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Lessons Learned: #5 If You’re Not Willing to Follow, Then You Probably SHOULDN’T Marry Him

I’m certain that this post may rub some females the wrong way. But it’s fine, because I think it’s a topic that needs to be addressed.  When I look back at my marriage, this was one of the first clues that I shouldn’t be marrying him. However, looking back it was a warning sign that I didn’t heed to.

As I study the Bible more and more, I realize that the instructions God created for us, was to make life much easier. In my opinion, the Bible is God’s instructions for a perfect world. We as people, make it imperfect by not following his divine order for our lives. Me??? I’m guilty too, which is the purpose of this blog. I believe in sharing my mistakes, so that if it helps just one person avoid a hurtful situation, then it’s served it’s purpose.

So if you’re a Christian and you believe that the Bible speaks the truth, then you’d understand that God’s instruction for marriage is that the husband is the head of the wife (Ephesians 5:23). It also instructs the wives to submit yourselves to your own husbands, as unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:22). With that being stated, if you’re engaged to a man that you don’t feel is responsible enough to lead you….you more than likely SHOULDN’T be marrying him. Or if you’re not willing to follow your fiance after you marry him, then you SHOULDN’T be marrying him.  

Honestly, I felt this way going into my marriage. I was very independent when I met my now ex-husband. I knew which way I wanted to go and I wasn’t willing to allow him to be the leader in our marriage. Quite frankly, I see a number of marriages whose wives are clearly leading, many who complain of their struggling marriages. And yet many of the men are perfectly suitable and able to rise to the ocassion of leading if their wives would give up the reins.

Before you get upset at me, I didn’t create the instructions. I’m just the messenger, I didn’t write it! Trust me, I’m not saying that husbands don’t have a part to play. But I do believe that you have to trust God when you do as you’re instructed. Going forward in my life, my next spouse….Yes, I said next. Because I believe that there are lessons to be learned in all mistakes and misfortunes in your life. I will be certain that the next man I marry is a lover of God and will love me as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25) and that I am sure that he is worthy of my following him.

In this life, we all have a role to play. And as a wife you need to know what that is and be willing and faithful enough to stay in your lane. Let the man be the man,  and ask God to condition you for any given situation to keep the faith. He knows all and sees all. If you do your part, you’ll still be blessed beyond measure.

Love and blessings,

Tanisha Rankins

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Posted by on May 24, 2011 in Lessons Learned!

 

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Knowing When You’re Healed- Part 2

Regardless of the situation, every one of us must endure the healing process after losing those things we value the most. Yesterday, I started this post about knowing when you’re healed from your divorce.  I will conclude with the following reasons why I know I’m healed from my divorce.

#4. I am comfortable seeing him with someone else. To be honest, a great length of time had passed before I witnessed seeing my ex with someone else. I remember late last year having been thrown into a situation, where I was forced to confront this fear. I didn’t know how I was going to feel. I was thinking to myself, “Will I just break down in tears? Will I run? Will I faint?” Yeah, you’re probably thinking it can’t be that deep. But for me, it was THAT deep. This was the man I had vowed to love and cherish, to be with for better, for worse. And who had made that very same promise to me, but broke it. And so, I pondered over the idea that I wouldn’t even go, because I feared that he may have brought his new lady of his life.

And amazingly God is so awesome to his children. Because when I went to church that morning, the Sunday morning bible lesson was on fear. And how you shouldn’t let it overtake you, that you should be able to approach all of your fears head on and trust that God will see you through it. So that afternoon after church, I went to the place that I had been asked to come and sure enough he was there to with his new lady friend. And as quickly as my fears were up, God removed them and an overwhelming calmness came over me. There wasn’t anything to fear. I remember smiling and thanking God under my breath for the peace that he provided, which surpassed all of my understanding. It was such an amazing feeling. I’m healed because being in his presence with his new lady friend, doesn’t plague me any longer. Like everything else, God has blessed me with the strength and serenity to accept it and move forward positively.

#5. I have never tried to seek revenge on my ex-husband. I believe Madea said it best…another quote from Diary of a Mad Black Woman (I told you I was angry in my past, if you had read the previous post. LOL! This was my life put to the big screen…but I digress:)) “How do you know if you’re not over someone? If you have a chance to get back at someone who’s hurt you, and you take it…you’re not over them. But if you don’t take the chance, you’re over them”

I remember once, one of my ex-husband’s co-worker/friends approached me about dating after we separated. I could have been really spiteful. But I never even considered it. In fact, I told the gentleman that it was completely out-of-place to even ask. It may or may not have stung my husband a little. But I wasn’t willing to compromise the core of who I am, for what may or may not have caused a small amount of pain to my ex-husband.

#6. I continue to pray for and love my ex-husband. Yeah, I made up my mind to pray for him a long time ago. Nearly every time I say my prayers, he’s included in them. Although when I first started praying for him, it always went something similar to this (paraphrasing) “Lord, please bless my husband to come back to me. Bless him to recognize the error of his ways and return to my arms.” LOL!!! I can laugh now….because I’m healed. When I thought I was praying for him, I was still praying selfishly asking for MY will to be done. But because I’m healed, I understand that our marriage, although it may have been short-lived, served it’s purpose. I actually give thanks to my ex-husband for the experience. Because it’s contributed to my growth in a major way. Now my prayers, are indeed unselfish. They go something like this now. “Lord continue to walk with my ex-husband daily. Bless him to grow closer to you. Be long-suffering and forgive him of any short comings. Bless the lady in his life to be an encouragement to his growing even closer to you…”

You see, I will always have a love in my heart for my former spouse. You don’t make that type of commitment to someone and lose your love completely unless you never loved them to begin with.  I have forgiven him for all of those things which transpired during our marriage, those he admitted and those he didn’t. I want nothing more than my ex-husband to grow his relationship with God (not that he may have not). But there’s nothing wrong with anyone praying for someone to grow closer to God. I will solicit those prayers all day, every day. But because of that love for him, I’m more concerned about his soul.

I had a divorced gentleman ask me how I could truly say that I’d hope my ex would find someone to make him happy. And I told him that I simply loved him that much.  I also understood that the gentleman hadn’t been completely healed from his experience. However, I do know that in order to seek God’s forgiveness of our shortcomings, we have to be willing to forgive others’ of theirs too. It doesn’t matter what happened in the past, all I desire is for my husband to have learned from his mistakes, just as I have and to grow spiritually and lovingly with someone else. And just like God answered my prayers of healing. I’m sure he’s answering the prayers that I pray for my ex-husband as well.

#7. I’m able to genuinely smile thinking about the entire experience. This sums it all up for me. My marriage was like the Batman Rollercoaster at Six Flags Atlanta. It’s full of its shares of twists and turns, ups and downs and nausea. But at the end of it all, you’d still ride it again. Knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t change a thing about my life. It’s taken me ALL of those hardships with the good to get me to this place right here…right now! Looking back, I smile and laugh when I think about the turmoil and the grief. I chuckle, of course at the really good moments. It’s been a long, tumultuous journey. And the only reason I can laugh and smile is because I know 100%… that I am healed.

Tanisha Marie Rankins, Healed 2011

 

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Knowing When You’re Healed- Part 1

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post for Divorced…But Not by Choice. There have been a number of reasons, the first being when I started this blog it was therapy for me. It was my way to help others, like myself cope and get thru the ugliness of divorce in a positive way. I wanted to show people that God can use the worst of a situation and make great things happen. (Romans 8:28).

Today I’ve come to the realization that I’ve achieved everything that I had set out to do through the creation of this blog. And I’m appreciative of the opportunity to do so. Without a shadow of a doubt, I’m healed from the experience completely.

By now, I’m sure you’re asking how do you know that you’re healed. I’m sure many people may feel differently, but here is how I know that I’m healed.

1. I don’t have any ill feelings toward my former spouse. When divorce was initiated, I was hurt immediately. I couldn’t truly understand why my husband was betraying me. I could name all of the things he’d done to me verbatim and I wanted to cash in on all those things. I wanted him to hurt. I even remember telling my minister that I wasn’t going to be happy until I saw him in pain. His response to me went something like this (paraphrasing) “You’re going to lead a miserable life if your happiness is contingent on someone else’s unhappiness.” You see I was having a Madea moment, I wanted wrath issued on my ex-husband. I wanted to see him hurt and I wanted God to allow me to witness it. In my head, I reenacted the scene from Diary of a Mad Black Woman multiple times, only thing is I let him stay under water a little longer. YES! I was that woman! I wanted to avenge the death of my marriage, hastily and drastically. YES, I admit it!!! I had those feelings too! But the difference was…I NEVER acted on them. I was angry, but who wouldn’t be? If you truly loved your spouse and wanted your marriage to work, divorce is going to pull out pure and raw emotions you never knew were within. And there’s nothing wrong about the emotions that you feel. The key is to not allow the emotions to take over and cause you unnecessary grief in the end.

#2. I’m able to reflect on the lessons learned through my divorce and react positively about them. This was a tough one for me. Because going through my divorce, I wanted nothing more than to be out of it and the emotions that came along with it, as soon as possible. I wanted to believe that I didn’t play any part in the demise of my marriage. Initially, I believed that it was all my ex’s fault. But after seeking God to take over my life and studying his word. I was and am openly honest about my contribution. And because I know what they are and appreciate them, I don’t feel any need to hide them at all. (S/N: I keep hearing a dear friend tell me to write from an honest vein and in this post I couldn’t be more honest) I’m so honest and open about them. I am going to list them. Because I’m so much more aware and diligently working to make sure I don’t repeat those same things. (Stay tuned to the following post, because I’m going to literally list those things that I did to contribute to my marriage. Hopefully, those who are married will read them and make sure not to do those things. And maybe those who are divorced will search deep within themselves to evaluate what their real contributions to their divorce were.) I know everyone of my flaws and I am taking the steps and precautions to ensure that WHEN (optimism at best) I get married again it will be for LIFE!

#3. I can appreciate the good times/memories we shared, laugh and move on. In the past when I used to talk about the good times, my ex and I shared, it used to make me cry. The disappointment I felt was unbearable and I’d rather not even talk about it. I’m sure my closest family and friends used to hate to see me coming (I can laugh about it now). But indeed it had to weigh heavy on them, when they’d mention my ex in a sentence and I’d break down. I couldn’t even look at the photos without tearing up, because I was enwrapped in the past. Not considering what a beautiful future I could still have if I just had the faith to move forward. Today I can speak about my ex spouse in a positive way and share the fun times we had with others. It doesn’t hurt to know that we won’t be able to have those moments together again.

This is just 3 reasons, I know that I’m healed. However, there are more to follow. Be sure to come back tomorrow, when I post the conclusion to “Knowing When You’re Healed”.

 

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Make It Last Forever

 Make It Last Forever

Just last week I was getting out of my truck and preparing to walk into a building when I noticed an older couple giving each other a passionate kiss.  Now when I say an older couple, meaning a couple that looked as if they were in their late 60’s.  The gentleman opened the door for the lady and squeezed her tight while commencing to give her a sweet and gentle kiss on the lips.  As I watched the both of them, I thought to myself,  “Wow”….how nice it is to see sincere love exuding from the both of them and how real love can last after so many years and that old school love still exists.  I did not know this couple or how long they have been married or even if they were married.  However, I will say and can say that I was witnessing true love right there in front of me. 

When we say “I do” before God and man, we are making a commitment to God first and then to one other.  Committing that we are in it until death do us part.  “I do”, doesn’t mean that loving someone is easy but loving them unconditionally!!  So let’s continue to keep Christ “FIRST” in our marriages so that one day, someone will be telling a story about us and how we are making it last forever….until death do us part.

Want to post this to your website or e-zine? Simply include the following blurb with this article and you can…

Nichole Taylor has been married to her husband Malcolm for 12 years. They have three beautiful children. She and her husband are currently the leaders over Family Life Ministry and Couples Ministry. Nichole and Malcolm are a common everyday couple who experience ups and downs as any other married couple.  However,  their passion is to minister to couples, families, and anyone who needs encouragement. God has truly blessed their family in so many ways and they want to share with others the goodness of Christ and by putting Christ first in your life, the many blessings one can receive in their marriages, their families, and most importantly, their lives.

Follow Nichole & Malcolm Taylor

Blog: “Just the 2 of Us”,  http://mntaylors.wordpress.com/

Facebook: Nichole Taylor ://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=1020203983

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2011 in Starting Over

 

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What Do The Lonely Do At Christmas?

Ok, this isn’t going to be one of those sappy posts, to encourage you to drown yourselves in your sorrow. Sure it’s Christmas time, a season of abundant commercials filled with sappy stories of husbands giving their wives, big diamonds and luxury cars or wives going out of their way to hide their husbands’ new plasma tvs. (No, I’m not bitter:))) I’m really not, because while we all would love to be showered by the one’s we vowed to spend the rest of our lives with. For many, that’s not a reality.

Having experienced a couple of lonely Christmases, immediately after I separated and later divorced from my now ex-husband. I’d like to share ideas on how to cope during the holiday season.

Let see…

First, go ahead and cry it out! That’s right let it flow. There’s no use in holding it in. Holding in that kind of emotion can kill you. So have a really good cry. But you’re limited to 1 hour on Christmas Day! You can do it all at once or 4 (15) minute sessions throughout the day. But 1 hour is all you’re allowed for that day. Trust me, there’s nothing wrong with a cry, which cleanses the soul. But anything more than that will make you sick and exhaust you.

Next, take a really warm shower or bath. If you like, you can even combine your cry with your bath time. Those tears can just flow out of the tub or shower. That’s even better, because now you will have extra time in the day to do those things which are most important and healthy.

Spend time with someone! Now, because we didn’t have children, I woke up completely alone during Christmas. So I decided to spend the day with my mom. See, my dad had passed away a few months prior, so we both were dealing with significant loss. We leaned on each other for the holiday. But if you have children, why not spend it happily with them showing you what Santa (if they still believe) or whomever has gotten them. Either way, keep it positive! If you’re unfortunate to not have children, parents, or close friends to spend the holiday with, find someone in or around your neighborhood to spend it with. Or willingly find a shelter to volunteer to serve. It’s amazing how small our problems become, once we’re assisting someone with theirs. And in my experience, it allows God to work your problems out for you, without your interference, which can serve as detrimental to the situation. (But that’s another topic, for another day)

Next, eat well. Enjoy the meal that is prepared before you, whatever that may be. It’s a day to splurge a bit. Take your time and enjoy that dessert.

Nothing cures loneliness like laughter. Find humor throughout your day. Laugh long and big whenever you can. Watch a funny christmas movie. I had heard about the National Lampoon Christmas vacation. But I’d never watched it. So, I ordered it on Netflix and watched it that evening. It was really what I needed to pass the time in a positive way and filling my soul with joy.

At the end of the evening, journalize (Is that even a word? Oh well, it is now! LOL)your day. Talk about your emotions. Pour it out on paper. It will serve as a guide to your progress. Make sure your entry includes your day’s blessings. Itemize them, specifically. You’ll realize there are more than one blessing of the day. And besides, the greatest blessing is your life. With life, there’s always hope for a better tomorrow, which will come. Speaking of tomorrow, start planning for your new future. 2011 is right around the corner, so consider what you’d like to accomplish in it. It won’t hurt to have a plan b, c, & d. Because you never know what the future will hold.

And lastly, before you turn in, don’t forget to pray. Thank God that you survived the day. It will get better. Although, you’re more than likely going to feel some loneliness, remember you are never alone. God is always with us (Hebrew 13:5). So why not draw nearer to him? Let him penetrate you and ask him to provide you with the peace to handle whatever outcome is reached.

Just like everything else we encounter in life, this too shall pass! But to do it in a healthy manner takes determination and dedication. Dedicate your life to growing in  positive way. Choose not to allow Satan to rob you of your joy! May you be blessed with a very Merry Christmas!

 

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Lessons Learned:#4 – Your Dreams Are Just That…Yours!

Today’s reflection comes on the heels of what would have been my 6th anniversary to my now ex-husband. I’m sure the date 10/16/2004 will always be engrained in my memory and at this point in my life, it’s ok if it does. Looking back, I remember thinking that my marriage would never end in divorce. I envisioned that there would be nothing we wouldn’t be able to talk about and resolve through thoughtful compromise. In my head, we’d grow old (gracefully, of course;-)) together and tell stories to the youth about the power of a loving marriage and mentor to other couples that may be struggling in their marriage. But you see that was MY dream…not his.

 Ironically, our minister spoke at church this past Sunday about having more than one plan, especially if it’s dependant on someone else, which fueled my inspiration for writing this post. You see what he meant is that sometimes, what you plan or dream for yourself doesn’t always go as you’d hope, simply because it’s tied to another human being. With this thought,  I have come to realize that I have an incredibly high tolerance for pain. I always have, probably always will. It takes quite a bit to really get me angry and upset. Whereas I see others, who get mad at the smallest bit of resistance. So just because, I plan for a situation to go smoothly between a colleague or a friend. Doesn’t mean that it always will. B/c, maybe that colleague/friend, has a different disposition than I do. The same applied to your marriage. Maybe your spouse didn’t really plan to see it through to the end, as you thought. Maybe they lied about their plans. Or maybe their plans changed, or they had more than one plan, which suddenly shifted priorities.

So as I write to those who may be in the position I was in, just merely 3 years ago, please try not to beat yourself up when you realized that the dream you had for your marriage did not come to pass. You can not make others cooperate to fulfill the dreams which are your own.

Going forward, I have chosen to dream of things that I can control (with God’s grace). For example, I know how I’d love to look in my gown. And if God continues to give me strength in my body, I can control the other stuff that will make it possible to fit into my perfect gown. (Notice, I said, “My perfect gown!”) I even have an idea of what the wedding will entail. But at this point in my life, the groom in my dreams doesn’t have a face. (At least not a real face, I tend to substitute celebrities from time to time! LOL!!! Hey, who doesn’t??) But truthfully, I want God to fill in that void the next time.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t dream big. But just make sure you have a plan B or C, just in case things don’t go as you planned for your A. It will cushion the blow a little bit. The old adage, never put all your eggs in one basket still rings true. However, the best basket to put your eggs is in God’s hands. Despite the fact that my dreams for my marriage were crushed, I’m still so tremendously blessed because of it. I’ve learned so much (keep reading, there’s more to come!) from it about myself. I’ve been able to minister to so many others who didn’t think they could be delivered from the pain of a divorce. And most importantly, my faith and positivity remains in tact.

Until then, stay positive and learn the lessons that life teaches! They aren’t without reason.

Continued blessings to you,

Tanisha

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2010 in Lessons Learned!, Separation & Divorce

 

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Lessons Learned:#3- Bring Your Own Hot Sauce!

Sometimes, it amazes me what things I can remember from my past. As I grow older, I realize my short term memory isn’t nearly as great. But, my long term memory seems to be better than ever. Some of the most vivid memories of my family make me laugh hysterically. But when I think about it, they could’ve be used to provide so much wisdom for my marriage, if I’d only looked a little deeper sooner.

When I was little my dad used to take me to a local grocery store, known for having amazing chicken. You know, the chicken that they placed in a white paper bag, lined with foil on the inside…the chicken that always came with those super soft rolls. Anyway, I digress because this is really making me hungry. Ok, well back to the story. Sometimes, they’d have the hot sauce packets. But many times when we went, they didn’t. Nonetheless, the day I recall the most is the day, my dad didn’t ask for any hot sauce. He just brought the chicken back to our little green Ford truck and told me to get in. I told my dad, that he forgot to get hot sauce. That’s when he reached across my lap and opened the door to the glove compartment and inside was a bottle of his favorite hot sauce. I remember my dad saying, “You don’t have to worry about it, if you always bring your own.”

Now, looking back on this I thought about things in my marriage. I have always been creative and loved spontaneity. And so, I always assumed that the person I settled down with be able to do the same. So, I’d complain and be disappointed when I mentioned my need for change and creativity. And his idea of creativity was dinner and a movie or the conventional flowers sent to your workplace. But what I failed to realize is that creativity and spontaneity was my talent. It was the hot sauce that I needed and was expecting my spouse to provide.

So, if it’s something that you crave in your marriage. My advise would be if you have it, to provide it. If you want a weekly date night with your spouse, don’t wait for him/her to plan it, you do it. So many people complain about the spark leaving their marriages, but everyone refuses to light the matches they hold hold in their own pockets.

So in my new relationship, I will keep things different and new and fresh. And although, I’m certain that he will think it’s because of my desire to please him (and I will hope that he’s pleased). But it will really be to satisfy myself. That way I won’t have to be disappointed if my hot sauce isn’t available.

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2010 in Lessons Learned!, Separation & Divorce

 

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