Friday, June 15, 2018

Unforgettable: That's What He Is


© 2018 Chantelle Henderson
Well, I just forgot Father’s Day is this Sunday. After I got through with my Target Meltdown a couple weeks ago I thought I was okay. I’m going down my feed today and see pictures of girls with their dads and while it touched my heart, made me smile, and gave me joy, it was also a stern reminder that my own Daddy is not here with me. Right now I’m so full of grief I can’t stand it. Why isn’t he here? Why can’t I touch him, hug him, give him butterfly kisses, and sit with him in deep conversation? I know life isn’t fair (whatever that means) but it can be outright cruel at times. That’s my dad up there, not here. Long before I had a husband and two boys, I had a Daddy. He was the first and only man in my life until I became a wife and mother. He was not perfect, but I could not have asked for better. It hurts. It is an ocean of grief (AGAIN) and I feel like I’m beginning to drown just when I found my footing once more. I know I sound selfish right now, because I am. I want him HERE. The loss of a father, especially one like mine, is a weight unlike any other I’ve ever experienced. THIS is when I am walking through the valley of the shadow of death-a literal death, but yet and still I will fear not for He, our Heavenly Papa, is with me

I trust You, God-right here in the brokenness of heart and a wounded spirit. I know You will keep Your promise that You are close to me. In my DENIAL, You have given me grace and mercy. In my ANGER, You have quieted my soul and steadied my heart. In my BARGAINING, You have reassured me that You are more than enough. In my DEPRESSION You have comforted me and hold each tear I cry in a bottle. And in my ACCEPTANCE, You have given me peace that passes all natural understanding. Lord, thank you for being so gracious to loan Daddy to us on this side of eternity for 71 years, 3 months, and 22 days. I have to admit that “I’m just jealous of the angels around the throne tonight.” as the song goes. R.I.H. Daddy.











Friday, June 8, 2018

Reflection: Blooming In Reverse

© 2018 Chantelle Henderson

***I do not have the artist's name to credit the last photo in this blog.  If you know, please let me know so I can give credit to the wonderful artist.***

This afternoon I set out to journal but as I started to write I reflected with such a heavy weight all that has happened from childhood until now. Something propelled me to look at what my younger self would say to my older self. It’s usually the opposite; what my older self would say to my younger self, but not today. l was blessed with a princess-like upbringing as a little girl. We lived in a cul-de-sac with only 7 or 8 other houses. There were a bunch of us kids, all in the same ages and stages of life. As I continued putting pen to paper the little girl in me had several things to say to the grown woman I have evolved into (and still evolving). Our school days were not made of video games (except Atari), the internet, facebook, and other social media. We had no cell phones, and texting. I never remember my parents pulling their hair out trying to go to here and there to keep up with an impossible pace to do things that don’t matter. If they did they hid it very well. They were very present and involved in what we did. It was a much easier, and dare I say, a much slower era and uncomplicated time back then as far as us kids were concerned? I had amazing parents, incredible friends, and so many memories of exactly what childhood should be like. 


As kids, our life brimmed over with kick the can, red light-green light, kickball, baseball, mother may I, The Walton’s, The Lawrence Welk Show (which my parents made us watch), Little House On The Prairie, and The Brady Bunch. Now we have a whole reality show franchise based on Real Housewives of any given city and none of them are even married. Those shows now allow the use of GD 20 times in their 60 minute piece of broadcasting pie. We have commercials that sexualize something as simple as a candy bar. New movies in the theater back then were so exciting! We only had Star Wars or Super Man to choose from, not 50 Shades Of Grey or The Purge. The nearly extinct rated G meant G, not bordering on PG or even PG-13. And let’s not forget NC-17 which is another way of saying soft porn.

By the time I was finished writing, it was not lost on me that the days of my bopping around in pretty dresses, shiny shoes, ruffled socks, and long pigtails are long gone. My younger self challenged me to remember that I get to choose. I get to choose what movies and TV shows I watch, what books I read, what music I listen to, and how long I spend on social media. No one is forcing me to do any of it. It’s my free will that allows me to make those choices. The little girl in me thought her dad would be here forever, that she could always glance from the 2nd story window and watch her daddy do yard work on a hot summer’s day. She assumed her mama would curl her thick and unmanageable hair and take her make-up and clothes shopping her whole life. But as I grew older so did my daddy who passed away less than 2 years ago, and my mama has aged so beautifully and gracefully with a stunning smile and fine silver hair. 

There’s no official sabbatical announcement or declaration of no TV or social media this time. Just taking it day by day.


There is certainly a balance to be discovered and I have to find it. In the past I have lived a Iife free of cliutter, mess, and having too many appointments on the calendar that were of no eternal consequence. I do know that the most joyful and most fulfilling soul rest seasons throughout my life, both mentally and spiritually, were always and continue to be the direct result of surrendersing my will in exchange for His, on my knees in prayer, seeking His face and reading Heavenly Papa’s love letters to me (the Bible). The fruit of a surrendered life is steadiness of heart, quietness of soul, rest, peace, and taking life at a much slower pace. I have just enough wisdom to know that living life ONE. DAY. AT. A. TIME. is the beginning of the journey back to a child like faith. I am grateful that today the innocent child in me took time to remind the broken, hurt, fragile, and tired older me that I might need to adjust my DVR to reflect less “reality” and more game shows and documentaries. I’m not going to try and save the world by telling people I hardly know they can call me 24/7, and I will most definitely stop rushing to answer the phone when it rings. I will not immediately look at text messages when that familiar ding interrupts the quiet environment I’m creating or at the very least, trying to. I am, in fact, going to start utilizing the silent, do not disturb, and airplane mode features. I don’t have to check social media everyday; it’s not going anywhere if I do go off the grid whether it’s for a day, a month, or even a year. I’m pretty sure I’ll survive.

It all begins and ends with surrender. Once you’ve told Him, “Have Your way,”, He will guide, lead, and direct your path. Trust Him just as much during the storms as you would in the stillness of life. Close your eyes and envision a time that peace flooded your soul. It may be from childhood or from yesterday. It doesn’t matter. Whatever that thing or those things are, do more of it-a lot more. And if you don’t remember a time, ask the Lord to remind you of one. Life is too fleeting and short in light of eternity. Don’t spend another day doing things that don’t matter, that don’t add value to your quality of life, or are unhealthy for you spiritually, emotionally, financially, physically, or socially. He wants you free from all that’s holding you back. Give it a chance. Give HIM a chance. That’s coming from my 9 year old self (when I accepted the Lord as my Savior) and it’s coming from my 47 year old self. What have you got to lose, or better yet, think of all there is to gain.

Psalm 39:3-5
“My heart burned with a fire within me, and my thoughts eventually boiled over until they finally came rolling out of my mouth. “Lord, help me to know how fleeting my time on earth is. Help me to know how limited is my life and that I’m only here but for a moment more. What a brief time you’ve given me to live! Compared to you my lifetime is nothing at all! Nothing more than a puff of air, I’m gone so swiftly. So too are the grandest of men; they are nothing but a fleeting shadow!” Pause in his presence.”

Matthew 6:34

“Refuse to worry about tomorrow, but deal with each challenge that comes your way, one day at a time. Tomorrow will take care of itself.”





Sunday, May 20, 2018

Stupid Target! (Not What You Think)


© 2018 Chantelle Henderson

So yeah.  I was in Target, a.k.a. Purgatory, when I was browsing the isle headed to the register.  I look to my left and right there in big, bold letters was, “FATHER’S DAY JUNE 17TH”.  I quickly went to the next isle over because I remembered that I wanted to get my mom a “just because” card.  As I round the corner the entire damn end cap was filled with Father’s Day gifts and trinkets.  That’s where I saw this desk name plaque.  I began sobbing at the sight of it all.  Memories flooded my heart before I could catch my breath.  I just stood there crying and staring at this stupid plaque and then I felt foolish as I told myself to pull it together and put my big girl granny panties on.  The next thing I know Ry came around the corner and saw me.  He didn’t even ask what was wrong because he saw all the products yelling, “DAD!”.  He just stood there, hugged me tightly, let me cry, and got some tissues out of my purse and told me he was sorry.  He also noticed that I wasn’t staring at anything but this name plate.  “Get it.”, he says.  “What?  You don’t think it’s stupid?  I mean I can envision it on my desk with a picture of Daddy right behind it.”, I replied.  So, standing there, a blubbering idiot, I grabbed the plaque and placed it in the cart.  Then something strange happened.  My heart still felt like a boulder was wrapped around it.  I couldn’t figure out why until the notification popped up accompanied by a loud ding.  “20 DAD BIRTHDAY TOMORROW “.  (As in his birthday is tomorrow, Sunday, May 20).  I didn’t know if I was supposed to laugh or cry in that moment to be honest.  Turns out that the pop up popping up demanded more tears and more releasing the pain in the stupid Target isle!  I came completely unglued. 

I really miss him.  Never imagined life without him.  Everywhere I look I see him, his smile, hear his voice and laughter.  I keep thinking 1 year and 6 months I’d be further along on this grief journey, but in the depths of my soul I know I will be on this journey for as long as he is no longer existing with me on this side of eternity and until I see him again.  The bottom line is that I cannot, nor do I want to stop grieving.  It’s the price I pay for having an amazing Daddy.  It’s the price I pay for the love shared between us.  It’s the price I pay for every memory of being sheltered and protected fiercely by a man of honor, integrity, grace, acceptance, humility, and unimaginable love. 

He was not a perfect man.  But like us all, he was a sinner saved by grace.  His life was no different than the next person.  He had his thorn in the flesh.  But dad also lived in the ocean of God’s amazing grace.  He, Papa God, promises us in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 

In closing, with tears welling up in my eyes, but thanksgiving on my lips I am encouraged in the knowledge that for those of us who grieve there is no pressure to “get it right” because there is no wrong or right when grief presents itself. 
Sometimes the grief is a raging storm that makes us feel tossed to and fro and at other times it is standing on the beach with toes in the sand, eyes closed, and head lifted up while the breeze blows your hair gently in the wind.  Just like seasons, times, and the weather we don’t have a say.  God doesn’t consult us or seek permission when the sun is supposed to be shining and 79° with a 0% chance of rain and what occurs is actually an unforeseen hail storm with a record setting low temperature for that particular day.  You were prepared for the sun-filled, zero rain, let’s-go-to-the-park kinda day but instead you’re standing in the aftermath of a horrible tornado that left irreversible damage.  So, on the days you feel stupid or inadequate or not strong because you are engulfed in grief, remember that no matter how much hope you put in the possibility of a sunny day, when a storm happens instead it is still beyond your control and all you can do is ride it out.  No matter what, may we feel blessed in spite of our grief.  Why?  Because for many people they had no dad.  They don’t have someone to miss. They don’t get the, “BEST. DAD. EVER.” plaque.  Yours’s may be BEST MOM EVER, BEST SISTER EVER, BEST CHILD EVER, BEST SURVIVOR EVER.  You get the picture.  We are blessed because we had something or someone to have grieved with the same measure to which we loved. 

By the way, I started writing this last night.  It’s officially daddy’s Birthday, May 20th.  Happy 2nd Birthday in Heaven.  I endlessly love you to infinity and beyond.



Wednesday, May 9, 2018

He Continues To Leave The 99

Chantelle Henderson ©2018

Main Church Building
Matthew 18:12

"What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying?

Inside these buildings I grew up in middle and high school. Oh, if these walls could talk. They would tell you that it is where I was developed in the faith. It is a small southern Baptist Church in Snellville, Georgia. Many a trip were taken that started from its parking lot in the church’s van. In the summers it was for our week long Centrifuge Youth camps. In the winter, it was ski trips to Gatlinburg, TN. I cannot keep track of how many conversations took place on the stairs as a confused and often wounded, hurt, and broken teen. No one knew my greatest secret. While being sexually abused it was the only place of comfort, healing, and protection. It was also a tremendous source of joy, laughter, and discovering who I am in Christ. I could barely wait for Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. 
Youth Building

Now, it is doing the same thing as an adult, the woman who was molded and shaped from the young teenage girl in these buildings, is rediscovering with a new sense of renewal and hope, that inside the walls of these two buildings made of brick and mortar, there is an agent of healing, restoration, and joy. Every week I am here I still can’t help but to believe that the Lord knew that I would need it just as desperately now as I did back then. This is what I call Heavenly Papa blowing me kisses. He knew what it would take for me to walk on the road He has set before me. 

Stairway In The Youth Building
There's a Christian song out right now that's called Reckless Love and the lyrics go something like this:

"There's no shadow You won't light up
Mountain You won't climb up
Coming after me,
There's no wall You won't kick down
Lie You won't tear down
Coming after me,
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, 
reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights 'til I'm found, leaves the ninety-nine,
And I couldn't earn it, 
I don't deserve it, 
Still, You give Yourself away,
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, 
reckless love of God"

Many, many, many, too many to count throughout my life, he has left the 99 to come after me.  Nothing- mistakes made unintentionally and intentionally, deliberate sin, rebellion, disobedience, I mean NOTHING could ever separate me from The Father's love.  And nothing can ever separate you from His love either.  Romans 8:38-39 assures us that we are forever bound to the heart of our Heavenly Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  “I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.  No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Thank You Papa for the sweet details that we often overlook in the busyness and distractions of life. Thank You for reminding me that You will do whatever it takes. Thank You for leaving the 99 to come after one.....me.  I found my baptism certificate a couple days ago and thought I'd share it below.  Oh the memories.......







Tuesday, April 3, 2018

He Chose Us


In the garden of Gethsemane, He could have called on The Father, and He would have provided Jesus with more than 12 legions of angels“Do you think that I cannot call on my Father, and he will provide me here and now with more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:51)
He chose us.  
He said to His disciples “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me."  (Matthew 26:38).  He went back to check on the disciples and found them all sleeping; 3 times to be exact.  At one point when he found them sleeping, He said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour?”  (Mark 14:37).  “He came the third time and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand." (Mark 14:41-42)
He chose us.
In unimaginable anguish His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.  “And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:44). 
He chose us.
He drank the cup of bitterness, knowing that He didn’t have to.  “And he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."  (Mark 14:36)
He chose us.  
With one kiss from one of His closest disciples He was betrayed.  He could have stopped Judas.  He could have defended Himself.  But He knew Judas was about to kiss Him as a sign that He was the one to be crucified.  While He was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, suddenly arrived. A large mob, with swords and clubs, was with him from the chief priests and elders of the people. His betrayer had given them a sign: “The One I kiss, He’s the One; arrest Him!”  So he went right up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. Friend,” Jesus asked him, “why have you come?”  Then they came up, took hold of Jesus, and arrested Him.” (Matthew 26:46-50)  
I can scarcely begin to comprehend that He still called Him friend knowing the magnitude of what that one act of betrayal would put into motion. 
He chose us.
He could have defended Himself.  He could have been freed with just a few words, but He chose the way of the cross. “The leading priests accused Jesus of many things. So Pilate asked Jesus another question. Pilate said, "You can see that these people are accusing you of many things. Why don't you answer?" But Jesus still did not speak.  Pilate was very surprised at this.” (Mark 15:3-5)
He chose us.  
Pilate knew He was innocent, but He kept hearing, “CRUCIFY HIM!”  Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around Him.  They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on Him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.” (Matthew 27:27-31).  
Here is a brief medical description of what he suffered on a physical level.  “Jesus was first stripped of all clothing, then tied to a post with his hands above his head (to stretch the skin making the wounds worse). He was then flogged by one or two people with a whip (or flagellum). This whip (often called a cat-o-nine tails) consisted of a handle (about 18" long) with 9 leather straps about 6 or 7 feet long, and at the end of each strap was small lead balls mixed with pieces of animal bone or metal. These would tear into the body more and more with each successive lashing, with the lead balls ripping into the skin and the jagged pieces of bone or metal tearing it out. As the flogging progressed, muscles, vital organs, and even the spine could often be seen openly. Huge strips of skin would be hanging from the body.” (source of the medical details above are from http://jesusalive.cc/ques209.htm 
He chose us.  
They hammered nails into His hands and feet, beat Him, spat on Him, mocked Him, and pierced His side with a sharp sword as He hung on the cross.  Isiah 53 was fulfilled.  “For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.”  (Isaiah 53:2-9)
He chose us.  
About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" that is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"  (Matthew 27:46).   Even as He cried out to the Father with an overwhelming sense of feeling forsaken and abandoned by Him, He remained on the cross.
He chose us.  
That’s not when it ended.  While it looked like the end, it was the beginning.  He was crucified and died on the cross.  They put Him in the tomb.  And on the third day He rose again!  “He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.”  (Matthew 28:6)
He chose us.  
And the scriptures were fulfilled.  “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  (Isaiah 9:6)
He chose us.  
He is our Only Savior-THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE-our Salvation.  “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6).  
HE CHOSE US.
WILL YOU CHOOSE HIM?




How Is Life Measured?


©2018 Chantelle Henderson

This right here....this is how I want to live my life-not measured in time and years, but rather moments and memories, places I traveled when I was a flight attendant and even after; how much I love Siesta Key Beach with it’s powder sand; my deep and endless need....I mean desire for all things coffee; the fact that I love all genres of music, movies, and books.  I also have an obsession with documentaries, Dateline, and 20/20.  When I’m writing, it’s not just a hobby, but a passion that burns within me whether people ever read it or not.  Ask me why I want Brick House played at my home going reception (complete with a DJ).  I also want 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s hits, which must include Funky Cold Medina, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and possibly Baby Got Back?  Never mind.  That may be pushing it.  No, you know what-go for it!  And speaking of pushing it, go ahead and throw in Push It by Salt and Peppa.  There should be lots and lots of dancing and laughter.  If there are stories and memories to be shared by family and friends I want a very large majority of them to be crazy, stupid, and hilarious.  Ask me how and why my Daddy was my hero.  Ask me why I call my mom Hazel sometimes, as well as the scary similarities between her and Tyler Perry’s Madea.  My two sons keep me from feeling old because they are young.  Feel free to ask why I strive to be a good wife to a man who’s beyond my soulmate and hangs the moon and stars.  Ask me how we almost ended in divorce court several times in the first three years of marriage.  I want people to feel that I try to be real and honest and transparent and what it was birthed from.  I want to share how I came to accept Jesus as my Savior and why I’ve called God Papa long before The Shack book or movie came out.
I strive to possess eternal treasures that have nothing to do with material possessions, status, or the applause or disapproval of man.  I’m here for an audience of One.  So yes.  Age is completely irrelevant when I think of my life.  
I’ve never cared about getting older because I’ve always felt that I was an old soul, yet young at heart.  At 47 I reflect on all the things in this meme and smile because this is  how I want to be known both on this side of eternity as well as going to my permanent home in Heaven, whether dead or living, to say that I live to know Him and make Him known.  Ask me how I have the loudest and most obnoxious laugh and why people tell me all the time that it’s contagious.  Actually, no.  Don’t ask because I honestly have no idea.  I want you to know that I’ve learned to dance like no one is watching in spite of life happening.  
But above all and anything else know that I try really, really hard to love the Lord my God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my strength and with all my mind and that I love people without condition.  
I want to grow in compassion concerning the acceptance of the broken, the outcasts, the under dogs, the hurting, the wounded, and the broken-hearted.  Those who so desperately long to feel wanted, and loved, whole, and accepted.  I want to be Jesus with skin on.
Whether I live a short life or live to be a hundred doesn’t really matter.  What matters most is not my physical age, but how old I REALLY am based on the life I have lived and continue to live one day at a time.  The years will be as old or young by challenges I have faced, how I became an overcomer and a fierce warrior who longs to be a voice for the voiceless; the adventures I’ve been on-whether it was 5 Miles from my home or across the world in another country.  No matter what, it must count for something that in a strange sense I feel extremely young because, Lord willing, I still have many journeys to go on, books to read, new music to discover, untold stories to write, have dances in the kitchen with my husband with no music, and have grandchildren some day.  I want to continue to grow in the knowledge and understanding of the word of God and to share what I have learned.  I still have friends’ birthday parties and weddings to attend; graduations and Girl nights out.  
Most of all I still have to get caught up on 18 episodes of This Is Us and 7 episodes of Blue Bloods.
God bless err’body!  ♥️ C


When The Bough Breaks: Friendships Will Fall


©2018 Chantelle Henderson

“When people can walk away from you then let them walk.  I don't want you to try to talk another person into loving you, calling you, staying with you, caring about you or staying attached to you.  It doesn't matter how attracted you are to them, how wonderful they are, whether they did you a huge favor years ago or what the situation is; if they want to leave, let them go. Your destiny is never tied to anyone who leaves you, and it doesn’t mean they are bad people. It just means that their part in your story is over.  You have to know when a person's part in your life is over so you don't continue to try to raise what is dead.”
Bishop T.D. Jakes

“Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.” 
Proverbs 18:24 (The Message)

Funny how history repeats itself.
I wrote the last paragraph (at the bottom) a year ago, but over the past few months so many of my friendships have changed.  I get it.  Throughout the years, I understand to a greater and and deeper extent what I am willing to accept in my relationships and friendships and what I am not.  It’s not the same for everyone.  My boundaries are mine and your's may well be different than mine.  And that is OK. 
When I let someone in, REALLY let them in all the way, my expectations are not that we’ll never argue, or not have misunderstandings and disagreements.  What it does mean is that I trust you.  I have your back.  You never have to question my loyalty or commitment to the relationship.  And that no matter what happens we would be able to work things out because our friendship was worth fighting for.  It means that I trust and believe that there is a level of loyalty, commitment, and support on your part that should anything ever did happen it can be worked out. I'm all in.
I’m learning, however, that things don’t always work out as you hoped they would.  I am extremely careful who I let in.  In my life I have an “Entrance” & and “Exit” door.  All that I ever ask of anyone who's a part of my life is to go through one door or the other, but don’t stand in the middle blocking traffic.  I am willing to walk away from those who are unhealthy, toxic, and show by their actions that they are doing just fine without me in their life.  Yes, it hurts and at times it makes me feel inadequate, betrayed, abandoned, taken for granted, and neglected-like, “What did I do wrong?”, "What's wrong with me?", not realizing that sometimes it has absolutely nothing to do with me, but everything to do with them.  What I now comprehend is that no matter how much I pour into someone, I risk not having the same in return.  I can’t make someone love me.  I can’t make someone stay when they don’t want to.  I can’t force someone to want what I want out of the relationship.  I can’t hold on to someone who doesn’t want to be held.  And I can’t be the only one fighting for the friendship. This I do know:  I will not allow the absence of someone else cause me to fear opening my heart to others who want to be in my life and me in theirs’s.  When all is said and done I refuse let a broken heart and a sense of not feeling like enough because of your actions keep me from being open to the possibility of new journeys with different people.  Sometimes people just change and who they used to be, they no longer are and you have to choose if it's over or just a season.  There is such a fine line between the two.  At the end of the day you get to decide if it is worth it for you to ride out the waves and storm hoping for better days, or if it is best for you to walk away.  There are times that you don't know which path to take, and it's during those times that you just wait; don't choose either.  You don't make a rash decision unless you KNOW it's over.  Trust me, when it is over, you will know it and will be able to release that relationship accordingly.  I'm not saying it will be easy.  The deeper and longer the friendship the more you will find yourself grieving the loss of "what could and should have been".  I would love to lie and tell you it will be easy, but no.  There is pain in letting go.  There is a breaking of the heart in letting go.  There are tears in letting go.  There is even anger in letting go.  Nevertheless, let them go.  Again, you will know when it's time.  You'll just know.

These words are from today.  I wrote the following paragraph exactly from one year ago today.    
You know, over the years I've managed to form healthy relationships, keep realistic boundaries and expectations, and to guard my heart where friendships are concerned. I've had to learn the beauty of letting go AND being let go. But every now and then I get surprised by someone and the hurt is painful, and deep, and requires tears for healing. I had no warning and wasn't prepared. The thing is, though, that the enemy doesn't get to win. Because in the past I would shut down and shut everyone out, but today, I cried. I prayed. And then I released it. I released them. I may never have a reason or get an explanation but I am okay with that. If I've learned anything, it's that people are human and they are not perfect. They aren't always fair and they have their own reasons for the disconnection. I choose to move on and continue to be with those who choose to be.....who want to be in my life. I realize that I'm blessed to have a tribe that has my back. And that being the case, that's where my focus and energy belong. It doesn't get to go to the person who left. Not anymore. - ♥️  ℂℍ