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Meet Monique Thomas! What is God Trusting You to Handle??

Sunday, March 11, 2018

The celebration continues!!!
In honor of Women's History Month, I am highlighting some amazing women on the blog. 
Today's woman is Monique Thomas! Monique was once my Supervisor. Crazy right? She went from being my boss to being my friend. I met Monique in 2010 and our friendship is one that is really special to me. Our friendship has withstood some ups and downs and I am so thankful to have her in my life. Monique has a powerful story and I asked her to share on my blog today. Just as I expected, she provides some amazing GEMS!!!! 

Meet Monique.....
In her own words!!

Hey, #SundaysWithTot crew!  What an honor it is to be featured during this month’s theme.  I am Mo - a mother to four of the most amazing kids on earth, a lover of Jesus who loves to encourage and empower people in all walks of life to believe in themselves, love themselves and know that they were put here on this Earth to carry out a specific purpose.  

Now that we’ve gotten the preliminaries out of the way, I would like to share a story with you.  It’s the story of a dark chocolate girl who grew up in the 80s when being dark skinned wasn’t as “My Black is Beautiful” as it is now.  She was raised by her mother and grandmother, had a drug-addicted father who was in and out of the first 10 years of her life before deciding to remove himself entirely.  A girl who walked around never really fitting in or having a voice of her own – feeling invisible.  Even though she grew up in church and knew of God, she allowed her “Daddy issues” and low self-esteem to put her on the wrong path and she got pregnant at the age of 15.  Knowing that there was no way she could raise her son on her own, she fully committed her life to God and her life changed!  She finished high school, married her childhood sweetheart, they became a blended family and raised four beautiful children.  Life was good.  I mean, it had its challenges – bad medical reports, job losses, family issues, car repossessions, times when money was tight and utilities were shut off, but they made it all work.  She and her husband were a team in everything they did – family, church and ministry.   They had a great balanced life; they loved God, each other and their children.  Everything was going good.  In 2011, she lost her grandmother to pancreatic cancer and four months later, her husband of 13 years died of a sudden heart attack.

Can I ask you some questions?  What do you do when everything about the “norm” of your life is suddenly taken from you?  How do you handle the very foundations of what you’ve established for your life dissolving with the sound of a steady beep on a heart monitor?  How much is too much? Why do bad things always happen to good people?

I was that dark chocolate girl and after losing my grandmother and my husband, these were some of the questions I asked and that were asked of me.  I never really experienced death before and to have two people so close to me die within such a short time was devastating.  I had to make a decision the day my husband died – let my children either loose both parents that day or allow God to walk me through the process of grief in order to be healed and have my sanity.  I decided to put my hands in God’s and took His lead.  Now, I wish I could tell you that in following God’s direction, I had a “Super Saint” cape on and everything went great from that day forward.  I wish I could tell you that I did not have moments of wanting life to just stop so that I could catch my breath and wallow in grief.  I even wish I could tell you that I made all the right decisions on being the only parent to my children, handling financial issues or moments of feeling lonely.  I especially wish I could tell you that I kept my faith and trust in God.  Those are all wishes, but what I can tell you is that with God, I’ve learned the proper way to deal with the pain, forgive those who hurt me, and believe again.  

Dealing with the Pain

No matter how long or short you have lived on this Earth, I am sure that you’ve experienced some sort of pain or trauma.  This could be due to the death of a loved one, a rape, a miscarriage, molestation, a divorce, the end of a friendship, job, or even church membership.  There are several other things that I could list here but whatever the situation is or was, know that there is a period of grief you must go through.  I like to call it the “grieving process”.  Everyone’s grieving process is different; it’s up to you to go through it in a healthy or unhealthy manner.  What do I mean?  I’m glad you asked!  Grieving healthy means being real and open with your raw emotions.  Don’t be a lone ranger and think you can handle your pain or trauma alone.  Talk to someone and be brutally honest about how you’re feeling.  I shared my good, bad, sad and angry days with family and friends that I trusted. I also saw a grievance counselor.  This gave me the ability to get those feelings out and deal with them.  Holding those feelings in is toxic.  They will destroy you mentally and physically.  Do not just share your feelings with family and friends – share them with God as well.  He can handle them much better than anyone on this Earth can!  I found that I received a greater release and stronger peace when I shared my feelings with God.  If you can’t put words together, journal your feelings and share them with people you trust or read them to God in prayer.  I had days that I didn’t grieve properly and would end up in a pit of sorrow.  By God’s grace, I was always able to get from that pit by worship.  I’d play some worship music and just cry out to God.  Some days I yelled others I could not speak at all.  God is a big God and King and He can not only handle our emotions but also help us deal with them.  

Forgive, Forgive, Forgive

We all know that forgiveness is not for the person who offended us but it’s actually to help us move forward.  I believe that some of us struggle in this area because we believe that forgiving means that we are saying the pain or trauma we experienced was okay.  No it wasn’t okay for your uncle or father to come into your bedroom at night while you were seven; no it wasn’t okay for your brother to be gunned down in the streets by gangs.  Forgiving the person does not mean that you are saying what they did was okay.  It’s choosing to not allow something that happened to you, become who you are.  Sometimes you have to forgive yourself.  There are also times where you may have to forgive God.  What?!  Yes honey, forgive God.  I had to forgive God for not answering my prayers to heal my grandmother from cancer and bring my husband back to life.  I couldn’t blame God for my pain.  I realized that God doesn’t make these painful situations happen to us; but He uses them for the making of us and to show us who He is in our lives, if we allow Him.   And remember, forgiveness is something you walk out.  Just because you still feel the pain when you look at the person who hurt you, doesn’t mean that you haven’t forgiven them.  It could mean that you are still healing or just have to remind yourself that you have forgiven that person, yourself or God.

Believe Again

This my friends is probably the hardest part of overcoming pain and trauma.  It’s great to grieve properly and to forgive your offender, but believing again can almost seem impossible.   I struggled believing that I could have another marriage as good as the one I had.  I even struggled believing that I could trust God again with my future.  After all, the future He originally told me I’d have with my husband and children went away with no warning.  So how do you believe again?  How do you trust again?  I began to take baby steps.  I couldn’t fully believe and trust God for my entire future so I began trusting and believing Him in my “today”.  I’d wake up each morning and thank Him for that day, for Him being with my family and me and leading us and providing everything that we needed for that day.   I also clung to Psalm 34:18 - The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Find a scripture that relates to your situation and write it out, make it the screensaver on your phone, pin it, post it – do whatever you need to do to get that scripture memorized and down in your heart.  Then repeat it every day until you believe the words down to your core.  I believe and trust God now more than ever with my future.  I also believe that I will find another great husband – so if you know of any tall, handsome…. LOL!

I want to leave you with this… When I first lost my husband, I thought that no one in the world could understand what I was going through.  I felt as though no one’s situation was exactly like ours, that they didn’t love each other the way we did.  But I soon found that I wasn’t the only one who lost a spouse at a young age, with children.  You are never alone.  But remember, while there are others with similar stories, your story is uniquely yours.  Allow God to heal your scars and pain so that you can see the other side of it and help others.  I’ve helped more people from my place of brokenness than I ever did before the pain, trauma and loss occurred.  I wouldn’t wish my life on anyone but I will say that I never knew God to this magnitude before and I’m grateful that He saw my loss and trusted me to handle the process so that I can help others.  

What is God trusting you to handle? 

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