amwriting, Inspiration, Uncategorized

Forgiving Ones Self is Harder!

When you have an extensive network, and you know a lot of people, you feel blessed when you can say you have more than five intimate friends. All my life, people have moved me from one house to another, from one city to another, and from one state to another. Networking became second nature.

Last night I learned that a man I’ve known for seven years passed away suddenly. He was a heavy drinker when I knew him, but that increased over time and the profound sadness of losing both his parents ended with the crescendo of Sorosis of the liver and failure of his kidneys. What could have been completely avoidable, ended by taking his life.

The minute I heard, thoughts of how I could’ve reached out flooded my soul. The guilt of not keeping in touch, not cultivating, not even picking up the phone to see if he was okay, because he was such a alpha male, that it never occurred to me he wouldn’t be okay?!

Which brings me to the topic of this discussion. It’s so much easier to forgive others when they offend us, then it is to forgive ourselves for our transgressions. How do you forgive yourself when you know there is something you could have done and yet did nothing? What are the steps that you take to forgive yourself?

Guilt is poison! You can’t hold onto it! It cannot be resolved! It is the toxic chemical that poisons your soul and your mind. Living with guilt is harder than living with pain or sadness because it is all consuming. Releasing that guilt is what is necessary, but when you have the understanding the fault lies with in your actions, how do you get to resolution?

Thoughts?!

Inspiration, The Children

Focus on Your Bigger Picture

Sometimes I think the hardest thing for me is to wrap my head around the bigger picture of raising these three precious children. One barely 14, one barely 12, and the last barely 11.

There are therapy sessions that asked us to complete homework such as listing glad, sad, and mad moments throughout the week. These homework assignments bringing to light new sense of accountability. Not just for the children but also for us adults who take great pride in setting positive role model examples for them. It’s not enough to just get through the day when you were trying to bring joy to children who otherwise have known only sadness.

It’s very easy to get wrapped up in the arguments and the bickering to earn respect between siblings. It’s very easy to be quickly angered and set an immediate consequential tone, but that doesn’t really solve the love problem. Teaching love after such tremendous loss is what God called us to do. That is our journey.

It’s really easy to lose my patience when it seems that there’s a lot of redirection, all lot of teaching and a lot of character development. I couldn’t call myself a real mom if I didn’t believe that I could do the job. There are moments when I have my doubts. More often than not, I whisper to myself, “I got this.” The truth in the matter is that there is no alternative, so the choice is not an option.

As a parent we all have moments that we question our ability or being excepted or if what we do will gain the respect and love of those we care for? We carry guilt and happiness and sadness and go through all the trials and tribulations that our children do. This is just a little reminder that there is the bigger picture and the next time you feel like you just want to grab that bottle of wine and slam it down with some gal pal‘s—Well, maybe that’s exactly what you need to do. After all, every woman needs to fill her cup before she can pour for others.

The Children

Why did God choose me?

Three years ago she asked, “Will you love them like they’re your own?” And I answered, “Of course!”  Did I understand the consequences of my agreement at the time? Probably not!  I believe I just wanted then what I want now, and that is to be part of the proverbial “village” that is needed to raise the kids?

Three years of not being able to hug a parent, or play ball, or talk to them, or shop, or eat dinners, or believe that the security they provide is actually going to last?  These kids came to me broken.  They’re all riddled with the absence of constant attention. Their grades plummeted.  Their behaviors were horrible.  It wasn’t because their mom and dad didn’t love them.  In fact, what really matter is that the base of a good kid is in each one due to the fact that their parent’s adored them!  They’re all just sucking the life out of everything they can, because they each believe that people come into our lives, and then they leave.

In the process of becoming the authority, the responsible adult, the security blanket, poor Aunt Rebecca became the disciplinarian. Yes, and in doing that, I lost my fun Aunt Rebecca title and became, “mean Aunt Rebecca!” I have to tell you that the beginning was not as much fun as I thought it was going to be. In the end, though, this journey is proving to be an incredibly honorable experience. I’m not only learning about them, but the second turn of raising a set of kids is forcing me to learn more of myself.

There’s so much to do.  There’s so much to say.  There’s so many things that I want to teach them.  Much to prepare them for.  I’m up to the challenge. I am.  Sometimes, I fade into the despair of what it must be like to lose both your parents at once.  Sometimes I weep because they didn’t know how absolutely incredibly loved their parents were.

Here’s what I do know. I try every single day to be a better person. To be kind and put the frustrations of my inadequacies behind me.  I don’t show weakness to the children. I show them consistency. I know I am not supposed to be their friend, I am the person who puts them before myself, or anyone or anything. That’s my job.  I don’t take it lightly.  It is my belief that I am profoundly and irrevocably committed to their overall happiness and well being.

I’m no longer complain. I try to do things a little different and let go of my own expectations.  I’m not going to try and reason or understand because it does me no good. I’m not going to spend this year lost in the muck of pain and anger of what has been lost, or what will come when the ultimate loss is paid.  All I can do is push through to the good, the joy of what I see in the community around me. Take stock in the kindness of others and not ask what the angle is. To revel in the fact that I have the skills necessary to do this job and thank the good Lord he saw fit to prepare me for this journey.

I pray every day that I do a job that deserves praise.  I love them. Unconditionally. I may never know why God chose me, but what I do know, is that I thank God every day that he did.  Amen.

Inspiration

Learning How to Forgive Through The Pain

Forgiveness is not for the one who hurt you. Holding on to the hatred and pain toward that person only hurts you. The perpetrator is going about their lives completely unaware of the resentment you are harboring. Even if they know about it, they have already rationalized their behavior and probably learned to forgive themselves. So, the only one holding on to it is you.

Forgiveness is about releasing yourself from the pain of carrying the weight of an emotion that can and will rob you of your future joy.  It’s about learning to let go. It’s about understanding that forgiveness is a gift we give ourself.

I had the people in my life who I thought hurt me and I confronted them.  There’s a saying. When we have conflict we feel our own pain.  When we begin to define a resolution to our pain, we find their truth exists, our truth and somewhere in the middle is what really happened. If you’re a mature problem solver you can meet somewhere in the middle of that to earn some respect for both individuals.  Thats’ when the healing begins.

A friend came up to me and asked, “What if that person isn’t here? What if they died?”  To that I replied this simple phrase, “Forgiveness is about you, not them. They don’t have to be here for that.” That my friends is the simplest truth of the forgiving process.

Find a quiet place.  Take two chairs, and place them facing each other.  Sit in one and convince yourself that the person who hurt you is in the other.  Talk to that person. Shout at that person. Yell until you cannot yell anymore.  Then imagine that person getting up and walking away.  That’s what they have already done. Your closure isn’t important to them. You’re feelings don’t matter. How you remain in the pain is of no consequence.  Now, are you going to let that person have that much control over your life-for the REST of your life? Are you really going to allow someone to hurt you? To continue to cause you pain and harm time and time again? Are you going to allow them to steal your joy?

No! You’re going to then and there, decide to forgive them. You are going to decide that you’re NOT going to allow that person to give you one more days heartache over what they did to you. Deciding to take back your own feelings, your own pain, is a huge courageous step. It means you and you alone are going to be responsible for your emotions going forward. You can no longer “blame” anyone else. There’s no fingers to point.  You’ve made a decision to let it go and what an amazing decision it will be for you!

The shackles will break, the wave of relief will come and the light of your world will begin to appear.  I hope that if you have been harmed by someone, that this course of action will be the first thing that you do today. I would love to know you’re happy.

Everyone sins, just differently. Let’s all remember that. God forgives us when we ask for it. It’s important that we learn this graceful lesson to be forgiven my our Father in Heaven.  Do you think God sits around thinking of all your mistakes? No, he loves unconditionally. Learning to forgive yourself is a whole other blog. 🙂

Reba

Inspiration

Cultivating Fabulous Friendships

When you’re my age it’s a remarkable pleasure to look back on your life to view the milestones.  Thoughts of what I have or have not done parade around my mind as though they own the space in my memories.  The key to unlocking them is by listening or talking to the friends, colleagues, or family who knew you way back when.  Add a little music and it’s as if you’re walking through a video of a past you’ve long forgotten.  If you feel a little self conscious about the memory you have the powerful truth that whatever it is; it’s behind you.  It’s like dancing through time with all the power to turn it on and off.  It’s very addictive to some of us who use that walk in the past to propel our behavior into whatever it is that we think it should be.  Retrospection is a tool i use probably more than most, because I am in a continuous state of trying my absolute best to be good enough to get into heaven.  To be kind enough for people to say nice things about me. To leave enough of a legacy of love that is what people remember when I am gone.

What I have learned however, is that some people; especially family, will always see me as weird, confusing, odd, off balance, untrustworthy, etc. The list goes on and on because sadly, once you make a mistake and you know the same people all these years; they never let you live past it. They never really learn to know the you that you have become.  They only want to remember the you who disappointed them. The you who hurt them. The you who isn’t perfect and that taints the perspective upon which everything you say or do is judged by them.

The good news is that as I have grown I have learned that all people make similar mistakes that I have. I have learned that every friendship has bumps of disappointment.  Some would ask why it has to be that way and the answer is simple.  None of us are perfect and we set all of our expectations unrealistically. When we’re hurt we forget that adjusting those expectations could lead to a happier relationship, but we’d rather just accuse, stand on some made up moral high ground or list our “principals” as the reason for our inability to forgive and move past things.  It’s a sad day when we expect others to be more perfect than we hold our own behaviors to be.

Another thing I have learned is that friendships are a gift. They don’t come easy. Long term friendships seem insurmountable to some. They take reaching out to remind someone how much they mean to you. Doing that and many of the accolades that people require from other people may cause a sense of being vulnerable to many. I believe it’s in this human interest where true love comes from any relationship. Where bonds are truly formed. Where the love lies.  It’s in our ability to feel and see others as fallible where we all reside in the company of each other than lifts or encourages us to be better than even we think we can be.  Thats the bond that separates acquaintances from that inner intimate circle that few get to see.

It’s so worth it to have friendships that take effort. The reason is because when you see each other, there’s a familiarity that is only due to faithful friendships. People who care enough to reach out. That’s just me. I care. It was important to be to write all those Christmas Letters. To reach out with phone calls. To keep in touch and be there through the saddens and the glad.  That has value in my life so I take a great amount of my time and I cause action to let someone know I remember, I admire and I still care.

Today when you’re thinking about that friend that just upsets you so, remember friendships are a gift. There has to be a way to save that relationship. To make it mean more to you.  Every season requires a moment to pass and that should too. Remind yourself that people need someone to lift them up, believe in them and to be their cheerleader. If you begin to do that for people, they in turn, will begin to do that for you.  It comes full circle.

I want to say thank you to the woman in my life and the men who have impacted me in profound ways. Either positive or negative means very little because at one point you had direct meaning in my life.  I am honored you call me a friend and blessed to have you in my life even if our friendship hasn’t lasted as long as we wished or is as strong as it could be.  I cherish friendships. You are important to me. I’m thankful to know you.

Inspiration

Empowering Women to Love

Often I am reminded of even my own sinned thoughts and actions. The other day a woman with an ill-behaved child was near me and I found myself rolling my eyes thankful that I raised my kids where a firmer understanding created that necessary fear that made my kids behave. Then I thought about it. I am what I tell other women not to be … A judger. Not only that but a … condemner.

I feel that women should take the world “Judgement” out of their vocabulary! Frankly it’s for men to do not us. We have a right to formulate an opinion about something and then it is our DUTY to encourage each other to change our perspective to “LOVE” rather than hate and HELP the woman out. Judgement = Opinion… so let’s use the right word.

Condemning is when you elevate your worth over someone else. That’s what I did. Yep, that was me. It’s not okay. I should have walked over to the overstressed and frazzled mom and offered help. This is my area of expertise. Merely by acting I could be teaching the woman who obviously doesn’t possess those talents. Maybe she’s an awesome lawyer, or housekeeper, or she loves everyone unconditionally? I will never know because I never offered to help. Not once, didn’t even think about it.

I wonder, how many times does Jesus ask us to love our fellow man? How many people has he put in front of us and wanted us to make them feel connected, wanted, appreciated, cared for? How many times have WE DENIED HIM because of our own hatred, condemnation, selfishness, need for elevation…?? Pretty scary when you think about it that way isn’t it?

Today I encourage you to pause. STOP for a brief minute and actually listen to someone who might need you to lift them up! If we can encourage one woman, to encourage another woman, and lift each other up, then we can create love that will affect every home in America. It starts with you today. What will YOU choose? Love? Doing what Jesus asks or going your own way? It’s always up to you. God Bless!

Inspiration, Opinion

A mother’s plea-leave mine alone!

There’s no kind of heartache that can match what happens when you see your child or someone you love about to hit head on into something that is going to end badly. Whether it’s drugs, or friends, or choices or mates; it hurts to watch them grow through some pretty painful human things that young people go through.

You want so badly to shout, “STOP” but they won’t. You want to define the hurt, to identify it for them and give them a path to either get through it, or avoid it altogether. That doesn’t work. The only thing you’re left with is an undeniable sense of powerlessness.

There’s no advice, no words, no wisdom, no mercy that will be accepted or even considered. They will undeniably come to education or experience all on their own without your incredibly unwanted help.

For all those people who would come into my life, I want to scream at you, “Knock it off!” Stop the drama, the conflict, the chaos, the manipulation, the games, the toil and the turmoil and just leave me and mine without you. Just go away. Just take whatever that makes you feel good when you do evil things and move on down the road. Just be done with us.

Some say that people (even I do) are both good and evil. That people are basically great and they do bad things, but what about those people who wake and think negative. They always have an angle, they’re always looking for someone to control, to overpower, to use, to manipulate for their bidding? What bout those broken people? Are they the ones you need to throw out of your life?

I have learned in my long life that people do change. They are capable and that I myself have been what I call a manipulating person. I certainly don’t even think I could do that today if I wanted to but I can recall a far away youth that presented those opportunities that sadly I took advantage of. I hear my hypocrisy on the issue, but to my credit; although admitted, decided one day to take a change… and switch. Deny what was and move into a more thankful being. Because I got the help I needed. I truly believe when they do too, the end result will be either loving and generosity or unforgiveness and bitterness. It will be there choice.

The thing with time is it takes time for this butterfly effect to happen. In the meantime, my children will be in harms way and potentially broken. As the doctor’s say, you cannot fix broken people by loving them more. They have to want to be fixed. They have to want that They have to want that. Yes, I am repeating myself. The people I’ve met don’t even think they have a problem. I find that so heartbreaking…

Inspiration

It is Tough to be in Pain

Sometimes I forget that life can truly be painful when it’s not so much for me. Pain is a relevant thing in my life… that being said, it isn’t a constant but I have had tremendous burden of it throughout my whole life. So, for someone such as me to admit that I am one of those ‘take a pill and get over it’ individuals it is not because I haven’t walked a mile in your shoes, it is because I am not currently walking in them. Speaking to you about your woes pulls me back into my own and like a crab trying to get out of the water while other’s pull them down, I run the opposite direction. Shame on me.

There is a moment when we realize maybe someone could feel less wounded if we took a minute not only to share our burden but to life someone else’s above our own. The loss of a child, a man, a job, may seem merely an obstacle for some while for other’s it may be their biggest burden. The measure of main is indescribably difficult from person to person and it shouldn’t be up to those of use who have endured to sit in judgement of what that actual affliction should be.

It is with powerful reverence that I can even utter this retrospective conclusion given that my admission to the offense is certainly evident, however, I will pause to give a forlorn gaze upon you as I whisper, “You are not alone. I am ready to hear.”

There are moments when people want to know that their worries are held in high regard. The one denominating characteristic is that they want to be valued. How dare I not give credence to that basic acceptance we all feel?

I do value yours as you have mine. I do see you for what you in see me. I hate the things in you that I hate about the things I see in me. I am you, further, distant, different having past through the torment you currently suffer. I am hope, and light, and forgiveness and you in the infinite wisdom of time healing all wounds will be resolute in the completeness of knowing that you too will one day erect from whatever feeds your life a living hell right now, much more victorious than I should have ever or ever will be. For you have the benefit of acknowledgement and affirmation and that my friend is the first step to the momentous climbing out of the depths of despair you find yourself in.

You are worthy, admirable, and possess great strength and courage. All things are possible through these actions. I do have faith in you. You should too.

To learn more about me, check out http://www.RebeccaNietert.com or catch me on one of my social sites through twitter: @RebeccaANietert or Facebook: BexNietert

Inspiration

Reflecting on Greatest Treasures!

To think about one’s own challenges and the misery that comes from those obstacles is what each of us does especially when it surrounds us. When the emotions engulf us to the point that we cannot see the blessings and only the sadness it’s very difficult to allow ourselves the luxury of our experience; which is to know that this moment whatever that situation is; really doesn’t last that long. It’s a little blimp in the big scope of the grander scale. God’s timing.

When I was younger I saw a lot of horrible things. I lived through losing people I loved and when I got older it stopped for a while, but now I am at that age where my friends get sick, some die early, and others lose their zest for life all-together. I’ve been at that place where it’s easier to give up than it is to push forward moving ever slowly to a more peaceful life. Eventually we all end up peacefully, at rest.

This next year will mark a half of a century for me. I wonder if my contribution to this world and to all those whom I have loved dearly along my journey is enough to sustain their joy when they think about the time they’ve spent with me. Is what I have said enough? Have my actions shown how much I love them for exactly who they are? How has my behavior impacted their life? Will they know that our relationship has meant an untellable fortune to me? I can only pray it is so.

I went through one of the hardest times of my life with a woman who is very special to me. We were in a seminar and I was profoundly wounded unjustly by someone I’d known almost a decade. This woman sat by my side while I cried my tears. She encouraged me to move through the grief and pain and into a solid state of acceptance. She held me in her arms as I sobbed through my heartache. She took me to dinners afterwards, and talked for hours on the phone. She was my rock, my mountain and certainly God’s grace in carrying me through my journey. I will forever be more than grateful because she taught me what true love really is. What a treasured friendship is really all about. What grace someone can show you even when they don’t truly know you all that well. I love you, Leanna…my sister, my friend, my confidant, my teacher and with my whole heart pray that you know this.

During that time there were several women who formed my newest belief’s and helped me become responsible for my behavior and for my actions. Some helped me through identifying that which I did not want for my life and others for an attitude that I wanted. Of all the women I have met in my lifetime there has been no other graceful mentor like Mary. Not only are you my greatest confidant as well, and one of the greatest loves of my life, but someone I admire tremendously. You make me want to get closer to God, because your example is powerful. You make me want to be a better person, to be involved, to emulate a finer attitude and your force me to see my own immaturity and be responsible for that. It’s an effortless teaching not through condemnation or verbal affirmation but my example, and to me; there is no better teacher. You are truly loved and monumentally appreciated.

Taryn, Nancy, Misty, Donna, and the Road’s gang. When I think of you, I do so fondly. There’s been moments we disagreed and when we butted heads on our opposing views. Maybe there’s been talk or clarifications or even suppositions. I wouldn’t have it any other way. We’re all strong Christian sisters with our own beliefs and standards and how awesome is it that we can share a space in time when it’s just about the love we have and the appreciation for all the differences that set us apart. God, I know truly works in us all and have showed me each of your strengths, and gifts. I truly feel blessed to know you, and I am profoundly blessed that we’re still connected.

Dawn was there for me, and mentored my marriage. I cannot tell you how broken I was from the hateful and hurtful lies I’d been fed all those years. The affirmations from people who I thought were above reproach only to learn that Satan had a hold on those who I treasured and used them to create more doubt and fear in me. Once I chose a different path Dawn picked me back up. Dawn’s approach wasn’t easy. She wasn’t nice or even soft about putting me in my place. Her words of truth were like a burning sword through my flesh. She poked and prodded until I withdrew in so much pain it hurt just to breathe. She called me on my lies time and time again until I had nowhere to hide. At that point I knew that God had sent her to me. He needed me to see the real truth and not some fairytale perception I had created to make myself feel better. I’ve been living that truth since. Sometimes it offends people…sometimes people perceive that I am sad because I see so much truth, but the reality of it is that I’m still innocent. I still laugh, and I still know how to have a great time, and I still say and do stupid immature silly things because to me; keeping my childhood innocence is the second greatest gift God gave me. The first, of course, is my children.

We all came to forgiveness in roughly one day after suffering through ripping the strategically placed Band-Aids over the worst moments of our lives. We danced and I can remember going to the quiet place under the benches and looking at the rest of them laughing. Free to feel joy and laugh and each of us not only knowing but having a profound presence of God in our hearts. We became sisters. We became life-long friends. We became part of each other. That kind of understanding only comes from sharing that experience…and I am absolutely profoundly blessed to have gone through that with these amazing people. I remember all of them…the ones in my group and those who touched my life and didn’t even know it. I will always remember you.

God is always in my life… he never leaves. He is ever present, waiting for me to bring my gifts so that he can use them to meet the goals of every man. To see us all in heaven with him, beside our father and Jesus and to journey through eternity in a peaceful loving embrace. Why I don’t look up first bothers me often, but the worldly injustice bothers me so much more. I hate that my friends suffer, and that there is little that I can do to carry those burdens. Moreover I fail at letting the world know that my questions and my expectations do not arise from a self-motivated course, but merely a devoted love of my fellow man and the disappointment that I feel from others and even my own selfish actions.

I could cry today because my journey is for another to lean. I am strong, and courageous, and forthright, and tenacious and I do not need. I pray this day for you, and for those who you love that you might find joy today. That you might find happiness, and that those people whom you adore will in turn let you know how very loved that you are. I miss my friendships, I miss my loving caring sisters. I can only hope that I remember that while I cannot be with you, I can pray that He is…

To that end…I leave you with one of my favorite songs from the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Disney take it away…..

Esmeralda
I don’t know if You can hear me
Or if You’re even there
I don’t know if You would listen
To a gypsy’s prayer
Yes, I know I’m just an outcast
I shouldn’t speak to you
Still I see Your face and wonder
Were You once an outcast too?

God help the outcasts
Hungry from birth
Show them the mercy
They don’t find on earth
God help my people
We look to You still
God help the outcasts
Or nobody will

Parishioners
I ask for wealth
I ask for fame
I ask for glory to shine on my name
I ask for love I can possess
I ask for God and His angels to bless me

Esmeralda
I ask for nothing
I can get by
But I know so many
Less lucky than I
Please help my people
The poor and downtrodden
I thought we all were
The children of God
God help the outcasts
Children of God

Inspiration

Treasured Moments

There is nothing in the world quite like a moment when you realize that you’re happy. Happiness is not a constant feeling, and for most this illusive emotion evades from daily life. I think that in the movie, “Yours, Mine and Ours” after Lucille Ball desperately tries to explain to her daughter the fundamentals of joy but fails miserably; Henry Fonda picks up the dialog by explaining that great moments arrive from putting the effort of all the drudgery and the boring is what leads to the big events! In other words, quantity no matter how mundane brings quality! You cannot have one without the other.

So imagine my surprise when I am sitting with incredible women and I realize I’m smiling! And I think “wow it’s been a long time since that’s happened!” a genuine real happy joyful smile!

What’s even better is that they were smiling and we were sharing openly and honestly and real and laughing until we couldn’t stand it anymore. Each of us had issues and extreme stories to share and opinions and comments… It was human compassion in motion! A connection stronger than time and distance full of passion and empathy and we were all there wishing that happy moments could just last a whole lot longer!

We worked together in one of the worst jobs that I have ever had! Not because of the work but because of the dictator suppression of a power motivated woman who I believe if possible would actually blow fire up someone’s butt to get them to do her bidding! We came out close friends and none of us work there anymore. The strife gave us the blessing of forming a unity against the unjust but it’s not anything we dwell on anymore. It was the basic foundation of friendship that’s been tested over time and matured into life long confidential bonding that all women wish they had! I honestly regard myself blessed!

Today you’re going to have to finish the audit paperwork and financial matters and clean the house, make the dinner, and tend to the animals, but stop right now and schedule that spa or dinner with the gals! 1. Because you sure as hell deserve it and 2. Because believe it or not it’s been too long between your ultimate moments of “happy!”

I highly recommend time to fill up your cup be because when you do…it runneth over!