Loyalty Binds

I’m in a Stepmom Group on social media and they occasionally mention Loyalty Binds or that certain behaviors are the result of a loyalty bind. As I started looking into it, I realized that many people are blinded by loyalty binds. Not just children. Whether it’s a child to a parent, a parent to a child, a pastor to a member of the congregation, people to their churches, an employee to an employer, etc. people can be blinded and, as a result, make poor choices due to loyalty binds.

I firmly believe that when you are “loyal to a fault”, you sometimes cannot see the truth for what it is. Facts appear distorted. It’s one of the reasons why attorneys interview potential jurors to see if they can uncover any particular bias or prejudice within a person. Bias, prejudice, loyalty binds … they all distort the TRUTH.

This really is a note to self because I’ve fallen for the loyalty bind game a few times in my life and regret it. For example, a few years ago I got a really good job offer. I had applied with the company back when they didn’t have any openings and ended up getting a different job. When the job did come open and they called me in to interview, I declined because I felt guilty for doing that to the new company especially after my new boss telling me how much he needed me the week before. Well, within a year the new company employee moral was at an all time low and the company ended up folding. In hindsight, I could see that I should have taken that other position. After all, it is the one that I really wanted and when the time came, I missed out due to a loyalty bind.

At a church my kids used to go to, the youth group leaders made out with each other sexually in front of the kids (multiple times even saying “look what you’re in for when you get married”). Many parents like myself were furious, while others were so blinded by their relationship with the youth leaders and the church itself that they chose to close their eyes and pretend nothing had happened. Their loyalty made them unable to see the difference in right and wrong.

In my blended family small group, there is a woman in there who feels a loyalty bind to her son but to a fault. Her son is grown, will not work, is using drugs, yet her loyalty to him makes her not want to kick him out of the house. At that point, is it loyalty or enabling? Just food for thought.

In another situation, we were reaching out to the kids’ children’s and youth group pastors about issues our kids were having, but their loyalty to the parent who attends their church made it impossible to have any real discussions because everything we said went back to the other parent as opposed to being used to help the CHILD.

Note to self. Watch out for loyalty binds y’all. Be wise in your relationships. Attempt to make decisions based on what is right rather than out of guilt or emotion. Yes, it can be difficult to do, but you’ll be better for it.

Iced coffee cheers your way 🙂

 

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One Heart

I have meditated on this verse for about 6 years. Is this possible? Whether it’s marriage and discussing cabinet colors, couples discussing finances, or blended families discussing topics about the children they share… let’s not even mention race, politics or church affiliation. Is likemindedness possible in the year 2018?

We all seem to be united by the lines that divide us rather than what brings us together anymore.

As the Doubting Thomas that I am, and may always will be, I’d ask God to personally show me that this concept is possible 🙏🏻

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#CreateInMe Week 6 & 7

Good morning from Texas y’all.

I have a little time to blog this morning and wanted to journal some reminders from my devotional time recently.

The first question on the Week 6 outline was how do I respond when encountered with a worst case scenario? Do I shut down? Put up my dukes and fight? What is my usual Flight or Fight response. Girl, I already know…. FIGHT. And sometimes I’m jealous of you flight people though I know my flight friends are bit jealous and wish they had an extra dose of fight in them. LOL.

I love her reminder that we must understand ourselves enough to know our automatic responses and give ourselves space for GRACE when we respond incorrectly. We limit the impact of our actions through acknowledgement and accountability. Y’all, that is the Ferris wheel of my life. Slow and steady wins the race. Discipline. Positivity. Encouragement. Followed by a hiccup, reaction, disappointment. Then Prayer. Realignment. Repeat. I guess maybe that applies to all of us. What I’m not so good with is giving myself grace. I am very very hard on myself and do a wonderful job of beating myself up so that others don’t really have to. Anyone know that feeling?

Week 7 had the reminder that some of us (I know I do) measure our potential and outcomes. However, we must never forget that God is able to do IMMEASURABLY MORE THAN WE CAN ASK OR IMAGINE. The challenge: ask God for the immeasurably more version of my future.

I love love love this reminder.

Somewhere along the beaten path of regular life, I stopped expecting the immeasurably more. Heck, I stopped asking for the immeasurably more. Somewhere at some point I became like the flea stuck in the jar with the lid on it who eventually stopped trying to jump out of the jar because every time it jumped it hit it’s head on the lid. Once the lid was removed the flea stayed in the jar anyway because it had been trained not to jump. Not to break free.

She encourages us to embrace emptiness as the environment for increase similar to the miracle of the oil filling the widow’s empty jars (2 Kings 4:1-7).

The empty or broken places of our lives are containers for the immeasurable miracle God wants to do in and through us. Each loss, broken relationship, unfulfilled dream, empty promise etc. are opportunities for God to pour out the immeasurable upon us.

For me right now that is called PEACE.

And I will definitely start asking for the immeasurably more life. I can’t wait to see it 🙂

Coffee cheers your way bloggers.

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The Problem with Religion

It’s been a minute since I blogged on this particular domain. So, hello!!! I’ve missed you. Today, I’m going to VENT about mean, religious people and institutions because I CAN’T EVEN y’all. Oh. My. Goodness.

God is real. God is God. God is not religious. People are religious. And unfortunately, lots of religious people are MEAN. So so mean y’all.

Monday, I went to lunch and a movie with 2 other local women. At lunch, much of the discussion was about religion. Not God. Religion.

One of the girls had recently left a church that she had been going to for YEARS (maybe a decade or all of her life) because an appointed leader in the church would not approve her (like a rubber stamp, I guess) for the year unless she agreed to pay 10% of her income to the church for the entire year. Also, she knew that since her husband no longer attended the church, according to them she could not go to heaven if she died anyway because a wife has to pass through her husband to get into heaven. She had been reading her Bible and the words in red for awhile and these controlling concepts just didn’t make sense to her anymore. So, she left the church. YOU GO GIRL!!! Woot Woot.

Meanwhile, the other women said she has been married for years (over 20) and has grown children with her husband and they have been so dedicated to their marriage and family forever; however, the church would not bless their marriage because they were of two different denominations when they got married back in the day. And that always hung over her head and hurt her a little bit. With tears in her eyes she talked about how happy it made her that a new leader in the church finally agreed to officially “bless” their wedding certificate. (Yep, a mere human has that much power and control over your life in the religious church attendance realm.)

In my situation, I’ve been bullied by religious people throughout my entire life with the worst of it being during three distinct periods. (1) when I got pregnant in high school (that was before embrace grace and was more of the religious name calling era like slut, whore, etc. which correlates to my “woman at the well” blogs); (2) when I stood up to a well known ministry for inappropriate sexual behavior that occurred at youth camp in front of my kids (oh man, that was considered “religious rebellion” which resulted in family and church separation because apparently you aren’t allowed to stand up for things at church regardless of how wrong they are even if it would have likely landed you in jail had you done it at your house; and (3) the past 8 years that I’ve been married to a man who used to be married to the preacher’s daughter. I had heard from my husband and other family and former friends of theirs that she was a very mean, prideful, religious person, but I had absolutely no idea how bad it was or how difficult it would be to co-mother with someone so critical of me constantly (though I have boxes of documents verifying she’s certainly not of reputable character herself). She’s the “you reap what you sow, you get what you get, oh I’m praying for my enemies alright, you’re just like the devil”…  MEAN religious type of person (I think she forgot that you can speak in tongues but if you don’t have love, you’re nothing more than a clanging cymbal HAHA). Maybe she attended Westboro Baptist Church for leadership training (just kidding just kidding, kind of…).

But you know what y’all? Our salvation isn’t hinged on any of these people’s personal opinions, rituals, or religious views. THANK GOD!!! For all 3 of us ladies,I can say that ALL of these religious people and religious institutions that make faith and salvation about religious works or life behaviors (such as you can’t have a glass of tea) are WRONG. They are ALL WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. Very wrong.

We are saved by God’s grace, through faith. Period. It is God’s gift to us, from Him. It is NOT a reward for the good things we have done, so that NO ONE (not church A, not church B, not preacher’s daughter C) can boast about it. It’s through God and God alone. Hallelujah. Thank ya Jesus!

Have a great Sunday. Coffee cheers your way.

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God’s Standing Ovation (A Whole Heart When You’ve Been Broken) Week 5 #CreateinMe

When I got this week’s handout I almost dismissed it because I’ve already read, lived, and learned so much on this topic. Shoot, it was pretty much my life anthem for about 5 years. However,  the “must check all of the boxes” person that I am would not let me skip a week. I just couldn’t do it. And I’m glad I didn’t because this week was God’s Standing Ovation. Listening to the video, I just wanted to stand up and give God a big huge hug and hand clap.

So much of this section reminded me about being Beautifully Broken and just how BIG and GREAT God is to exchange our beauty for ashes. In the video, Amie Dockery said that when Jesus restores us, people will not be able to believe our back story and what all we’ve been through because when they see us they will see a beauty and a wholeness.

Not long ago, someone told me that when I speak, my eyes shine and my face glows. I just look so happy. Others are jealous. Some want to know the secret. Y’all it was not always that way. It’s been a roller coaster. But God… I had hard times, BUT GOD…

Believe me when I say that YOU also can experience restoration.

Coffee cheers your way 🙂

 

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A Soft Heart When Life Is Hard #CreateinMe Week 4

This weeks video and handout by Amie Dockery was great. Very thought provoking and helpful. The illustration that I definitely don’t want to forget is that of how olive oil is made.

She said that olive oil is made by crushing the olives in a press which produces 3 different types of oil. The first expression of oil is a small amount but it is clean, special, near perfection and was donated to the priests for use in the temple. The second expression of oil was kept by the owner for their use for consumption like to dip bread in, for use on their skin to protect it, etc. The third and last expression of oil would destroy the remainder of the olive and the oil would have dirt and rock particles in it and that’s what would be used to light their lanterns. In the villages, those people with lantern oil would often “lead the way” because they could see. Often times, leaders get this concept backwards. They use the first of their oil to lead and end up running out of oil. You cannot lead from a place of emptiness.

I have so many friends in leadership roles whether they are lawyers, politicians, pastors, pastor wives, etc. and one thing I’ve noticed that it is is very easy for them to become worn out and exhausted. It’s one of the reasons I’ve never personally signed up in a leadership capacity. So often it feels like managing my own little domain (myself, the home, our kids, my business, our close friendships, it’s all a balancing act and maintaining work-life balance is truly the key to my success spiritually, emotionally, financially, etc. Anytime I’m depleted it’s flat out ugly. Heck, even God rested on the 7th Day LOL.)

Another statement she made that I loved was that your anointing is different than your appointing (such as David was appointed as a messenger, a caterer, an amour carrier) but that was not his anointing, that was his appointing.

The handout discussed how David and Saul could have had a fruitful relationship but Saul’s jealousy and eventual hatred of David caused Saul’s heart to harden and he began to attack and pursue David (which is exactly how I feel in our blended family situation. I always honored Baby Mama as the Mother of her children even inviting her to our home for family holidays but her jealously and emotions ended up crippling her view and now she only attacks me).

Final reminder: when your heart is hardened you cannot feel pain but you cannot feel love and joy and positive things either. Work to keep a soft heart before God.

 

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Hearts Aren’t Free but They Can Be #CreateinMe Week 3

This video and hand out (Feb 20, 2018) really did wonders for my marriage. Well, for my outlook and viewpoint about my marriage LOL. I honestly can’t express that enough. I even shared Week 3’s story with Hubster and apologized for the “slave mentality” that I brought into our relationship and have carried on and off for the last 7-8 years without even realizing it.

In this lesson, Amie Dockery outlined the Children of Israel and how they had favor but through an act of trickery (trading gold for wooden coins) became slaves. Then once they finally escaped bondage and slavery they actually took symbols of their slavery (gold rings) and made a golden calf to worship a false god while looking back on the slavery period as if it were actually better than being free. In order to be free they had to be (1) removed from Egypt but (2) Egypt also had to be removed from them. That Egypt mentality was still in their hearts.

I loved this quote: Slavery begins with deception but it ends with deliverance.

Y’all, I’ve had this slavery mentality in my marriage many times. With my ex (the man before Hubs), I believe it’s safe to say that I was a slave and didn’t even realize it for at least a decade. I thought we were a team, partners, amazing in business together, and best friends. In reality, I was there on his terms for his benefit at his beck and call, wearing what he approved, having friends that only he approved, etc. without regard to what was best for me or my future at all (I figured that out 100% when I asked him if he would be okay with me going to law school and he said no). One day I put on my big girl Princess pants because I’m the Daughter of a King and I abandoned that slave post. It was actually a Pastor and a sermon about bad boys that helped me get free from that one sided relationship.  Then I met Hubs. As a “free woman” (so I thought but clearly I still carried that slave mentality). So we did the right thing, and got married. Then, hello wilderness.

I say that jokingly because in hindsight it is actually funny, but there’s no doubt in my mind that our Blended Family Hell on Earth is nothing short of wilderness. So I felt, and said, many hurtful things to Hubs such as: I made a mistake marrying you, we never should have moved in together, your life is far more drama that its worth, at least with my (slave owner) ex boyfriend I never had this level of conflict in my life with my children.

And for YEARS I’ve looked at my current marriage from a wilderness perspective. Knowing I’m free, knowing I’m a Princess, loving my husband with my whole big heart, but fully understanding that until his kids are grown this is our wilderness season (and it’s not the kids, they are fabulous, it’s the ex and her jealousy, her desire to control, her manipulation of the kids, the lies, the false statements made under oath about me and my kids, not wanting my kids around Hubs’ kids to protect my kids, her hacking into our bank account when she worked at Chase Bank, basically the continual drama that my life is exposed to and will likely endure until that last child finally reaches age 18 and she loses her connection to the mind games). It’s like the wilderness y’all!!! And at times it’s made my past slave life look really darn good.

Until I listed to this video. When Amie asked how many of us look back on our slave days with desire as if it’s better than the promise of our future (could be a past relationship) …. I felt so convicted. I knew full well I’ve done this with my Husband who is my promise and who is my future. That mentality had to stop. And it has.  Granted, there may be times I need to come back and watch the video again (I hope it will still be there LOL), but it was such a good and healing reminder.

Thank you God for setting me FREE and thank you for giving me such a good Husband to navigate with on this journey.

Coffee cheers your way guys.

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