September 17, 2014

Pep Post: Forgiving yourself


By Tatianah Green

Source
When it comes to dealing with your relationship past, you may have feelings of regret, remorse, resentment, embarrassment, and more. Our past relationships may not have brought out the best in us or the best in the person we were with. 

Perhaps you’ve compromised your standards or someone else’s. Perhaps you're a reformed player with a string of broken hearts in your past. Perhaps you did that person real wrong in one way or the other, and for some reason, years later, you are carrying on some of that guilt and condemnation from that past mistake.

My fellow BCS (beloved Christian singles), if you haven’t already, it’s time to let the past go and forgive yourself. This is specifically important because we too often carry hurts we put on others, almost as if we cursed ourselves for our past way of thinking and acting. You’re not the same person that you were back then. WE have ALL fallen short of the glory of God, and our sins at one point ruled us out of receiving God’s promise. Then Jesus came along and changed the course of human history with His obedience and acts of love and grace. He died for you and in turn Jesus took away the guilt, hurt and shame that He knew you would eventually feel in this life.

Unfortunately, we feel like it’s hard to shake and we have it on us like a stronghold. Maybe it’s due to emotional or soul ties. Maybe it’s because you don’t see yourself as worthy of forgiveness. Maybe it’s because you don’t know that you’ve been already forgiven and need to embrace that instead of what you’ve been holding on to for so long.

I held on to the guilt of hurting an ex for years. I thought it wasn’t there in my heart or spirit anymore because of time, but I realized that after journaling my past experiences with my exes, I needed to self-reflect and see that I was still carrying the burdens of their broken heart for them. It pains me to hurt other people, but when God calls you out of something, it’s for a reason and you must be obedient. I didn’t realize that I needed to forgive myself for how I went about doing things in my past. When I was in Bible study time on my own, it just hit me like an instant spark in my mind: I’m no long condemned. I don’t have to be guilty anymore for what I’ve done in my past.

The devil’s tactic to keep you from moving forward is by placing the weights of the past on you. It was a simple and clean moment in which I felt God’s assurance within me, that He’d reminded me of my own freedom. I’m FREE. I’m free from my guilt from the past. I may get a reminder but it won’t tear me down. It will be a part of my testimony of when I wasn’t where I wanted to be in the Lord and made a mess of things leaning to my own understanding and ignorance. The release of the guilt that weighs you down is refreshing. It feels beyond good to realize that it’s no longer your burden; it’s time to finally let it go into the hands of the Lord.

Maybe it’s your time to forgive yourself for your past. Things may not have gone the way you wanted them to go before, but you can’t change the past. God is giving you a chance to enter His grace on the daily, so trade that guilt for grace. Forgive yourself and be free. Be happy and happy for those who you’ve encountered in your life. Your future says that you will be spotless in God, your past doesn’t matter to Him, so why does it to you? Give it all to God today and embrace the grace of forgiveness.

For more on forgiving yourself, check out this post by All About God.


September 15, 2014

"Single, 4 Things That Will Help on Cold Lonely Nights"


From BMWK

Dear Autumn,

So here we are again. It’s been several months and I must say I’ve enjoyed the break away from early sunsets, grey skies, and chilled windowsills. I can admit though that I’ve missed the lattes spiced with cinnamon, pumpkin and peppermint. I can swallow my pride and say that the changing of the leaves are romantically beautiful. I can say that I’ve missed the close comfort of multiple layers, leather jackets, and a sharp hat that fit my personal style. There’s someone else however that I haven’t been looking forward to seeing besides the first frost of late season. I’m not looking forward to running into Cold Lonely Nights (CLN).

I remember in high school when we used to crack jokes on CLN, saying it’s “cuffing season” and everyone’s thirsty to have a boo to be up under all of the sudden once the temperatures dropped. The summer is over and so are the opportunities to meet more people in more places. Man, it’s too cold to go out sometimes, and as I get older, it feels colder and colder, Autumn.

I had it all planned out until CLN came along. I was going to have a relaxing night at home every Friday, catch a movie, my favorite show, or listen to some good music with a warm meal or snack and be happy to have made it through the week. But on that first cool Friday last week, CLN hit me out of nowhere. It started off with a few friends from out of state posting their plans for the evening—celebrating yet another birthday—and updating their Facebook with up-to-the-minute details. After I returned to my home page after work was done, I saw an unexpected message that brought a drop within me so heavy I felt like falling to the floor...

September 12, 2014

Event: Becoming a Better YOU Conference


I'm honored to announce that I'll be a part of a panel on love relationships alongside my brothers and sisters in Christ for this great two-day conference that's coming to the Chicago area on November 14-15, 2014. The Becoming a Better YOU Conference is hosted in part by Ericka Larrieu Davis, founder and President of Joyful About You Ministries. I interviewed my friend Ericka after the release of her first book, "Let's Break Religion." 

You don't want to miss this FREE event! See the details below and register today!



"Becoming A Better YOU Conference is geared to becoming and birthing all that God has called you to be and accomplish. Our prayers is that this would not just be another gathering but a life changing conference that will effect the rest of your life forever!"

"We have dynamic spirit filled, God led people that will be delivering the Word of God and countless opportunities to soak in the very presence of God. Our focus is to encourage and usher people into a place in Jesus that will help position them to have a successful and accomplished 2015. Don't wait to create new years resolutions a day before, begin now!" 

Bishop T.D Jakes quoted: 'It takes 21 days to form a habit!' Huffington Post Healthy Living also stated: "In Lally's study, it took anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit. In order to form a habit of getting closer to God, getting focus on what matters, fulfilling the call of God on your life, it will take time to get in the habit of doing so. This conference will give you that jump start to beginning strong for the incredible 2015. God has more in you and is calling you to be a better YOU!"

Details:
  • Relationship panel for singles and married couples. Hot topic: "What to look for in a mate?"
  • Location: Holiday Inn Chicago SW-Countryside Conference Center
                     6201 Joliet Rd, Countryside, IL 60525
  • Friday, November 14, 2014 at 12:00 PM -Saturday, November 15, 2014 at 10:30 PM 
  • Kids eat FREE at restaurant inside the hotel
  • Child care services upon request (30 dollars per day for all three services. Snacks included)
  • One-on-One prophetic counseling (Must sign up if interested. Free!)
  • Indoor pool and Jacuzzi
  • Located 20 minutes from Midway Airport
  • Free transportation from Midway Airport
  • 3 minutes away from Target, Movie Theatre, Nail Salon, Clothing Stores, Steak House, etc.
  • Discounted room rates
  • Early morning prayer and much more!

We look forward to seeing you soon!

September 10, 2014

My summer of single: 5 notes on life and love


By Tatianah Green

Labor Day has passed so that means that the summer if officially over for us Americans. The sun is setting sooner, the weather is starting to drop, and you notice fall holiday items on sale at the store (really, it’s too early for that). I can’t help but reflect on my summer as a single, non-dating woman and the things I’ve noticed about myself along the way. I encourage you to take some time this week or weekend to reflect on the things you’ve done and accomplished this past season and seek the Lord on the next season ahead. 

Smiling helps…a lot more

Smile!
 I’ve written about this before about smiling all day as an S.O.S.  challenge, but I want to let yall know that smiling helps both you and  the people you come across. I’ve received more compliments from  men for my smile than my clothes or other features. 

 While I’m not looking for approval from men, but it’s worth noting that  having a smile on your face expresses a lost joy in this world.  People are going about their day like robots with a lot on their minds.  If you smile or even acknowledge their existence with a simple hello  it can make a difference. A smile can motivate you to think positive  things about life, God, and more. Don’t get overwhelmed about your  day, get out there and simply smile more.





Men are bolder in their compliments and approach 

Umm what did you just say to me?
I’m sure most single women can testify to this that when you’re walking around a place or outside solo, men are bolder with their comments towards you. I’ve gotten several faux marriage proposals this summer, no lie! It’s slightly flattering with an ounce of creepy. 

We need for some mature men of God to teach the brothers young and old how to talk to women, either when on the street or on a train or event, because it’s bad out here. If I was with someone, more likely a man, I wouldn’t have been talked to the way that I was in those instances. 

One moment I remember was when I was on the bus going home from work. This older man asked if I had a man. I said yes so he could go away (typical canned response from an unbothered single woman), and he asked “Do you need an upgrade?” Ooop!! Wow, just…wow. Pray for these men, Jesus!

Finding contentment in attending events solo 

On the corner of Happy & Healthy
at the African Festival of the Arts
I realized that I went to a handful of events on my own this summer. I eventually got over the thought of going somewhere by myself. Some singles may feel out of place if they attend events alone, without a friend or a date. That was me, but I'm getting better!

Listen, sometimes the one you’ll date won’t be able to make it to the event you want to go to, or be interested in that activity! The single season is the best time to get out of your shell, learn new things, and do so without company. How will you know what you really like until you try it yourself? You don’t need someone to hold your hand to do it; go meet new people in the process. I’ve attended festivals, parties, events, rallies, the theater, and the airport on my own this summer, and you know what? It’s really not that bad.

If you’re having a hesitation about doing things solo, ask God to go with you. Yes, invite Jesus on the outing with you and watch Him show up. I was at an awards program in May and went to the dinner portion on my own. I had a small prayer in my heart about knowing anyone who was there and hopefully being able to sit with them. Not too long after I finished my prayer, I got a message on my phone from two sisters who saw me from across the room. I went to elementary school with them and they just happened to be there at the event! We ended up sitting together at dinner, caught up on life, and enjoyed the program afterwards (Shout out to Denise, Deidre, and their mama!).

More people mentioning marriage to me than ever 

My face when someone asks me where
my "husband" is
I promise yall I’m this close to getting a “marriage jar” for when any time a person says something to me along the lines of marriage, husband gonna find me, it’s coming, etc., I’m gonna ask for a dollar donation for the marriage jar. When I’ve reached a certain goal, I’m going to take a trip or treat myself, lol. If you sound sincere when you talk about your imaginary jar, people may stop bringing the topic up, lol. 

But really though, it’s been interesting hearing people question or talk to me about marriage or saying my blessing is on the way. I’m cool with all of that, really I am. Marriage is a great goal to have, but I’ve realized this summer more than any other time that it’s not the end-all-means-all in life. 

Your life goes on after the wedding. You may have a spouse but you also have responsibilities in life and your relationship with God. You have a purpose to live out and it doesn’t stop because you have a ring.

On the grand search for God and purpose 

I’ve learned to not make an idol of a man or marriage, and I’ve read a number of books this summer to gain insight and refocus on what’s important--developing a beautiful relationship with Jesus Christ. I want to be faithfully committed to Him before He introduces me to my future spouse. I want to be prepared and in position for God’s will to manifest in my life. 

Hidden Treasure
That basically means that we should want more than a spouse as believers; we should want God’s perfect, divine will for our lives, knowing Him and making Him known with the gifts and talents that He’s given us. While patiently living out and seeking God’s perfect will, He will detox and develop you. It may be uncomfortable but it will be worth it because if you want God’s best, there must be a sacrifice of your timeline, your comfort zone, your way of doing things.

I’ve had several memorable moments in which caused me to grow up some and show me He’s more important than anything I’ve tried to force to go my way. He caused closed chapters, transparent conversations, and “a-ha” moments that weighed on my heart and spirit this season. 

Trust me, if you’re sincere about God developing you into the person He wants you to be, or even prepare you for your one day spouse, expect to see Him working on that for you. He loves us all and wants us to come to repentance of our old ways and trust Him with His ways.

As I look back, this has been an eventful summer of growth for me personally. I can only imagine what the rest of 2014 is going to look like. My advice to you: get knowledge and don’t limit yourself or your God. 

September 5, 2014

Our First Event! Saturday, October 25, 2014 | Chicago


I'm excited to share that I'm hosting the first solo event for B.L.I.S.S. on Saturday, October 25th in Chicago! Get your tickets here and share the event with friends, we want to pack the place out! 
Click to enlarge


National Best-Selling Author and Love Relationships Mentor Debrena Jackson Gandy is coming to Chicago on her nationwide book tour and we have collaborated for an event for the single and married ladies! 

Her new book is called "The Love Lies: 10 Revelations that will Transform Your Relationships and Enrich Your Love Life."
I'll be reading the book and posting a post-read Q&A with Debrena in October. 

Ladies, you don't want to miss this event! Join me for a fun and inspirational girls night out! Bring a friend and bring your questions for the Q&A portion!

Did I mention that it's my birthday weekend too?! Come celebrate with me and get some cake ;-)

See you on October 25th, Chicago!

September 3, 2014

Is it okay to Google your date?


By Tatianah Green

Source
In this technology-dependent society today, it may still be a taboo to some to look up someone on the Internet before or while dating them. To Google someone means to look them up on the popular search engine, social media, news and image feeds for information and to find out more about them. 

Schools do it, employers do it, so why can’t you?

It will save you some time to “survey the land” about the person you’re interested in. What will you find? What fruit have they produced that’s publicly displayed online? There are more and more couples who are meeting via online dating sites and even social media sites like Instagram. We are constantly getting closer, more connected, and more transparent in this time of oversharing information.

For a Biblical example, I can refer again to the account of Ruth in which Boaz asked around about Ruth who was a new person, from Moab, working in his field. I mean hey, you should know about who labors among you, and in this case he found out about her attributes and her noble character before talking to her. This gave him a good impression of her and it helped her in the long run for having a good heart and actions that reflected it. If someone who was interested in you did a search asking about your attributes and character, what would they find? What pictures would be attached to your name and account? What things would you “Like,” what would be the reflection of your heart and actions on the World Wide Web?

There’s a benefit to knowing that a potential love is looking you up online-- accountability in the Kingdom. Let’s face it: everybody out here lying but Jesus. We’re not “on” or flexin’ everyday on the ‘gram (Instagram), our lives are not always so exciting or perfect on Facebook and Twitter, and them phones may or may not have compromising selfies (not mine!). In light of the leaked celebrity photos scandal, it’s imperative to have self-accountability to what you store on your devices and what you put out there online.

From my experience, I think it’s actually not a bad idea to “Google” the person you’re interested in. 

I went on a blind date once and the gentleman I was out with told me he did a little research on me and even read a couple of my blog posts. It gave him an idea of where my head was and what I was interested in before we talked about it all in person. It’s not creepy or stalkerish; this is public information, people! I went to a research university, so I admired the effort. I was impressed and it helped our conversation. 

In another instance, a gentleman reached out to me via my social media inbox and they wanted to get to know me better. I told him that I blog and they said they didn’t know that. Even though we were contacts on the site for some time and I often post links from my blog to my profile updates, he had no idea. Trust when I say it didn’t give him brownie points in our conversation. It wasn’t out of vanity or pride, but out of the principle to do a little search with someone you already have a direct connection to. Because he had seen and liked my photos before. What if I was recently involved with someone else? It would have been a waste of time to approach.

Is there a difference between searching through someone’s phone and searching for information of that person online? 

Yes for the most part. A phone is a private, personal device that can be used to transmit information to the public but it’s not open season to search without one’s permission or clearance, especially when you’re just dating. Don’t be like me and look like a nosey creep looking through their phone and get caught (awkward!).  

If you’re in a serious relationship with someone, phones can be open for searching because there should be a level of trust. You shouldn’t even think about looking, the trust and accountability should be there. If you’re looking with the intent to find something, you will see any little thing as something to make a big deal over. Get some security and mind your own business. Trust when the word says that what’s done in the dark with be revealed by the light; God will give you signs without you having to snoop through phones.

Back to the Google search on your date. Then make sure you search your own name.

When it comes to searching about them, keep it simple and don't become obsessed with them. Just a basic search to see if they are real, not a criminal, not married with a whole family in another place, etc. Don't forget about yourself in the search. We did some immature things in the past that may not be taken down online, but you have the power to ensure that your Internet presence is reflecting your life in a positive way from now on. Take down the negative stuff if you can and make better posting decisions. With pics and videos going viral nowadays you should consider with a sober mind what you will post online from this point on. Is it a reflection of you, God, your family, or what you’d want your love interest to be looking at? Happy searching!

August 22, 2014

“Are you done yet?” Why we can’t leave Kevin Hart, Eniko and Torrei alone


By Tatianah Green


Instagram
Earlier this week comedian superstar Kevin Hart proposed to his girlfriend of five years, Eniko Parrish, on her 30th birthday. I am usually happy to hear about engagements, I was actually expecting it to come from these two. I mean it’s only so long a woman should be called her man’s “rib” before getting a ring and properly becoming a wife, I’m just saying lol.

But what should be a happy occasion for the couple turned out to be a debate, a trending topic on social media, and stirred up a response from Hart’s ex wife, Torrei Hart. The controversy came when then engagement announcement was announced online at the same time as Torrei’s show, Atlanta Exes

Though many have speculated that Kevin did that on purpose, it brought attention to Torrei and her show in the end because I haven’t even heard of it so I’m sure many more folks tuned in to the show to see what she had to say about her then marriage with the comedian. And talking she does. She is more notable for talking about her past with Kevin Hart than what she’s doing now (they’ve been divorced for several years).

Torrei Hart. Source
Regardless, what’s happened has happened; there’s no going back and that’s what all parties in this situation should do. Torrei is often mislabeled as bitter or hasn’t let go (reportedly Kevin cheated on her in their marriage and that helped caused the dissolution of the marriage). I think people who interview her want to know her perspective because women are more willing to talk about a breakup. It’s been a big blow for her, causing her to look at herself and question her beauty for some reason after Kevin left.

I think that part of that interview stuck out to me the most because it reminds me of my own family’s story. My father cheated on my mother during their marriage and, after some failed attempts to mend the relationship, they divorced and my father later on got remarried. He married someone fairer and younger than my mother, like Kevin Hart has. I never really thought about that fact until I saw Torrei’s comment in her interview. Torrei and Kevin have two children together as did my parents. As a child you want your family together but in cases of divorce it can be an emotionally exhausting experience. Will they ask him Was mom not good enough? Why not? Why did you cheat?

When I see Hart’s engagement announcement, I’m genuinely happy for him, but in a bittersweet way. Perhaps it’s because I genuinely want Torrei to win in life too. I think this way because I was raised in my mother’s care after the divorce. It was the typical shared custody, child support stuff with my family after the divorce. I experienced part of the bitterness that my mother felt from the hurt and pain from having an unfaithful spouse. 

My brother and I were put in an awkward position in which we had to take sides because that bitter, hurt spirit took over what our mom would say to us about our father. We would get condemned practically for wanting to see our father. My parents are not perfect, but it’s never okay to turn the hearts of your children cold to another parent. We had to honor both parents, not take sides, but love them as we did when we were all under the same roof. My mother has not remarried, and I pray that one day she will be in a loving relationship that she deserves.

So why are so many people literally upset at Kevin Hart this week? Is it because they went through the same things I did growing up? Maybe they too were cheated on and left in a relationship or marriage? Mind you, that although it’s a real celebrity story in the news, it’s still spun as a story. This means that someone will get painted as an underdog or hero and someone else is always painted as a villain. Because of the stereotype that men are the main ones cheating in relationships, women usually band together online and bash these men online in defense of the ex girlfriend or wife scorned. It never fails because it’s clearly evidenced in RobinThicke’s separation and failed album about his estranged wife, Paula Patton.

Maybe we have some unresolved personal problems emotionally and spiritually and we take it out on others whose business we really have no idea about. At the end of the day these were adults who made decisions and the consequences are what they will have to deal with, not our opinions. We can’t waste our energy coming for brethren whom we don’t really know. 

Save that for your best friend one day when they are tempted to step out on their marriage or relationship. Rebuke them out of love and encourage them to do the right thing, the godly thing. Our energy needs to be directed elsewhere people; to our kids, neighbors, coworkers, classmates, bosses. You know—people who really know us and vice versa. The word says to confront your neighbor or brother about their wrongdoing in private, not some random public figure via social media. Let’s encourage each other to do right before things go wrong.

Let’s work towards healing ourselves and forgiving the past, then walking forward for real. Kevin can stop joking about his last marriage and focus on building the right foundation for this new one. Torrei can stop talking about her marriage to Kevin and live her life. I can stop holding bitterness in my heart for what I’ve experienced, and so can many others who “feel some type of way” when someone with a history of cheating gets engaged or married. Let’s pull a Kermit the Frog and drink some tea, because it’s none of our business. We all have a path and will learn at our own pace.

What gives me hope for people like my mother and Torrei is Damita Haddon (now Chandler). She’s the former wife of singer and preacher Deitrick Haddon, with who they have had a long season of controversy in and after their relationship. Damita had it rough as well, but God blessed her with real love and she's recently remarried. Her ministry doesn’t stop because her last marriage did. Don’t let these setbacks in life and love hold you back from what’s most important: loving and living faithfully for our God.