Let My People Grow

Many forms of captivity may manifest in our lives beckoning our very own exodus. One such form of captivity I personally experienced was domestic and familial violence, that is violence or other forms of abuse committed towards me by a spouse as well as a close family member. Sometimes people who you thought would protect and provide for you choose to oppress you much to your shock and horror. Nevertheless, the story of Joseph’s family oppressing him (in the Bible) reminds me that God can use all circumstances for your good and the benefit of others as well. Later on in Scripture, God hears the cries of the oppressed descendants of Joseph and his family and sends Moses to let God’s people go. Hence, the exodus story. After cultivating my exodus from such “pestilence”, God used gardening to help heal my heart and mind. With a heart full of gratitude towards God for graciously hearing my desperate prayers, I want to use my life to help cultivate growth in others who may still be awaiting an exodus of their own.

Due to these traumatic experiences and wanting to help others still in captivity, I became a certified domestic violence advocate that not only held faith based support groups in my home for victims of domestic violence, but I also went on to found a non-profit that housed pregnant survivors of domestic violence and their children. Although I no longer house hurting women, I find myself still wanting to encourage those who are suffering. Perhaps my garden-themed articles throughout this site will plant seeds of hope and healing to those still in captivity.

Additionally, if you are a loved one of a person currently in a toxic and abusive relationship, it is critical you do the following to best help your loved one:

  1. Educate yourself on domestic violence. There are many variables involved and no easy solutions. Refrain from saying things like, “Why don’t you just leave him/her?” or exuding any form of victim-blaming. To learn more, click here http://stoprelationshipabuse.org/educated/avoiding-victim-blaming/
  2. Ears open. Understand victims of domestic violence are often gaslighted and bombarded with lies and negative comments from their abusers as well as ignorant, insensitive people. How you respond to the victim is a matter of life and death. The best thing you can do for your loved one is simply listen.
  3. Explore and Empower. You cannot fix their situation and you do not know what is best for the victim. They, however, know their circumstance and abuser best. It is important you help them explore all options and think through potential outcomes for better or worse and then empower them to make the best and safest series of decisions for themselves and their specific circumstances. Refrain from making decisions for them or forcing them to take action.
  4. Encourage the victim. Please be patient and encouraging as you listen to the many exhausting emotions, patterns, and variables the victim will experience. Be aware a victim of domestic violence often attempts to leave or indeed ends the relationship only to return on average 7 to 9 times before finally terminating the relationship. It is important you do not say anything negative about the abuser to the victim for she/he will not return to you for advice or help once she/he reconciles with their abuser. Leaving is a process – not an event. Also, be aware when a victim of domestic violence attempts to terminate the relationship, that is when the victim’s life, as well as her children or pets, are most in lethal jeopardy. She cannot “just leave”. By encouraging her to do so, it could be signing her death warrant – particularly if weapons are in the home.
  5. Evolve. Eventually, by planting seeds of love and hope in your loved ones as you implement these methods listed above, in time, the victims will hopefully free themselves from such pestilence or suffocating weeds when they believe it is safe to do so and evolve into overcoming, “ever-blooming roses” despite life’s prickly pain.

“My life is an example to many, because you have been my strength and protection.” Psalm 71:7

Let Go To Grow

It is easier to embrace the lies than to surrender to the truth. Realizing you’ve been deceived is an incredibly painful process; nevertheless, the sooner you let go, the sooner you can grow.
#grow #bloom #everbloomingroses #roses #TruthvsLies

Happy Passover

What a joy it is to celebrate the exodus of the Jewish people and decorate my home this Passover Spring season! Celebrating our “crossing over” or exodus from personal captivity as well as having empathy while pursuing justice for those still in captivity is an important tenet of Judaism. As a survivor, I speak out against domestic and familial violence this year and every year until there are #nomore victims. May those suffering from various forms of captivity choose to be ever-blooming despite the good, the bad, and the bugly…despite life’s prickly pain! Moreover, may God use each of us to remove the “leaven” of such adversities from our homes and society (Exodus 12:15, 19-20), while pursuing justice for those awaiting an exodus of their very own!

Ever-Blooming During Breast Cancer?

A couple of weeks ago, on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, the day God defines your upcoming year, I accidentally discovered a large lump in one of my breast. It was early in the morning and my breast itched. While laying there and upon scratching my breast, a large, hard lump made itself known. This upcoming Monday, October 5th, during Sukkot or Feast of Tabernacles, which is all about depending on God during our wilderness journey as well as our eternal home, I have my first of presumably several doctor’s appointments.

Perhaps it is a large cyst, perhaps it is benign, or perhaps it is cancer. Regardless, I have learned to praise God, the One in complete control, the One who ordains each day, each trial, and each triumph. I trust Him and His will even if it doesn’t align with my own.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month as well as Domestic Violence Awareness. I have already overcome one and helped many others. Perhaps I will be overcoming another. No matter what the doctors, mammograms, and tests say, I have learned to praise God in all circumstances for in doing so, I have experienced peace, contentment, and even joy. That is the real, eternal miracle. Be ever-blooming despite the prickles! If you pray, I appreciate them on my behalf.

Update: As it turned out, the lump I felt was a cluster of cysts and not cancer. Yay God!