Wednesday, June 27, 2012

One Olive Branch At A Time

Good Morning cold world!! Speaking of... there was a bit of chill in the air this morning, lol! But anyways, Happy Wednesday! Hope everyone is enjoying the work week, only a few more days to the weekend AGAIN! I don't think I have any real plans, but how can we not love the weekend? Are you with me? :)
So... I was going to write something yesterday, I've been thinking on this for awhile and I even spoke on it a week or so ago giving someone my opinion. But idk what keeps happening, for some reason the blog never gets written. Then last night, while I wasn't sleeping my mind just wouldnt leave this thought alone. So apparently God is tryna tell me something (write that blog Tamika!), because there is no good explanation for why my mind was even writing this blog in my non sleep last night. SO here goes: Lord guide my thoughts! Amen!

I have seen many a FB status posts, tweets and even words from friends on how they no longer need to be around certain people, how folk aren't... *scrolls Twitter TL cause I seen it again this morning* (God reminding me to get on this blog!) *found it*
"I can't dwell in mediocrity...I will continue to replace mediocre, complacent ppl with ppl on the move & other like minded individuals"
*found another* "Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or make you happy; bottom line-----LOVE YOU FIRST!"

and they go on and on... how someone is no longer serving a purpose in your life, so to the back seat they go! Or even sometimes, it isn't so cruel... it's more like. "They did something to offend me, and I forgive them but I just don't want them in my life anymore. I'm over them!"

Some of you are looking at me like "what's the problem? lol This all makes sense, right? You sometimes grow out of people, or they are more harmful to my life than helpful. I have a right to discard these kinda people from my life, right?" Wrong! I suppose if you are a non-Christian than all this would make sense. And you could so easily just discard a child of God. But if you are a Christian, then maybe you should consider this:

God purposed them into your life for a reason and likewise you into theirs. Life is not about who is serving you, growing you or making you happy. Our lives should be lived to glorify God, not self and no where in the Bible do I see where God tells us to leave people, who aren't on our level, by the wayside. Jesus was not walking around, hanging out with people that were like him, the religious leaders or the richest, most popular people. Jesus hung out with the sinners, the poor, the tax collectors, the sick. He lived His life to serve others, so what someone isn't contributing anything to your life! Consider what you are contributing to theirs. Consider why God placed you into their life. Maybe He needs you to be an example of love and grace to them, help grow them up. I am not saying stay with the boyfriend that is abusing you or be best friends and go out clubbing with the neighborhood harlot... "Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals." I am simply saying don't be so quick to discard people from your life because of what they do/don't can/can't do for you. Life shouldn't be so self serving. "Love you first!" should never be the motto. Instead replace it with "Love God first!" and in doing that God wants us to love as He loves. And how can we do that if we are discarding friendships and tossing people away because they aren't contributing to our lives? Because that's what God does to us? Hardly! Our grace and mercy should extend to others, just as His does to us. Yes, people are going to offend us. Yes, some aren't living up to our standards and don't motivate us. Yes, some others are more easy to forget and discard and we would be able to go on just fine without then. But have we considered how God wants us to handle these relationships? Have we considered that we may be the light God wants to use to deliver them from whatever is keeping them off your level? Maybe we aren't that light, but what if God were so easy to discard us? We are walking perfections, huh? And we are living up to every desire God has for us, yes? We are fulfilling exactly the purpose God created us for and He is pleased with our every action? Hardly! We disappoint God daily, yet He still loves us, communes with us, leads us, cares for us, protects us... thank you Lord for your grace and mercy!
I've had to reconsider a few of my choices to discard people... *insert specific personal story here*
It is no secret how I feel about my dad. I think he could've done better as a parent, I wish he had been more present, I wish he had not allowed his life's issues to directly affect me, I wish he'd been a better source of guidance, protection, knowledge, love, discipline, structure... pretty much he sucked as a parent. I wish he was, to this day, less selfish. Every occasion with him used to feel detrimental for me, I couldn't trust him, I didn't feel safe (not from any physical harm, more of a emotional, mental anguish). He is toxic to be around, and I decided that it just wasn't worth it. Why was I subjecting myself to this? He needed to be on "hi and bye" status. Sounds fair, right? Or so I thought! I was moving forward in my life, happily without him. I was in a happy, healthy relationship, my daughter was growing up beautifully, I was getting married, he was a last thought with no harm to me. I was happy. And I don't doubt this happiness for a second. It wasn't some faux, contrived happiness. My emotions were safe, my life was progressing. But God was not pleased and how could I remain happy in that? It all sounded fine that I should be able to go on without him and live my now happy and healed life, he was only keeping me in a place of hurt. But God created us for relationships, God gave me that particular dad, God knew the father he would be and still it is the one He gave me, God knew how I would be affected and He knew how I would turn out, still God gave that father to me. So I believe God expects me to have relationship with him. "Honor your Father and Mother." I don't believe leaving my father out of my life would be considered honor, huh? I had to be mature, learn some patience and choose to love, respect and accept the father God gave me. He was shocked to even get a invite to my wedding! (yes, it was that deep). I am sure he was just as shocked when I got up and initiated Father/Daughter dance with him. (I had previously told the coordinator I wanted no parts in it). I am sure he was just as shocked when he got invitations to 2 functions at my house. I had to set aside how I felt about him and do what I knew God wanted me to do. I see the joy it is bringing my dad, I see the appreciation that he feels in being included in my life, I am glad I can show him love inspite of and I welcome the growth it will bring to our relationship. More than anything, I am thankful for the opporunity to be obedient to what God wants me to do. It is not easy, but I trust it will become easier. I am glad to be a blessing to his life in the process of my obedience. Someone will be blessed and that makes my heart glad.
I know some of you are thinking, a dad is a much more obvious relationship to try and salvage. We know how God already feels about honoring our parents. How can we be so sure about our other friendships? I guess that would require some prayer, but I know God hopes for all relatonships to be reconciled and grow. Those people who we discarded just because they were annoying, or had bad attitudes but their actions weren't directly harmful to us, God wants those restored. I have been extending the olive branch all over the place. What's the harm? What could go wrong? What could happen? I make someone's day by being nice, by forgiving? I bless someone's life by being kind and letting them know my door is open to them? Sounds like a plan to me! Maybe my good deed will encourage someone else's good deed and the world will become a better place one olive branch at a time. :)

A girl can dream! That's my peace!

Love, Tam

Thursday, June 14, 2012

God's Plan, His Peace

I don't even know where to start.... Hi! Once again, I'm sorry it's been so long. Life... (you know!) Ramon used to say that :( Whenever you asked him a question he didn't want to answer, "you know" was his response :)
The last couple of weeks have been Kingda Ka (the world's biggest roller coaster)! I had the absolute, most wonderful day in life on June 3rd, becoming Mrs. Tamika Brawner. It really was the most beautiful day, with the most beautiful weather, with the most wonderful people feeling like the most beautiful girl marrying the most wonderful man... imagine all that in one day! AMAZING! I am so happy, I can't even explain it. I already feel the blessings flowing having sealed our relationship in marriage. God is good and to Him be all the glory! Being Mrs. Brawner feels good... AMEN! :) And there I was living my marital bliss for a solid week when I found out a dear friend of mine had passed...

I am going to cry and vent here because I have had to be strong every other moment. I cant let Ikaia see my every hurt as I'm telling her to be strong. I allow her to feel what she feels, but I don't need her feeling for me too. Ramon Ingram was my high school sweetheart and best friend. We were young and we made mistakes but we were and always remained friends. There is so much history in that relationship, so much growth and learning, so much laughter, some tears. But our friendship survived alot. Having to tell Ikaia that the dad she knew and loved passed away had to be the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. Even now, I cry just thinking about all she's had to deal with in life and all she'll have to face. I thank God for his constant, never failing cover over her. I thank Him that she is still sane, smart and beautiful. I thank Him that despite all she has had to live through, she is still amazing and strong. I thank God she still smiles, she still feels and she still has a slither of innocence. I thank Him for protecting her from things I could not protect her from. I know He is preparing her for a life of greatness! There is nothing she will not be able to handle. I thank Him for giving me the strength to be her mom, and I pray I make better decisions to guide her future. Lord, help me raise her in Your will for her. I can not do this alone.

More than anything, I thank God for his timing. I thank Him for J. I know there is no replacing Ramon in her life. But I thank God for Jerry who is there and willing to fill the void for her. God's ways are not our ways, His plans may seem foreign to us, His timing confusing... But He is still in control, He still sits high and looks down low. He knows the plans He Has for us. “plans to prosper (her) and not to harm (her), plans to give (her) hope and a future." And as I think about how unfair it all feels, and how much it hurts and how sad I am, not only for the loss of someone I loved so much, but for the sake of Kai... I am still trusting God. I made a deliberate, out loud promise to God 3 or so years ago, that I was going to trust Him no matter what. I trusted him to deliver me from an abusive relationship, I trusted him to give me peace after a miscarriage, and I am going to trust him to heal this situation. No matter the situation, He has always been the provider of peace in my life. He has never failed me and I trust He will do the same now. I do not expect the pain to go away right away, but I thank Him for the moments when it passes. I thank Him that I can sit and still laugh with J and Kirk (someone called me the other day, thinking I had not heard about Ramon because I answered the phone laughing hard!) That moment will help me remember that God still gives me peace and laughter even in times like this. I thank God for those moments! I thank God for the memories, I thank God for Kai and I thank God for Ramon. He was an amazing friend, full of jokes and laughter. And that is what I will choose to remember. R.I.P. Ramon Ingram!

I will continue to remember him, and hopefully soon I will be to a place where the memories encourage laughter instead of tears. And I will continue to pray for my sweet daughter and her healing. And I hope that we will be in your prayers as well.
I am working on always trying to find the good in situations and learning to be grateful. Remember God is still in control! I thank God that no matter what His plans are, He still offers His peace to go along with it. :)

"Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." I am praying for every one's peace in this situation. Hopefully by offering you a little of mine, it will help you tap into your own.

Here is the Peace of Tam... take as much as you need!

Love, Much Peace and a Big Hug to all that knew and loved him, Tam