Truly Caribbean Woman

A Thankful Heart

Nerissa is a member of the Diary of a Single Mom bloggers network.  Real women. Real Mothers. Real Life.

The late 90s and into the 21st Century seemed to be all about showing gratitude. All the talk shows and authors were promoting this wonderful idea that we should be more thankful and less sorrowful about the shouldas, wouldas, and couldas.

It seemed no more than a nice thing to practice then, but now I know it as the best way to live. A friend called me recently needing my opinion on depression and how to deal with it. After a few moments of thought, I told her she needed to be more thankful. Depression can’t live in a thankful heart or spirit, I said with confidence. I knew it to be true as I remember fighting my way out of depression, not with drugs but with prayer and thanksgiving.

It is not the easiest thing to do when your cupboards are empty and your marriage is failing, but get thankful. You may have been out of a job for more years than you’ve had one, and the bills don’t even come anymore in your name because you don’t own anything or live anywhere, but get thankful.

Nerissa, if I could come up with one thing to be thankful for I would but I can’t think of any. Nothing good is happening to me and it sucks to be me right now. Girl, get thankful. Be thankful that you have a sound mind, be thankful that you found a moment to read this column, be thankful that you can breathe.

Don’t try to rationalize it or measure whether it is wrong or right just be thankful. When the bills do show up, still say a big thank you. I do, because I can remember when I had to depend on others to shelter, feed, and clothe me and my kids. I am thankful because I have a job even when it is challenging and frustrating. I am thankful even when at the end of the day, I’m just exhausted, needing to write but not having the energy to do it. I am thankful for my children even on those days when I ask myself “What did I get myself into?” Is it too late to give them back?

Life brings us many opportunities to just be down and frustrated, but every one of those moments are also a chance to overcome them through thanksgiving. I pray for you that you will have a thankful heart, especially on the days when there seems to be no valid reason to say thank you, say it anyway.

Nerissa Golden is the mother of four amazing children and lives on the island of Montserrat. She is the author of Truly Caribbean Woman’s Guide to Good Love and The Making of a Caribbeanpreneur: Strategies for Overcoming Fear and Building Wealth. Find more of her writings at www.trulycaribbean.net.

Great Expectations

Nerissa is a member of the Diary of a Single Mom bloggers network. Real women. Real Mothers. Real Life.

Recently, a friend called me seeking my advice about hiring a babysitter for her little girl. I quickly supported her desire for some free time to take for herself without the guilt of not giving her child 100% of her attention.

A babysitter, nanny, and maid, are on my list every year but just not in my budget. I don’t bother feeling guilty anymore about needing time to myself. I deserve it and require it to be the best mom, and I don’t make a big deal about finding the money or the quiet moments to breathe. Those quiet moments and the resources find me right on time.

I wish I could say I always thought this way, but I’ve cried too about feeling tired and cranky because all I wanted was to be able to get my nails done or as some other bloggers have noted afford to buy new underwear. But stacked up against the needs of my four children, underwear just wasn’t in my top ten needs for my household.

When I was married, it was a given that the children were with me. There were never any offers to “go spend some time with your girlfriends or get your hair done while I watch the children”. Any requests I made to do such were rebuffed. So upon my divorce, I didn’t expect to have those options. I just kept doing what I was doing all along -plan my work life and every other activity around the needs and schedule of my children.

Life always gives you what you expect and believe for. I knew there was more to be had than to be the lowest priority in my own life. I began to expect to have some free time and be able to afford my personal needs without having to sacrifice what the children needed.

Changing my expectations brought me more options and offers. As I raised my expectations to include some time to myself, friends began to offer to watch the children so I could have a Saturday afternoon to spend as I chose. I made a conscious effort to plan my budget and include one of my personal needs to the monthly shopping list. I’ve had moments when I play ping pong with the item putting it in the cart, taking it out and then putting it back again. Walk to the counter with it, take it all the way back, drive off without it and then go straight back to get it. It’s been a fight to include me in my life list, but it’s getting easier.

More and more it has become apparent that increasing my expectations and desires draws those offers to babysit, pedicure gift cards, ladies night out, even a date or two. Being willing to add myself to the shopping list brings me gifts that were only on that mental list in my head. Having a desire to embrace the love and generosity of others makes me as generous too.

The greatest expectation and reward has been the knowledge that I am not parenting alone. Above all others my Heavenly Father who has promised to be a Father to my children and a Husband to me is consistent about His commitment. More often than I care to admit, I go headlong into my plans and problem solving mode and begin to stress out before I remember to ask for God’s advice.

The minute I say I am worried about my son or one of my daughters, he is quick to remind Him that He promised to Father them and I can literally feel the load life. The fact that they all needed shoes and new clothing was panicking me but I know that is a piece of cake for Him. My requests never faze Him. In fact, He is so quick to respond I chastise myself for waiting so late and stressing before sharing my concerns and needs.

Everything in our life today is a result of a conscious or unconscious expectation. My desire is to keep believing and expecting that only good will come to me and those around me. As I wait expectantly, I give to others what I desire to receive in my own life and for my children.

Nerissa Golden is the mother of four amazing children and lives on the island of Montserrat. She is the author of Truly Caribbean Woman’s Guide to Good Love and The Making of a Caribbeanpreneur: Strategies for Overcoming Fear and Building Wealth. Find more of her writings at www.trulycaribbean.net.

The Year of a Thousand Tears

HaitiMiami-CPI’ve been praying and searching to see if anyone has written anything about this. It was the words spoken to me by a man, I did not recognize who showed up in a vision one year ago. He asked me what year it was and at the time I was working on a piece called “The Year of the Giver” and he said “No, It’s the Year of a Thousand Tears.”

Since then I have watched as tragedy after tragedy unfolded and in 2009, many of them had to do with airlines. By the end of 2009, I wanted it to be that it was the end of the tears but as I write, tears a falling by the thousands in Haiti and around the world as people struggle for life, for answers, for hope.

As usual, I don’t write when I know all the answers but hoping that as I process my thoughts unto paper, answers would be revealed.

I don’t have many tears these days and I am not distressed by it. Seems like I spent so many years crying that it is a relief not to break down at every rough spot. That is not to say I don’t feel like crying at times but somehow God sends someone to stop them before they even spill out. My tears in the past few months haven’t been of sadness but of immense joy and I haven’t given way to them as I would have if they were for feelings of despair.

2007 to 2009 was a year of separation and preparation for me and many others. It seemed during that period a host of men and women were broken in their spirit and forced to their knees desiring one thing, to know Him in the power of His resurrection. Many of us like the part about resurrection, cause it speaks to life beginning again, second chances, power and authority. Not a lot of us want anything to do with the other part of that verse which says “and in the fellowship of His suffering.” Who wants to find fellowship in suffering like Jesus did?

Certainly not me but when I remember what it was that Jesus did on my behalf and the world, then I don’t want to desire anything but to be with Him and like Him as close as I possibly can. Its all fancy words that you hear people testify about it in church but its so hard to make the decision. I have had to repent more than once about speaking those fancy words without the “cajones” to back them up. I continue to learn to shut my mouth and let the spirit direct even what I should be ambitious enough to desire.

We won’t all suffer painful deaths or tragedy. Some of us will suffer from isolation because we choose the roads less traveled and dare to dream and do stuff others don’t have the courage to. Some will cry tears of joy when they hold a newborn baby, others at the loss of a loved one. Some will cry when their marriage ends, others that elusive love and commitment have finally found them. Some will mourn and cry for too many regrets and pain caused that they can never take back, others will cry because they didn’t have the courage to stand up for themselves.

A burden is lifting right now, for as usual the answer to that line of the vision is clear. As long as we live, there will be reasons for tears. We each will shed a thousand tears or more this year, not all for ourselves, not all for sad or tragic reasons. My prayer for you is that they are honest tears and once shed, someone will be there to help you dry your eyes and move forward with joy.

Verses:

Philippians 3:10
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

Revelation 21:4
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

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  1. Isaiah 25:8
    He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.
    Isaiah 25:7-9 (in Context) Isaiah 25 (Whole Chapter)