Month

August 2016

A new way to see forgiveness

Everyone always says forgiveness is more about what it does for you, the forgiver, than for the person you are forgiving.
This never made complete sense to me.
As I have been peeling back the layers of my life, I recently had an epiphany about why forgiveness and letting go has not come easily to me.
Learning forgiveness and understanding what it can look like in your own life, and what the steps are can help you find your own power again. It can and will help you let go of the hurt that has stolen from your life. Forgiveness can be life changing to anyone. But it’s not a simple formula. It’s a process and it’s personal to each ones circumstance. There is no magic cure. It takes time, it takes courage in facing the what’s and the why’s, to see the beauty of how and end result of true peace. 

I have many stories in regard to this subject but today I’ll start from the deepest cuts and hardest “what’s”.  

I can’t name a time or a specific childhood experience in which true grace was extended to me to fully grasp or understand it. My memories are laced with guilt trips and reminders of the things I had done wrong, things I said that stirred pots, and lives I somehow negatively affected in just my existing. 
I’m speaking of my childhood first because this is where my basic understanding of what forgiveness was -originally formed. 
Now this doesn’t mean that I wasn’t eventually forgiven for whatever I had done. Of course things go on, people forget, they do move forward. With or without me. 

I just cannot remember doing anything wrong, recognizing my wrong for what it was, even apologizing for it, and honestly having it be forgiven without serious strings of guilt trips and moments of pure shame. 

Maybe I was just a sensitive kid, maybe. Nonetheless, from a young child on I took everything I had ever done wrong to a painfully dark level of shame. 

Everything.  

Presently understanding how the sexual abuse I received shaped my identity then, I understand this behavior and my skewed thought process now completely. 

When I was a child, like most kids, I did many wrong things. I pushed limits, spoke out of turn, and had owed my fair share of apologies and extended them to many. 

But my perspective and process of taking personal accountability for my wrongs took a major downward shift around the age of 8&9. 

Lots was happening then, around me and to me. My parents were working through some serious adultery issues and aside from the sexual abuse taking place on a weekly sometimes daily basis, I also was being bullied at school.

 It’s crazy but little girls that bully don’t have to physically punch you (though that had happened too) to scar someone badly. It’s difficult writing this because of how sad this makes me feel. I always had issues with feeling safe in my environments. 

I had an extremely low self esteem, and the constant fear of abandonment because of all the instability going on with my parents at the time. 

At school, I really would do ANYTHING to be seen. And I mean anything. 

I felt stuck there and I wanted so badly to be able to be accepted and to feel like in some small way good. I had to spend 8 hours of my day there then go home to a lot of fighting and crying so I really wanted to make the best of it. 

Bullying has many forms. In my case, it was more passive aggressive then literal. Certain girls would have me perform tasks in order to “earn” their friendship. The tasks were stupid, degrading, and they knew it but I did it anyway. Little to my knowledge, they didn’t really want to be my friend to begin with, so the tasks would never be completed to their satisfaction and their rejection was ALWAYS the end result.  

I remember pounding my hands into my head crying and thinking to myself … what more could I do to get them to like me?  

Day after day being rejected and ignored, I would repeatedly apologize in the hopes they’d give me another chance.

Eventually they would get tired of my begging and allow me to try again.

I remember feeling so pathetic. But I was desperate. 

I would LITERALLY apologize for being me.  

I hated myself so much that I affirmed their hatred for me through my own pathetic behaviors. 
I thought that maybe if I could do more, change something about myself, that maybe they could overlook my flaws, and just FORGIVE me for being this pathetic excuse of a person and let me in. 

But grace was never shown then. Even if I “earned” it.

After school or on weekends, I went to the babysitter, which was also the home of one of my abusers. 

A few relatives that didn’t like my mother hung around as well and would gossip about her in front of me. Not caring once that it was my mother they were bashing and how the things they repeated in front of me made me feel being her daughter. I never felt welcomed because of the strained relationships that they all had with my mother. I always felt bad for them having to watch me because there is nothing worse than being a kid who hasn’t the power to able to leave a place you are considered a burden. 

This particular location not only holds memories of being a burden to everyone there, but was also the home where my life was changed, my innocence was stolen and the place where most of my abuse had occurred. He would validate the feelings of the girls at school by calling me a fat pig, pushing me around, or just ignoring me all together. Unless I was in his bedroom allowing him to touch me, I was worthless. It was then I learned that the only way to be accepted in this world or to be forgiven by someone was to be able to offer or DO something. 

By this

I was then I was relevant. 

I was then someone who mattered.

I was then someone who could be beautiful. 

I was then someone who could be forgiven for being me and being a burden. 
Processing and then writing these very personal experiences here, I realize that regardless of my age and whether or not I deserved the treatment I received back then, I never was taught how to emotionally forgive someone. 

Because grace had never been extended freely to me, it wasn’t a part my life where I naturally understood how to let go. I never had the foundation blocks in which to appropriately learn what forgiving myself could look like, let alone when I eventually became very angry about things in my life how to extend grace to those who had hurt me. 

Until today. 
On Sunday, my forgiveness epiphany finally happened. A breakthrough moment. An Aha moment of all Oprah moments. 

You see, throughout many years of my life lived destructively, as well as healing in recovery, I believed from my heart that forgiveness is black and white. 

You say your sorry and I forgive and we try again. Well with some people, this is good, this can bring healing and new found hope and changes in lives and even when I read the gospel, forgiveness like this is biblical. 

Turn the other cheek right? 

I have also heard the saying that just because you forgive someone doesn’t mean you have to have them in your life. Well being the black and white personality I am, I have struggled with this statement because in my head, how is this true forgiveness really if you can’t be around me? If I TRULY forgive then I should look at it with a clean heart/slate/new fresh start. 

Ok and in my case I have been there and done that. My heart has been softened and changed immensely. However , this doesn’t mean the person I’m forgiving is really changed or even near the level I might need them to be for me to “let go” of the hurt they are repeatedly causing maybe through triggers or just being them and the memories they provoke. 

So with all that being said Sunday Pastor Janes said it pretty simple enough for this black and white minded girl to understand forgiveness in a new light. 

He said forgiveness doesn’t mean you tell them you have forgiven them, it means you go to God with it because he knows your heart and will allow it to be set free. But here it’s comes… My revelation, he said forgiveness means they no longer OWE you anything. That you have come to the place where you can say there is nothing they can do, give, say, nothing and you are okay with it.

You make your peace with God, and you allow it to go to him. You allow it to be worked through by trusting HE, the creator knows exactly what to do with it. 

Acceptance. Surrender. 

Right? 

If they come to you to apologize, you THEN should accept and forgive out loud, but only until they who have hurt you come. It’s not your job to go to them and tell them you forgive them. You might be stealing the blessing God has in their own “coming to” process. 

In order for Forgiveness to bring peace to our heart it is not just between you and that person,  but instead between you and God. Getting right about it with him.  

So that is what they mean when they say it’s about us… Not them. 

I cannot ever think of anything the girls from my old school could say to me that can replace what they took from me. 

I cannot get back anything from the person who stole my innocence even by his acknowledgement of any wrongdoing now. 

Or even the way those relatives made me feel when they considered me a burden because of who I was. 

There is nothing they can do. 

I’m okay with it and really okay with not having them in my life.I now accept that they owe me nothing. Because nothing will changed what happened. 

 What I owe myself, my husband, my children, my future, is the gift of accepting that simple fact that Gods got this. 

My hope is not in what could have been replaced or what could have went differently. 

My hope, my comforter, my peace comes from HE who is bigger than I can even comprehend. 

HE who knows everything single thing about me and loves me anyway. 

HE who was there when I was at my lowest whispering to me everyday… “Chantel, You were made for more then you can see right now.” 

” Hold on.” 

“Keep going.”

He knew One day I would see how none of them would have the power i once believed they did. 

One day I would see the power I had been given the day I  decided to look up, surrender, and receive it. 

So yes, Forgiveness really isn’t about what it does for them. What it does is, it opens your heart to be filled with a deeper beauty and peace beyond what you ever could comprehend. 

Freedom. 

Romans 8:37-39

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Side note*I know this blog is not for everyone, but if you know someone who would benefit from my stories please share them. #myheartseeshope

Learning the power of being intentional and present

I haven’t had words to write lately. Presently, my hope is being found in being quiet. I am still mothering, working, and day to daying. 

I just recently have found it necessary to be quiet. 

With the presidential race kicking into high gear now, with our world dealing with mass murders weekly, terrorism, mental health issues, racism, hate, and finally the lack of true human connection now with us all on our phones that are suppose to connect us all “better”, I have 3 words that keep repeating in my head lately. 


I just can’t. 
My eyes, my brain, my heart is just having a hard time handling this world. Maybe it’s just me. All I can say is it’s been a lot and a little too much. 

Choosing to be quiet, disconnected from media except when necessary has been really good. Its important to remember that even though the world seems to be insane and falling apart some days, we CAN remain at peace, be grounded, and live a joyful happy life amongst this chaos.  
It’s a choice.

Just turn it off.  Get out of the cage.

Our life today is way too noisy. I truly believe many of the mental health issues that are now at epidemic proportions are because our minds were never meant to process this much information all the time.  

We never rest anymore. Even in bed we are reading, listening, scrolling, taking in information that we may not even know is slowly affecting how we see things and how we feel about or lives and even worse affecting how we feel about ourselves. 

It’s a crisis really.  
I decided to write today, because it doesn’t have to be. Distraction is a huge part of why we are in this crisis. One the positive side, just as easily as distraction can become a problem turned crisis, self awareness and consciousness can be the solution to grow the healthy & joyful life we all truly want for ourselves. 

We must become aware of how the world around us is affecting us personally. This means we must take the time to learn more about ourselves. 

Go deeper. 

The irritants that rattle my cage, the personalities that cause me stress and bring me down, may not necessarily affect others at all. So it’s been imperative I know what things are affecting me negatively and being pro active about being aware and protective of what I choose to allow in. 

The spirit of FEAR plays a lot into what can bring me down daily.  Especially when I’m opening myself up to listening to the news or scrolling through social media platforms.  I have found more recently now than ever, I have had more bouts of anxiety and fearfulness in places and social situations than I ever did growing up. Which seems crazy considering my history, but it’s true. 

I’m not sure being this connected to the whole world is better for us. The most important part of my life, my children, are growing up in what the news describes as a violent, intolerant, and hateful world. Social media and openly sharing our feelings and opinions can breed anger from those who do not agree as well. Thus the feelings begin. 

Which brings me to what I believe fear also breeds, SELF CENTEREDNESS. My hurts, pains, cares, passions, are not everyone’s hurts, pains, cares, or passions.  So what makes me think that my thoughts and beliefs are more valid, relevant, important, or more true than other people’s thoughts or beliefs? 

Who am I to judge others ideas or opinions based on my experiences only? Who am I to believe that my way is the ONLY way? Thinking this way is narrow minded as well as isolating. Should I really fear all of those who think differently than me? At times,  I do.  

So what’s been a manageable solution for me?  

Well, this week I chose to do my life completely differently than ever before. Everyday I chose to wake up renewing my mind with mediating on what matters most to me. God. Prayers of gratitude for all he has given to me. 

Before I even opened my eyes. I just laid in bed and awoke and thought, my house survived another thunderstorm, my body doesn’t hurt, and my family is with me one more day safe and sound.  Recognizing that alone those are true blessing before even getting out of bed. 
I also chose to continue to care for my health and my heart by running with my family every morning. My body needs the physical exertion to handle the stressors of the day,  and my heart needs quality time with my loves. My hubby and my kids. We have some great talks then. 


I chose to dress up for work even when I knew no one would be working with me all day nor would anyone even see me that day.  I chose this because it makes me feel good about who I am and acknowledging the fact I am a business owner. I may be alone right now at Dream2Be but one day I will have built something great. It’s important to enjoy it “as if” To think about my career “as if” it is everything I want it to be feels great. Even when it’s not quite there yet. Because I know one day it will be. 

I chose to text my kids when I was thinking about them with little silly bitmojis of love that only a cheesy momma would send. 


I chose to apologize to my husband much sooner, when my expectations of him were unreasonable and it made for a much happier week. 

I chose to pray every time I felt overwhelmed and it really did help me regroup and refocus. 


What I didn’t do this week was choose to just watch the news just because that something to do. I was intentional. I made sure I was in the mood to handle the information since 99% seems to be negative. 

 I didn’t just open up Facebook or Instagram to mindlessly scroll.  I intentionally opened it to market my business, say hello to some, like posts I really do like. 

I chose not to begin any part of my day choosing to fill my head with others people thoughts or experiences from their statuses and instead took back the power and chose my own thoughts and experiences. 

We must be careful. We may indirectly or unknowingly be allowing our power to be given to the world when we allow this all of this stuff in by distraction.

Choose to give attention and power to what makes your heart happy, your mind calm, and your eyes will look at the world more positively.

No, it wasn’t a perfect week by any means, but I can say that it was a good one and it’s really because of the choices I made.  

I used to smoke. And just like smoking, one day I said enough is enough.  I was getting sick and tired of getting sick and smelling terribly. So one day after 7 other tries, I just really quit. 
It’s up to us.  We have the choice and we can change how we live. We just have to understand who we are, make a decision based on that knowledge and take action.  

One day at a time we can change. One day at a time we can see everything differently. 

Only dead fish go with the flow…


#nevergiveup