anything you’ve been through. Look at it this way, if you forget where you come from, someone won’t get where they need to be; the power of testimony. God is not saying if you remember what they’ve done you don’t love them. I believe He is saying your decision to hold them captive is no way showing love!! I was blown away by this! I hope it helps ya’ll!!

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