Esther the Queen of Civil Disobedience

This is my second post on my series on biblical character Esther. Her story is proof that the bible is full of practical instructions before leaving Earth.

 

I have read the book of Esther several times. One reason I favor Esther is because the story is about a woman. It seems at times that Christianity is patriarchal.  Esther’s story affirms that God loves women too. I started an online bible study on the book of Esther in the midst of the community in Ferguson, Missouri to  Mike brown’s shooting. Civil disobedience was practiced in biblical days in response to injustice.  The strategies of  protest are: first mourn, Do not be quiet and just accept the situation. The community should gather together and demand change.

 

Great Mourning is an appropriate response to injustice

 In chapter we learning that great mourning was the response to the edict King Xerxes? signed saying the Jews could be killed without repercussions.  In America police can brutalize and murder citizens without consequences.  Just like there was history between the Agagite and Jews. There has been a history of mistrust and racism with the police department.   The community especially blacks in Ferguson feels their government does not care about their welfare. Citizens of Ferguson and beyond showed their grief through protest. In Ferguson some chose to vented their grief  as anger resulting in the destruction of property.  When King  Xerxes signed the edict Jews once again where displaced. They had tried to blend with the dominate current, but now they were rejected.

 

Don’t be quiet and just accept

Esther’s uncle  Mordecai taught us Don’t be quiet and just accept. When he overheard citizens plotting to kill the king. He relayed the information to Esther so she could inform the king. When Mordecai discover Haman’s evil plan, he went to Esther and  asked her to talk the king. Esther could have just been quiet , and allowed her people to perish.  The king didn’t know she was a jew. Just like Mordecai she refused to just accept injustice.

 

Gather together

When they were mourning the king’s decision  Jews stood together and they fasted together before Esther went before the king.  Leaders have organized many marches and protest rallies. People all over the world have gathered prayed and protested police brutality especially the killing of mike brown.

 

Demand Justice

Mordecai demanded that Esther speak to king on behalf. Esther asked the King for justice at  banquet she organized. Later Esther asked the King again until she had justice. Grassroots have continued asked  for justice from local government.

 

Leaders rise

By the  conclusion of the book of Esther, we have learned that leaders rise. Esther was promoted from harem to queen. Then after becoming queen receiving honor for saving her people. Mordeci went from a jewish elder to the kings’s advisor. Traumatic events cause Esther and Mordeci to step up to leadership. We have seen local leaders in the St. Louis metro area  rise up and organize, pray and keep the peace.

 

 

Attitude attracts promotion (What job seekers can learn from Esther)

I have decided to embrace the writing 101 challenge. One of the suggestions was to do a series. I am going to do a series on Esther. I am cheating a little because originally this post was on my other blog The People’s Employment Journal. Those post were inspired from various workshops I attended on job search strategies and techniques.

 

Shh it’s a secret. In the video The Secret it expresses the idea that attitude attracts promotion. Yes, it true. It is a tested principle. The principle is clearly illustrated in Esther. As a job seeker there are lessons that can be learned from Esther’s experience. Esther is a biblical heroine who went from being an orphan to prestigious job tile as Queen.

In the book of Esther the text explains how an orphan developed good character and was selected to replace the Queen. You can start in a lowly position and a good attitude can promote you to a higher position. Esther was kidnapped and taken to be a part of the kings harem. That’s not an ideal place, the odds were against her attaining the position of Queen. She did not let the seemingly bad odds affect her attitude.

As a job seeker the odds are not good but don’t let that effect your attitude. Sometimes when change occurs attitude can sour and affect our appearance As a job seeker you can not afford to let your appearance be lacking. Look your best. Poor or inappropriate appearance can prevent you from getting the job you want. Look professional at your interview remove anybody jewelry ( No piercing).

Appearance
Make your self beautiful

Esther received 6 months of treatments with myrrh and 6 cosmetics and perfume. Wear perfume or cologne, make sure it’s not overpowering. The interview should not smell you before they see you. Your shoes should be polished. Get a good night’s rest don’t show up looking sleepy or tired.

Esther showed hospitality and cheer. As a job seeker you can do the same. Did you speak to the receptionist or whom ever greeted you? Speak to everyone you come in contact with and smile at the job site. A handshake signals the official beginning of the interview. You want your handshake to be firm and strong, not over powering.

Research

When applying for a  job research is important. Esther asked Hegai, what she should bring. She didn’t show up empty-handed. She did her research. Job seekers must research. Empower your self with knowledge. Research the company by going online, reading the newspaper or skins. Do bring extra copies of your resume. Be ready to answer questions about yourself and past  work experience. Bring your questions about the job, company even the industry.

Esther’s narrative empathized the importance of first impression, which are based on appearance and conduct. First impressions are made quickly and they are deciding factor in who gets the job. From The book of Esther we can learn the importance of appearance and research,these characteristics display  your  attitude.  A good attitude is vital to a successful job search.

#Suicide Awareness

Good can come from bad things. Since  Robin Williams death there has been more discussion about depression and suicide. There have been over celebrate suicide but  for some reason more people were impacted by Robin Williams and have began the conversation about  depression and suicide. In 2011 (the most recent year for which data are available), 39,518 suicides were reported, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death for Americans. In that year, someone in the country died by suicide every 13.3 minutes. Suicide Prevention

When I was in high school at least one person committed suicide each year. I personally there have been times in my life when I was suicidal and I have dealt with family member who have attempted suicide and other who have had suicidal thoughts.

 When I was 12 years old I took an overdose of over the counter pills, prescription pills and wine. I didn’t think it was a suicide attempt but the nun at  the hospital said it was.  During high school I would usually feel suicidal around my birthday.  After high school I  no longer had suicidal periods but I dealt with major depression.  At one point after going to a domestic violence shelter for the second time in my life and losing the majority of my belongings I became suicidal. I left worthless and useless.  I wanted to just intentional get hit by a car, what stopped me was I figured my daughters would come run into traffic with me.  I have dealt with depression and even going through domestic violence and homeless, I still have hope.

I had an epiphany last year, I realize despite all the I had been through I continued to have hope.  My children encourage me to have hope. In Cornitnaths it states Love is patient Love is Kind,  Love endures all things. Love is the essence of Hope.  It continues despite obstacles and it is the only thing that survives.

 If you do feel suicidal or just depressed there are a lot of resources out there. Just remember “True joy and happiness are valuable. If one does not survive , no joy and no happiness are obtainable.” quote from L Ron Hubbard

 

Learn about CHADS

Suicide Awareness Voices of Education

 

Music that speaks to my Heart

Last night a DJ changed my life with a song…

 

My cousin inspired me to get back into blogging. So lately  started writing new post and showing blog love to my fellow bloggers. Writing allows you to use words to express ideas and emotions. With writing just like any other art form, writers influence each other. Writing allows you to use words to express ideas and emotions. Songs express emotion and tell stories as well.  I read a post by  a gifted blogger about  songs that were significant to her. So as with most good ideas people copy.

Before every thinking about this post , I talked with my daughter about what songs I would pick as the soundtrack to  my life. My musical taste definitely show I am the child of the 70’s. One of my all time favorite songs is  Slave, “ Watching  You”. I just enjoy the song it makes me want to dance even though I am not a dancer. It just represent cool to me.  To me it is  the story of watching somebody you have a crush on, but not being ready to express it yet.  But if they happen to look in your eyes they see that glimmer while you are checking them out.

As a young girl I listened to quiet storm music and  daydreamed about getting married and have a passionate loving relationship with my husband. I guess I thought it would make up for how lonely I felt. I was always loved Diana Ross hit song, “I am coming Out”,  It just seemed like a celebratory anthem. At first my attraction to the song was because I was shy and  I knew on the inside I was an extrovert. Over the years what I am coming out has changed from domestic violence, depression, poverty to just feeling empowered.

I guess my other favorite song was influenced by my wish to escape a childhood influence by abuse. The Commodores , “Zoom” I think my Dad also influenced my liking the song because he was always talked about flying,  and space. Many days I  think  I would like to  fly far away from here. Growing up I had so many labels of dumb, stupid, being a fool, ugly.Being who I want to be appealed to me.

After going through a traumatic period during my 8th grade year.  I found comfort in Tears for Fears, “Songs from the Big Chair”. Of course I could relate to Shout, the theme for teenage expression for freedom. There was so much that I had kept in for years and it was beginning to spill out. I listen to the album on repeat for hours as I paced around the coffee table in the living room at my Grandma’s house.  I loved the line “we are paid by those who learned by our mistakes”, in the single “ Working hour.”  At that point in life I had already made some huge mistakes that had a dramatic impact. My choices had led to major depression. I was feeling hopeless. I was in an overwhelming emotional amount of pain.

As a teenager, I didn’t realize that fear had already started wrapping me up in chains. Head over Heals was one of my favorites.” I would curse, nurse my pain while singing along to, “ I believe”, I tried to encourage myself that when the pain and hurting were gone I would be strong.    When Tears for Fears released Sowing the Seeds of Love, the single “Woman in Chains” is what I identified with. As I grow older I can I  say lived the song through all the controlling relationships.

After I was  baptized and join youth choir. I would sing the songs we learned in my head throughout day. I know my Grandma Rosie influenced because she would do housework, cook while singing Jesus loves me and other hymns.

As an adult I started to listen to gospel music some. I was trying to become more spiritual after being sober for a few years. I felt I needed more. I tried listen to gospel music to encourage myself. It had a slight impact of making me feel better.  A few weeks before I became homeless for the first time at 26 years old.  As I would listen to gospel music on the radio in the car, I heard a song about being homeless. I would drive all over the city to escape the stress of being at home.  When I became homeless I thought about the song and it gave me hope.   Seven years later when I was homeless in Atlanta. The song,  “Praise is what I do” encouraged me.   I  heard it for the first time in the church van on the way back to the shelter. A few weeks later I was overjoyed to hear William Murphy perform the song live at New Birth. That song keep me going when I was homeless. During that period Smokieful Norful “I need you now” was my anthem. As a homeless woman with two daughters and nothing but the clothes on back I had to depend on God.

One day I was talking to Ms. Linda who braided my hair. When you are getting your hair done it seems like therapy. You can spill everything. She advised me when I feel discouraged to listen to gospel music. One day when I was feeling blue, I decided to listen to gospel  and it made me reflected on how God had kept me and my children  in Atlanta.

The soundtrack to my life is still being written. I am thankful God made people, who understand  the things I feel and can express, what it seems I can’t find the right words to express.

Groomed for This (#Why I Stayed)

Social media has been abuzz regarding domestic violence. This year I have participated in two discussions about domestic violence as a result of the Ray Rice incident. Currently, #Why I Stayed and #Why I Left are trending topics. Domestic Violence is front page news now. I thought well I already have post on domestic violence, but I realized it doesn’t answer the question of why I stayed. I had never asked that question or questioned why I left really. I know the first time I left an abusive relationship the I paid attention to the red flags. Why I stayed that answer is more complex.

A few years ago domestic violence was a subject I wouldn’t discuss. I felt I was an advocate. I would support a women’s decision to leave and, I volunteered at a agency that was dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence. I would even admit I had been through domestic violence, but that is where it stopped. Before I had saw an episode of the Tyra Banks show on the topic of domestic violence and teens. I felt so sad. I thought these girls shouldn’t be going through this, they are too young. In 2012 , I read about Sarah Billingsley-Walker. Her story hit home for because she was choked to death and I learned choking was a leading cause of death in domestic violence situations. I had been married and my ex husband would choke. I asked his friend about it and his friend replied, “he would have killed a long time ago if he was going to kill you.” After reading I realized I had played with a loaded gun, when I thought I was playing with a toy gun.

Why did I stay in that relationship back then? I stayed because I felt my husband at the time loved me unconditionally. He told me  I was smart and beautiful, which was the opposite of what I had heard growing up. I went back repeatedly because I thought he needed me.  I thought I needed him to boost myself esteem. He made feel accepted regardless of bad choices. He made me feel I was smart and pretty.  He was my cheerleader. He would encourage me after my failures, relationship, jobs etc. I continued the relationship because I didn’t want to admit I had made a mistake.

I was groomed for domestic violence from an early age. My maternal grandmother was verbally and emotionally abusive to Paul (my grandfather). I felt abandoned by my parents. My mother and father had divorced. I lived with my mother and her parents. She was emotionally distant and my father was absent from my life for a while. I struggled with low self esteem. I listened to my adult cousin abuse his wife daily for years. I wondered as I listen why she stayed. As a teenager I talked that I wish a ***** would.

At 17 I dated an abusive guy. After he shoved me one time too many I thought I am not going down this road, but two years later. The guy I had a major crush on for years married me. The first time he choked. I was hurt and shocked. I left for the night. My mother told me if you go back it won’t stop. She right it didn’t.

I learned how manipulate the cycle. I used verbal and emotional abuse to instigate violence. My logic was if I know when it’s coming I can handle it . I thought about leaving, threaten to leave but never because of abuse. I accepted the abuse. I was heart broken and nothing else mattered. I didn’t care if I lived or died. I would tell my friends in college he was the kind of person that might snap and kill me. They encouraged me to leave. I left after I became pregnant with our daughter. But the relationship continued off and on for the next 18 years. The physical abuse lessen over time, but the financial and emotional abuse continued. I continued my abusive behavior as well.

I continued my pattern in abusive relationships. I rationalized a man had to be controlling to be strong. In 2012 I started on my current journey to healing. I started going to women’s group for survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse. The first meeting was so hard. I wanted to leave and say I was in the wrong place. I had never really talked about domestic violence and impact i had on me. I had went through years of counseling, but it was off limits topic. I was denial . How could it not have impacted me I have been in two domestic violence shelters in my life time. The second time I went to a dv shelter a social worker had to convince me to go. I told her I was not having an issue with domestic violence because I hit first. She had to explain to me domestic violence is more than physical abuse.

Following group therapy at the domestic shelter violence, they suggested I go to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder counseling. I was in denial, I said I didn’t have any issues with that. My domestic violence experience was mild, because it never required any trips to the hospital or emergency room. Heated arguments increase my anxiety and send me into a panic attack.

Now, as I began healing I realize why I stayed. It’s because I was groomed for this role as a domestic violence advocate.

 

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE FACTS

Survivors often return to abusive relationships because they can’t support themselves and their children. It may seem safer than facing a life of grinding poverty.”

Because abuse often happens behind closed doors, it is important to understand the statistics that show just how many people are affected.

National Impact

Domestic violence can be devastating to families, but its effect on entire communities runs even deeper

1 in 4 women report experiencing domestic violence in their lifetimes.[1]

  • 2 million injuries and 1,300 deaths are caused each year as a result of domestic violence.[2]
  • All cultural, religious, socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds are affected by domestic violence.[3]
  • Nearly 2.2 million people called local and national domestic violence hotlines in 2004.[4]
  • More than 1.35 million people accessed domestic violence victim services in 2005.[5]

From Click to Empower

SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO WORK BEFORE YOU CAN SHOUT

There is a situation I am dealing with at first I just thought I have God’s blessing . Then the situation became a little difficult and I began to wonder if I could trust my judgmental.  I looked to scripture for my answer.

As I began to look for the answer I thought about The Israelites.  They had to work before they received the promise land.  In the book of Joshua it tells how that Joshua instructed them to prepare .  The next thing they did was to consecrate themselves so that  would be able to witness the amazing things God would do.  They also went through some things before they entered the  promise land.  Actually they went through the river Jordan.

The People walked around the city for day before they could shout.  I realize that God is using this experience to strengthen my faith and  every gift that God provides is not just handed to me.  I have to prepare to receive it.  Just like the Israelite prepared to receive the land

Reposted from Syinly’s weblog.net( Thanks way back machine)

Steve Harvey’s Single Mom Townhall

I would love to be a part of the dialogue about how to empower single moms. I must admit I still need some empowering myself. I think now is the time to encourage single moms, with the dialogue about paycheck to paycheck which is a reality for some single moms.  Tyler Perry recently released single mom’s club to bring awareness to the challenges single moms face.  I believe it will make an impact that will change things for generations to come. I feel I can contribute to the conversation because of my experiences. I have dealt with issues that single mom go through such as domestic violence, lack of support non custodial parent. I have struggled through the employment challenges working in low paying jobs with little to no support. I have also experience being a single parent on government assistance. I have survived being homeless as a single parent. I believe since I have face some many obstacles and continued to have hope that I would be able to encourage other singles moms. I believe Nicole Gates author Success Over Statics and founder Successful Singles Moms Memphis  would be a great person to share her experience strength and hope. Also I found From One Single Mother to Another  by Sandra P Aldrich help, because of the advice it provides.  I look forward to the show, continuing the conversation about challenges single moms deal with. I look forward to the town hall discussion sparking the motivation to start a movement to empower single moms across  the united states.

 

Reflections from One Woman’s Lessons from Living on Streets

Recently I was inspired to write a blog post about the need for a life class from former homeless people. I thought there are important lessons that formerly homeless and current homeless individuals can share. I saw  One’s Woman’s Lessons from Living on the Streets. I thought, “ Wow, I am not the only person that gets it. That sometimes the people we least expect can teach us something. That Robin Roberts was right when she talked about turning your mess into your message. I found the four lessons shared in article can apply to women in all situation not just living on the streets. The lessons could even apply for me. They are universal lessons. With some good branding  Susan, the homeless woman who shared the lessons  could use this life lessons to launch a people speaking career, do life coaching even write a book.

The first Lesson Don’t look like a woman. It is a busy lesson as well. Before women really mimicked me to move up the corporate ladder. They felt they could not express their femininity at work.  Even now women are modeling men and now suffering from the stress related illness due to adopting the men work ethic. Even in dating we are getting the message that men do it better, per Steve Harvey’s think like a man act like a Lady.

The second lesson Susan learned from living on the streets was to act crazy. Society has taught as women, that “ Well behaved women seldom make history.” We learned this from women in politics, entertainment, even the bible. When Sojourner Truth gave her famous ain’t I woman speech she ripped her shirt. Women that have dared changed the status quo have been label crazy and called bitches. Look at Omarosa from the apprentice. If she were a man and did the same things she would not be judged as harshly.

The third lesson She shared was “ Pick your spot carefully” In order to accomplish this you must  scope the surrounding area. This lesson could be applied to job search, finding a mate, finding a home. In  the book of Nehemiah, Nehemiah scouts the ruins of the  temple shares his plans to rebuild.

Susan has learned valuable lessons that have practical applications in many different areas. Yet we because of her status as homeless , most would assume she is not  intelligence and worth of our time. Even in the midst of her mess Susan is  able to turn into a message to help others.

 

She’s homeless (Life Lessons from Being Homeless)

I read Dr. Wanda Turner’s book “Even with My Issues” she discussed how despite having issues God can still use humans for His glory. I purchased the book because I had gotten tired of not being able to serve or help because I felt I didn’t have my shit together.

For years I kept hearing the phrase “Your mess is your message”. Being homeless was only part of my mess. It was the outward sign of my pillars were falling. Originally when writing this book I only wanted to talk about being homeless, but then I recognized that was only part of the mess. I realized the importance of the whole story. I didn’t just become homeless three times. There was a lesson I need to learn. My Dad had told me if you are in a situation and you get out before you learn your lesson you are destine to repeat it. The pillars of prudence and sound judgment is what I was lacking. Missing two pillars effected the unstable structure.

“Sometimes it’s not that we don’t have what we need, but rather that our attitude about money and possessions needs to be adjusted. Even when we have money… we can still yearn for something that money,possessions and status can never satisfy- peace loving-kindness, patience and joy.” For me I was so focused on lack of material needs. I spent my time worrying instead of meditating on God’s word.

I became obsessed with lack of money. Instead of asking God to provide for. I relied on my own best thinking. I thought finishing college would provide employment and protect me from having to be homeless. I didn’t understand academic knowledge without emotional intelligence.

When you don’t learn the lesson, each time it is presents it self it becomes more difficult. How does someone become homeless three times? My first homeless experience was inconvenient and the second experience was difficult. My third homeless experience was challenging. I began to feel the stigma of being homeless. During my third homeless experience I became an eyewitness to all the obstacles a homeless person has to overcome to achieve the American dream.

My life has been like the journey of the Israelites. My homeless experience was like a wilderness experience. After becoming frustrated with my refuse to turn toward Him completely I stayed in the wilderness longer than I had too. God provided daily manna for me, while I was homeless in Atlanta.