While listening to William McDonnell's, Give Myself Away…I really feel like I don't know
where start, but I have this saying, "When you don't know where to start, start right where you are." Off the top of my head. I come from a family of 8, 3 brothers and 2 little sisters. Both of my parents are pastors. When I was a little girl I was very timid, soft spoken, friendly, and very loving. I loved being around people. But all of that would soon change. Our world would come crashing down right before my eyes.
When I was in middle school our family went through a very rough time. Both of my parents lost their jobs, and it was very hard time for us. To the world we had it all, but little did they know we were losing everything, even our church that we all had worked so hard to build. In the midst of our struggle we seemed to be losing everything. I can remember some friends and family turning their backs on us during our time of need. My Mom and Dad come from really big families. They each have nine brothers and sisters and not many of them could be called on. I remember sitting up stairs hearing the phone ring, my mom got a call that we were about to lose our house. My mom was trying hard to put meals together to make it seem as if we still had money for food. I watched my mother and father provide for any and everyone. There was never a time when they didn't open our home for shelter. They have always taken in the less fortunate. Our home was never empty. I watched them feed, clothe and give money to so many people when they were in need. I couldn't help but wonder who would reach out to us in our time of need?
I went to school angry because I felt like everyone was talking about us because they knew how bad we were struggling. So I became very bitter. We were popular kids, but we had lost it all. My brothers were basketball stars, but that couldn't mask what was going on, or how I felt in the inside. I didn't have money for school clothes. Thank God for my aunties who helped out as much as they could. I would wear my hoodie or jacket a lot because I couldn't afford to buy the latest fashion. Little did people know I was struggling wearing the same stuff over and over because we did not have money to get new clothes. My mom always washed at least twice a day so that helped. My siblings and I would come home to very little food to eat, so instead, we filled ourselves up with junk food because it was cheap. We had this red room in our house that we would always meet in. For years there was a lot of pain and bad news being shared in that
room. None of us ever made our parents feel bad about our situation, we actually became stronger. Our hard times had brought us closer than ever. But for me my strength began to turn into bitterness.
I would say I was the worst one. On top of everything we were dealing with at home we would go to church and have to listen to what people had to say there. Just because we're pastor's kids doesn't mean we have to be perfect. Now I'm even more bitter, we always had to be the strong ones, I can't speak my mind and say how I really feel. Does anyone know what we are going through, where is everybody? I would go to school with a bad attitude, could not focus, started getting bad grades, and telling people off. I started to feel so much HATE in my heart. I
started hurting people with my words and not loving because I didn't know what it was anymore. I didn't trust anyone. Everyone I thought loved us is gone and the more you try to move on the more you hear people talking about you and your family. I was tired of defending my family so I just stayed to myself. I went a whole YEAR without smiling. I was bitter, angry, and lonely with no TRUST. My aunt started calling me "Smiley" until I smiled again.
My siblings and I grew up loving each other , but not very close. We were closer to our cousins than with each other, but when we lost everybody it made our bond unbreakable. Our parents would always yell at us when we would argue and say, "ALL Y'ALL HAVE IS EACH OTHER, NOW SIT HERE UNTIL Y'ALL TALK IT OUT." We then realized all we had was each other, we became best fiends. That's what our parents had been trying to instill in us. For Christmas we would wrap each other's old shoes, or go to the store to buy each other snacks to wrap up as gifts. We had a great time laughing watching our gifts being opened. Those years were some of the best times for us. We still do that today. :-) Our love grew so strong that our friends started saying, "Man we wish we had what y'all have," they all wanted to stay with us, and our parents would let them. Even with no money and making homemade games they still wanted to be with us. I began to really love GOD and all the teaching my parents taught me as a kid were starting to pay off, But I was still bitter.
One day they gave me this scripture, "How could you love GOD and hate people whom you see everyday?" On the outside I looked ok, but inside I was torn. As bad as I wanted to be better I couldn't seem to get past the pain and hurt. One day I cried out to GOD asking him to change me because I did not want to stay that way. I couldn't take it anymore I wanted to be better. I didn't want to be bitter anymore. I didn't want to carry that heavy weight anymore. The bitterness was tearing away my soul. I needed to heal. So I starting going around the people that hurt me, people I said I would never speak to, or hug again. I got tired of MYSELF AND MY OLD WAYS. All the hate I felt in my heart slowly began to fade. My Dad always said, "If people and things around you dont change, ask God to change you." God has truly showed me what it means to really love, He is love. My parents never had to really work that hard again because God has blessed my siblings and I. I couldn't see that because I spent all those years being bitter and couldn't see how God was still blessing us. I started to get my smile back I had as a kid; and the love for people . I started a girls group in my home at 19 and it branched off with mothers and daughters attending as well. People started telling me I was an inspiration and how I had changed there life. Helping people will help you. That made me feel good about myself, it gave me purpose.
I've learned not to be so judgmental, because everybody comes from a place. Life's experiences molds and shapes us into who we are... Good, or bad. I had to think about what I was thinking about, and why was I thinking those things? All the bitterness and anger that followed me throughout my childhood and teenage years I had to let go. I wanted better for my life because inside I knew there was a better me. I wanted to LOVE people like I was suppose to. No longer would I let the past hurt and pain keep me held in bondage. I would be set free. I would choose to happiness over bitterness. I would choose to forgive. I thank GOD for forgiving me for all the wrong I did to Him and to other people because of my bitterness. Through it all we made it, I made it. We are as strong as ever. God has kept us. My mom and dad still have their house going on 21 years. All my siblings have careers with great jobs. We're all married with beautiful families. My parents will be celebrating 35 years of marriage this year. my father wrote a play that was performed at The Playhouse Square, which was a great success. I am thankful. I'm not all I want to be, but I'm not who I used to be. I'll tell the world I'm letting the truth be told because I'm free. I choose forgiveness over bitterness. Love is patient, love is kind, most of all love is forgiving! ...#iambella