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A Different Simone Biles Take

A friend from college posted this on his FB page regarding the drama surrounding Simone Biles and her decision to withdraw from the team events.

I haven’t heard anything else, whether she’s withdrawing from the WHOLE competition or just the team. Whatever it is, that’s HER business. It’s HER health.

We do not know what she is going through mentally. Like David says below, ” And then to have the eyes of the world upon you and carrying the stress of being the face of a global event…that’s a lot! That’s also why I think people need to be slower to criticize and quicker to show empathy and compassion.

I will be joining my friend David in standing behind mental health warriors. Mental health is so so important. It’s crucial

Read on:

A Different Simone Biles Take

Two weeks ago I interviewed a woman who was a victim of sexual assault during her college years. Rather than me summarizing her story, I’d like to share her words with you:

“It wasn’t until I became a mom that I started having anxiety, and I didn’t understand why. I had a loving husband, two beautiful boys, and I was no longer in my childhood. I asked a therapist, ‘Why is this happening now? There’s nothing I’m afraid of. There’s no stress in my life.’ He said, ‘Bonnie, did you know that a soldier doesn’t experience anxiety and panic attacks when he’s fighting, when he’s being strong on the battlefield, when he’s protecting others? When does he start feeling his anxiety and panic attacks?’ I said, ‘When he comes home.’ He said, ‘Exactly. When he’s safe. That’s when he starts experiencing the depression and anxiety and the fear that he couldn’t when he was out on the battlefield.’ I had hidden all these things about myself and they were finally expressing themselves in anxiety and depression.”

I have no idea what Simone Biles is dealing with, other than what’s been made public. What I do know is that this young woman has endured more in her 24 years than most of us will ever have to deal with. She’s experienced childhood hunger. She was in foster care. She experienced sexual abuse at the hands of a team doctor. I can’t even fathom what it’s like to deal with those issues. I’m thankful I’ll never know. And then to have the eyes of the world upon you and carrying the stress of being the face of a global event…that’s a lot! That’s also why I think people need to be slower to criticize and quicker to show empathy and compassion.

I’ve been disheartened today hearing some of these “hot takes” about Simone Biles from “tough guys” who argue she failed her teammates and her country. Many of these people don’t believe in the seriousness of anxiety and depression, seeing it as nothing more than basic stress and laziness. And that is why I shared the story above from Bonnie Gray.

It’s sad to see people try to flex and downplay mental health. I know a lot of these guys think they look masculine, but they actually come across as weak and too prideful for their own good. I’ve talked to far too many men who are struggling with mental health but are afraid to get help. Why? Because they know they’ll get mocked and ridiculed for being “weak.” So, they suffer in silence.

This isn’t about laziness, weakness, or participation trophies (Simone’s trophy case has more gold than I’ll ever see in my life). This is about a young woman and her personhood–something that is much bigger than the Olympic Games (and it’s called “Games” for a reason).

Mental health warriors, you can count on me always having your back! Don’t let those who don’t understand and who don’t want to understand knock you down or make you feel less than.

And though I doubt Simone Biles will ever see this, she’s got a lifelong fan in me!

Same, David. Same. 🙂


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God Looks at the Heart

I suffer from major self-esteem issues. Between my weight and my dental problems I honestly can’t stand the way I look sometimes.

I’ve always struggled with my looks. I’ve never thought of myself as pretty. My self esteem has always been low. My confidence has always been almost non-existent. I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember.

Add serious dental problems and it’s depressing. (I am getting dentures though! My insurance expanded to cover extensive dental work, including dentures!!! PRAISE THE LORD!)

But then I read verses like 1 Samuel 16:7 and it gets me to thinking that I need not worry because God is not looking at my outward appearance as man does but rather the nature of my heart.

1 Peter 3:3-4

Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.

Proverbs 31:30

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
    but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.

The Lord is more concerned with the state of our heart.

He cares about what is on the inside.

How is your heart “appearance?”

Do you struggle with inner beauty?

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There’s nothing like having a great friend. You know the one I’m talking about, the friend who has your back throughout everything and even if you lose contact for a little while, it doesn’t matter because y’all pick up right where you left off as if nothing happened.

I met some really wonderful friends during my time at Welch College. They are lifetime friends. One in particular, my best bud, is one of those friends. We’ve lost contact throughout the years….life happens, you know?

But recently we’ve reconnected and I realize how much I truly do miss her. She’s in Mississippi and I’m in Virginia. But though we can’t see each other as often as we’d like, it’s okay!

She’s a godly woman. She loves Christ and her family and is pretty much the definition of the Proverbs 31 woman.

She is clothed with strength and dignity,

    and she laughs without fear of the future.

When she speaks, her words are wise,

    and she gives instructions with kindness.

Proverbs 31:25-26

17 And Jonathan made David reaffirm his vow of friendship again, for Jonathan loved David as he loved himself.
1 Samuel 20:17

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Let the Research Begin!

A co-worker brought this quote to me on Friday. I love it! It’s so true!

I’ve always struggled with confidence when it comes to my writing. Will anyone like what I write?

But this quote was a good reminder that my words matter. If I want to read a book that hasn’t been written then it’s up TO ME to write it!

Writing used to be something I only did for myself. I didn’t like anyone reading my stuff because what if it sucks? What if it’s stupid?

But as I grow as a writer I gain a little more confidence each time I put pen to paper.

This “project” as I like to call it now (not ready to call it a book just yet.) is going to take some time. I know this. I’m going to struggle sometimes. I need to remember that I won’t always sit down and write pages upon pages. Some days I may write 10 pages, other’s 5….I’m taking it one step, one word, one sentence at a time.

Buckle up y’all….it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

It’s getting real. 🙂

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Living For Christ

20 For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. 21 For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better

Philippians 1:20-21

so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

Colossians 1:10

How am I living for Christ? Do I emulate Him in all I say and do at work?

Is He being magnified in my every day life?

I won’t bow to idols, I’ll stand strong and worship You
And if it puts me in the fire, I’ll rejoice ’cause You’re there too
I won’t be formed by feelings, I hold fast to what is true
If the cross brings transformation then I’ll be crucified with You
‘Cause death is just the doorway into resurrection life
And if I join You in Your suffering, then I’ll join You when You rise
And when You return in glory with all the angels and the saints
My heart will still be singing, my song will be the same

Christ Be Magnified

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I’m Writing a Book! (For real this time)

I’m in the process of writing that book I mentioned I wanted to write 3 years ago, LOL. I’ve got two close friends who are going to keep me accountable and are going to be praying for me as I embark on this journey.

Whether or not it gets published, at least I will have the satisfaction that I wrote a book.

If you want to write, you can
Fear stops most people from writing, not lack of talent.
Who am I? What right have I to speak?
Who will listen to me?
You are a human being with a unique story to tell.
You have every right.

Richard Rhodes
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Hurt People HURT People

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Colossians 3:12-14

Forgiveness can be hard. I know this. I have struggled with this. We all have at one point or another. But we are required to forgive! Just as the Lord forgave us we are required to forgive.

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[g]

23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[h] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[i] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Matthew 18:21-35

God freely forgives us and gives us eternal life. But he also expects us to extend that same mercy to others, with strict warnings to us if we don’t. A life of judgement, condemnation and unforgiveness is a prison.

Refusing to forgive someone puts us in prison! A prison full of anger and bitterness! We must be willing to forgive! To let go of the anger and bitterness and move forward.

“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.”
Catherine Ponder

Yes, I know. Some hurts are hard to move on from. But the longer a person stays unwilling to forgive, the longer it will control us. And the longer it controls us, the longer the anger and bitterness remain, causing us to hurt others.

And as the saying goes, “Hurt people HURT people!” We tend to take the hurt we’ve been dealt and lash out towards others. Sometimes these people haven’t even done anything to us but they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Holding a grudge toward the person who hurt you just isn’t right. It isn’t what God wants from us. He wants us to “let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31:32)

Forgive. It really will set you free.

Forgive. God forgave you.

35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Matthew 18:35
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Christ Be Magnified

Every year the denomination I’m affiliated with has a National Convention. I’ve had the pleasure of serving as an intern for a couple years in college and absolutely enjoyed it.

I haven’t been in years due to the different sites being too far to travel. But next year it is going to be held in Birmingham and while it’s an 11 hour drive I’m determined to make it there.

The year following Birmingham it will be held in Raleigh, NC. That’s only a 3 hour drive so I’m definitely going to that one. 🙂 🙂 🙂

While I wasn’t able to go this year (it was in Memphis) the wonderful tech people live streamed the services. I watched each day this week and it was such a blessing.

“Christ be magnified, Let His praise arise. Christ be magnified in me. “

Cody Carnes

The services are always such a blessing but tonight’s was especially so.

I sure do love my Lord and Savior. He was definitely in each of the services this week.

I want people to see Jesus in me! He saved my life and he can save yours!

We serve such an amazing God.

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Mental Health Quotes/Verses

“Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it isn’t so.” Lemony Snicket

I cannot stand the words “Get over it”. All of us are under such pressure to put our problems in the past tense. Slow down. Don’t allow other to hurry your healing. It is a process, one that may take years, occasionally, even a lifetime – and that’s OK.” Beau Taplin

“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.” ― C.S. Lewis

“Even as a Christian, you’ll have good days and you’ll have bad days but you’ll never have a day without God.” Unknown

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”  Psalm 73:26

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  2 Corinthians 12:9

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

It’s Going to Be Okay….

As I’ve said before, life is already hard. Add mental illness on top of that and life can get extremely difficult.

But guess what? It is going to be okay. Jesus promises that even though we suffer here on earth (He promises that we will….) BUT we are to take heart! Why? Because He has OVERCOME THE WORLD!!!

I’m Writing a Book! (Maybe?)

I want to write a book. I’ve been saying this for several years….if not a couple decades if I’m being honest, LOL

I asked two close friends to keep me accountable this go around. I told them to just check in with me every couple of days. I feel if I have someone in my corner, rooting for me and keeping me on the path to accomplishment then I can do it. AND I have God on my side too. With His help, I can do this.

I’m currently in a manic state right now and am wondering if this sudden burst of energy and impulse is a part of the mania. I’m trying to work through this. I so badly want to write a book. I refuse to let any kind of mental illness stop me. I have GOD on my side.