It's doesn't matter how many times you fall. What matters is how many times you are able to get up. We all have done and said things we regret. People are dying emotionally and spiritually because those who have conquered difficult times are too embarrassed and ashamed to share their challenges. Enough is enough. We can only hide behind fake smiles, success, relationships, and money for so long and eventually the hurt will come pouring out. In this book you will discover you have the ability to overcome and be victorious. Everything you have been through was preparing you for something great. You do not have to remain bound by your past or permit your current situations to dictate your life. It's time for you to be free.
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Read an Excerpt
I Want to be Free
By Terlisa Gardley
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Terlisa Gardley
All right reserved.
Chapter OneMy Awaking Moment
I no longer have the desire to live in the image created by others. I want to be released from the shackles and strongholds of my past so I can walk into my wealthy place. Every time I get close to the breakthrough I experience an abundance of temptations and challenges that attempt to keep me from prevailing to the next level.
There is an old saying when you make one step of positive progress there is something that happens to push you two steps back, that's not the attitude to have.
No matter what we face we have to maintain a positive attitude and not focus on the problem. When we focus on the problem it becomes magnified, but when we focus on the solution the solution manifests.
At this moment I am experiencing change like never before. My desire is to maintain my sanity and freedom. To love myself the way God loves me. No longer do I have the desire to run from the fight like I have in the past. I have to fight the obstacles I am faced with and understand everything I need to survive was placed in me when I was in my mother's womb.
When I began to write about my experiences in October 2006 I made up my mind to change my lifestyle. I had no idea the challenges that would come against me in the process. I felt as if I had conquered my past hurts, depressions, oppressions, loneliness and lack of confidence. I discovered every day I needed more and more of God's grace to see me through. We will never get to the point we know it all. We must pursue God as if He were a million dollar lottery ticket. No matter how many times we fall, we must get up and try again. I understand Donnie McClurkin's song "We Fall Down but We Get Up" (McClurkin, 2000). Falling is easy, getting up and admitting you failed is difficult. I have fallen several times in the midst of writing this. God continues to encourage me in the midst of my mess.
I want to be free from the snares of the past and I want you to be free too.
Freedom comes when you are sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was tired of running from bed to bed, restaurant after restaurant, mall after mall, deceiving others and receiving money knowing there is an ulterior motive. Enough is enough. Don't touch me, talk to me or approach me unless you are ready to deal with a woman of substance.
Substance doesn't refer to the size of your breasts or waistline, where you live, the car you drive or how beautiful you may look. Substance is the content of your character and your ability to defy all odds.
The Reality Check
After many years of mess I'm ready to stand for the ability to be beautiful, bold, powerful, educated and free. Not allowing myself to be captive by sexual pleasures or financial gain. Everything not like God is being removed and the process is painful but worth it. This is not my first, second, third, but forth time being at this place. What separates this time from the rest is the ability to see my purpose and destiny. I understand through failures, objections, and rejections my opportunities for growth were perfected in the heartaches and pain of my life. God does his best work in bad situations. Please stop thinking you are a failure or a mistake. We all have done things we are not proud of. We were all created to do something great. Stop having a pity party and understand you were born to conquer.
My body cries out daily in search of a man that will provide temporary pleasure.
Everyday there is a battle between right and wrong. Why do things that are wrong feel so much better than what's right? I want to be pleasured by sleeping around, smoking weed, getting drunk, partying and having explicit conversations. This does not reflect a woman of substance. When you do not recognize who you are, you will settle for less. Why can't I get out of this situation? Why do I keep going around the same mountain over and over again? When will my mighty man of valor come? Why can't I be happy? All of my friends are in love and getting married, when will my opportunity come? Why am I so depressed? Why do I feel ashamed of my past? So without hesitation we think a relationship, drugs, alcohol, gambling or shopping will cure our feelings when it's only a temporary solution.
When you permit change to come, the man who approaches you will not be attracted to the physical aspect, but your spirit, intellect, and heart. We need to stop looking to men with a hidden agenda. Stop acting like you have all of the control. Just be you. Stop sizing him up and feeling what you have to offer is trimmed in gold. Keep in mind there will always be someone bigger, better, stronger and much faster. Don't get me twisted there is nothing wrong with confidence, but if that's the way you think that's what you will attract.
The mighty man of valor will desire a woman of substance not material. Men love women who are quick to listen and slow to speak. Men adore women who can multi- task motherhood, corporate America, relate to the streets, cook, and who is spiritually grounded. Men appreciate a woman he can introduce to family & friends and not be concerned if she will open her mouth and embarrass him.
Once you acknowledge who you are and what you are created to do, you begin to think twice before compromising and entertaining the first gentleman who provides his number, compliment you, invites you to dinner and generously give you money. You are no longer moved by the car he drive, the group he socializes with, if he is wearing the latest designer label, or the size of his investment portfolio. As women we have to define the type of men we are attracted to and why. Every man you meet will not be your husband or boyfriend. You have to ask God for a discerning spirit to identify what his position is in your life. People are in your life for reasons and seasons. Often times, we develop an emotional attachment to someone who is only in our life for a season, and at some point the relationship becomes miserable. That's because you are holding onto something or someone you should let go. You are trying to hold onto someone for a lifetime when they are only in your life for a moment.
Women, we are selective when it comes to purchasing a car, home, clothing, and food. When we shop for clothing we will try on dress after dress, and spend hours traveling from one shopping mall to the next to find matching accessories. We need to apply this selection process to any gentleman who approaches us. We should be cautious and listen before leaping. Allow his actions to be his conversation.
Instead of being anxious allow patience to have its perfect work. I recently learned how to pay attention to actions and not be moved by words. After my enlightenment, I didn't want to go back to the lifestyle of being promiscuous, benefiting from all inclusive vacations, shopping sprees; paid tuition I realized all of the worldly gifts came with a price and that price was my mind, body and soul.
Changing Isn't Easy
You may ask yourself these questions: How can I change? What can I do to discover my real identity? What's next and is it worth it? All of these questions I have asked myself a million times, the answer is based upon a determined mind, patience, confidence in yourself, and willingness to change no matter how painful it may be.
By no means have this been a cake walk. I have cried until my eyes were swollen. Confessed scripture until I knew them backwards and fasted so many times I should be anorexic. I erased numbers from my phone, stopped hanging out at certain places, and changed my attire, conversation and friends. I physically altered appearance by cutting & coloring my hair and lost weight only to gain it back. It wasn't until I made a FINAL decision of "no more", did my healing and restoration come.
Some of you may not personally identify with any of the things I have mentioned, we are all struggling with some type of issue. Your battle may be alcohol, drugs, gambling, lying, stealing, jealousy, gossip, porn, depression, shopping, a bad attitude, adultery, or negative thinking. The point is you have an obstacle that is preventing you from going to the next level. Ask God, think quietly and He will tell you. Are you ready to change?
The reality is you cannot carry baggage from your past into your future. Of course you and I want to be free but what are we willing to sacrifice. Sure we are willing to sacrifice the things that are easy to release, what about the baggage you have been carrying for years? What about the situations you have been dealing with since your childhood? What about the feeling of abandonment when your husband left you and the children for your best friend? What about the company you worked for? You worked there faithfully for 15 years 60 hours a week and you were laid off without notice? What about the time your friends gave you weed and you didn't know it was laced with cocaine and now you are or were a drug addict? What about the uncle your parents trusted to babysit you and he took advantage of you? I understand betrayal of trust is difficult to release. Every time you think about the incident you allow bitterness to surface and you begin to experience emotions as if the situation occurred yesterday. Now you are angry about something that happened years ago and the person you are angry with sleeps peacefully every night.
Since I am asking you to identify your areas of improvement allow me to share some of my eye opening experiences. I was married for 4 years and it didn't work out.
When I reflect over the marriage, I realize I married the right person but for the wrong reason. I was young at heart and completely full of myself. I decided to take matters into my own hands and reacted with my tongue and lashed out at his imperfections, but never stopped to examine my own. I should have prayed, fasted and waited on the Lord for revelation before making the hasty decision of walking out even though he asked me to.
I take ownership in my share of the blame for the failed marriage and hope he will accept my apology.
Instead of taking time to find myself I began to indulge in my old habits of partying, smoking weed, and another relationship. At the time my mentality was the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else. The gentleman I began to date I had known for 16 years. I went on his senior prom and we always had a connection. At the time I lived with my mother and he asked me to move in with him. Once again I did not take time to think about my current circumstance. I just left my husband and now I'm contemplating shacking. Without hesitation I moved my belongings into his home.
He loved me dearly. I met him when I was a size 18 but he loved me as if I were a size 8. He rebuilt my self esteem and confidence, he exercised with me daily, and reassured me every day of how much I was a blessing to him. He treated me like royalty.
We shared our deepest secrets knowing they would never be spoken of again. He was my strength and love. Anything I asked for he provided, from Tiffany necklaces & bracelets to fur coats, a new wardrobe, flowers every week for no reason, overnight visits to the Sybaris and expensive dinners. In essence he was everything, but he was not my mighty man of valor. He provided the wealth of the world but not healing for my soul.
All of the positions I permitted him to occupy are the positions God desired to have control of. I allowed him to become my god.
How can you define if a person is your god? You sacrifice your needs for his wants. You become so consumed with his way of life you forget about your own. You allow his identity to overshadow yours. You pay his child support instead of your car payment and deal with his "baby's mama" drama and you do not have children of your own or with him. You deal with his hating family members and tolerate his insecurities.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Without hesitation I was in another relationship. I was in lust not love and nothing else mattered, not even God. This gentleman attended 7:00 a.m. church service with me but after service we lived our lives as if the word of God didn't apply to us. Not to mention our midnight walks along the lakefront, candlelight dinners with Will Downing playing in the background and sex so passionate that it left me speechless and unresponsive. After four months things began to change. All of the signs were there.
However, I decided not to pay attention. The ringer on the phone was placed on silent, he began to spend more time with the guys ( in most cases means another woman), mood swings, and when I asked questions he became defensive. Does any of this sound familiar? Once again my inner voice started talking to me. I heard he isn't worth it. Why are you wasting your time? How long will you settle for less? You deserve better. I understood I was in a seasonal relationship and his season in my life was over.
I ignored his calls and occupied my time with things I enjoyed such as writing, going to the movies alone, spending time with family and reading motivational books.
When you play wifey to someone you aren't married to in most instances you are setting yourself up for failure, hurt and disappointment. There is an old saying why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free. The situation will hurt you so bad you will consider ending your life because you have given so much of yourself only to realize he wasn't worth it. The strong, confident woman you once represented no longer exists.
Now your judgment of men has been altered and you classify all men in the same category.
Ask yourself, what are your circumstances? What do you have to give up but won't let go? The areas that caused you the most pain are the areas that will help you, help others. The one who knows and understands is the person who has been there and done that. It is difficult for a person to understand and believe what you say unless you have shared in their experiences. You cannot tell someone how to stop using drugs if you never experienced addiction. You cannot tell someone how to hold onto a marriage that's falling apart if you haven't been married or experienced problems. You cannot tell a single female to be patient and wait for the right man unless you have been through the process of having your body dictate your actions. So many times you have people talking about what they think based on opinions and feelings not experience. That's why lives are not being transformed because there is no power behind what is being said.
As women we have a perfect picture of our knight in shining armor, but have we reflected the mirror inward, if so what do you see? Some may see a beautiful, intelligent, successful, confident, independent woman. Others may see low self-esteem, welfare recipient, incest or rape victim, drug addict, a battered and abused, or a single parent or someone who is working two jobs trying to make ends meet and there is no representation of beauty. No matter what the scenario, keep in mind you are what you attract.
Brokenness leads to brokenness. Wholeness leads to wholeness. If you continue to find yourself in broken relationships, and dealing with people who cause you pain, the problem isn't them it's you. For example, if you always date someone who abuses you physically and emotionally, it is something in you that attract that type of individual. Maybe you came from an environment where there was abuse and even though your desire is to have a healthy relationship, you end up with someone who resembles your past.
Instead of taking time to recognize the pattern we settle for another temporary solution and this becomes a never ending cycle. If you don't love yourself how can you expect someone else to love you? You are expecting someone to fill a void when God is the only one that can love your hurt away.
Excerpted from I Want to be Free by Terlisa Gardley Copyright © 2011 by Terlisa Gardley. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
ContentsMy Awaking Moment....................1
The Reality Check....................7
Changing Isn't Easy....................15
God Are You Listening to Me....................45
Where I Am Now....................59