Just because I Go To Therapy Doesn't Mean I Don’t Love God
By: Alicia, Therapist Bae
God & therapy can coexist
So you want me, a strong black woman, to admit that I have moments of weakness? You want me to show vulnerability and express my truest and most hidden emotions? You’re going to provide me with a nonjudgmental space where I can talk about my trauma without worrying about you telling my secrets? You’re okay with me believing in God and still coming to talk to you? You sure? Because if so, then yeah, I want to try therapy.
Believe it or not God sis, therapy can be just that; a safe space to talk. Yes, we are taught and have abided by the cultural allegiance to “give it to God '' and to “pray about it” and we plan on continuing to do that. But in 2020, we need to dig deeper and allow God and therapy to co-exist. A therapist will never be able to replace the foundation we have built with God and we shouldn't want it too. We are well aware that our strength comes from none other than the Savior Himself. Yet, we can’t allow cultural stigmas to hinder our growth as women and leave us to continue to suffer in silence! That’s tacky and we are not doing it this year! You are deserving of a healthy and healing life as well.
God sisters you are strong and fearless women but you are still emotional beings underneath the many layers you wear. Underneath our brown skin lay invisible and internal scars that scab over and over again because they are untreated. Think of your mental health like an untreated wound. Think about how dangerous and risky it is to leave a wound untreated and how it can lead to complications and more serious problems if proper treatment is not given to it. Your emotional scars are the same way; you too have emotional wounds that need tender loving care.
Doctors can label our headaches and other somatic symptoms as stress but did you know it can really just be the weight of our unseen pains. It’s not as easy as taking a pill to make it all go away. We need to process it. We need to sit in it, feel it, and leave it in a space where it can be held, protected and honored. It’s okay to use a therapeutic space to talk about our childhood traumas and the personal or family secrets that have kept your family in toxicity all these years. You can cry without being judged there. You can explore healthy communication styles to use with your loved ones. We can use it as a personal growth setting and find out more about your truest selves. Whatever reason you choose, just know you won’t have to do it alone. God will be right there with you. He’s never left us and he certainly won’t leave us now, even in the therapy room.
Unstuck: How to Get Free When Life Makes You Stuck
By: Janiece Renee
This morning, I decided to stop by my office to get some work done. And if any of you know me at all, then you know that my office is none other than the aesthetically pleasing coffee shop internationally known as Starbucks. Honestly, I spend so much time here that when I tell my friends that I’m going to “the office,” they know that what I’m really saying is that I’m going to Starbucks.
As I pulled into its little parking lot, I noticed an older lady standing up against the hood of her car. “I hope she’s okay,” I silently thought to myself. I would soon find out that she wasn’t exactly doing okay on this fine morning. As I got out of my car, she called out to me and asked me to come to help her.
I walked over to her without a second thought as my theory had been confirmed by her plea. As I approached her, I noticed what her problem was. She had gotten her shirt stuck in the latch of her car’s hood. After giving me permission to go into her car to release the hood, we noticed that she was still stuck. For some reason, her shirt had gotten twisted around the latch and we could not get her loose.
We tried everything we could. I even went back into the car and tried releasing the hood again. No success! Although the latch released, her shirt remained stuck. We were able to open the hood enough to get our fingers underneath it. But it seemed as though nothing we tried worked.
Just then, an older gentleman got out of his car and the woman I had been helping called out to him with the same plea that brought me over to her. We explained to him what happened and how we couldn’t seem to get her unstuck. We told him that although we’d made a little bit more progress together, we still needed help. He responded with readiness. Putting his hands under the hood, he felt the issue for himself and understandingly acknowledged our predicament - sis was STUCK.
But, alas, after moving his hands around under the opening of the hood, he was able to release the latch and open the hood entirely. Together, we were able to get sis unstuck and it revealed something important to me.
Sometimes in life, we find ourselves getting stuck in situations that we cannot seem to get ourselves out of. You know what you’re IT is. Maybe it was a toxic relationship. Maybe it was a discouragement. Maybe it was laziness. Maybe it was contentment. Maybe it was financial trouble. Whatever your IT is, we’ve all been stuck before.
Sabonfu Somé says that, “When we fail, the work of coming back into grace is something we cannot accomplish by ourselves; it requires the participation of others…as an individual falls out of grace, so will the other members of the community…” (Falling out of Grace, 23-25). The grace that she speaks of deals with the way in which we show up in the world which includes our full inclusion within our community.
We often convince ourselves that “stuck” requires isolation. We think that “stuck” is a situation that we must handle on our own. We either don’t want people to know what’s going on or we convince ourselves that we don’t want to be a burden to our community. But…what’s the point of a community if we cannot hold each other’s truth? And the truth is, there are just some situations where it takes a community to get unstuck.
Today, I invite you to reflect. Where do you feel stuck? And how can you lean into your community to help you become unstuck?
Follow Janiece on IG @jayreneeiam
It's ALL Gonna Work Out!
I was writing in my journal recently and I was talking to God about how it seems like everything just doesn’t go right at the same time!! I was frustrated lol can you relate???
After praying and finishing up in my journal...I realized that it was a false narrative I created in my mind about my life. I needed to change my FOCUS and renew my mind! There is POWER in the name of Jesus!!!
I believe ALLLLLLLL these things will be added unto me!!!! In the time, season, and manner in which God says so! So if you’re a control freak/OCD/crazy person like me lol trust that God is gonna work it ALLLLLLLLL OUT!!!! Speak those things which are not as though they already are! Walk into your increase, walk into your healing, walk into your new opportunities! You win!!
The Company You Keep Is Important
By: Jalysa King
“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” – Proverbs 13:20
Do you remember being younger and asking your mom if you could hangout with friends and she would say no? Then you would respond with “well (insert friend name) is going; and she would say “if you friends jump off a cliff would you join them?”
I remember those moments all too well, and I never understood the deeper context of that saying until recently, I was beginning to notice a common theme at church and the message in sermons. Many were dealing with the company we keep and reaching our full potential.
There is a saying that you become the average of the five people you surround yourself with. I am not sure how much truth that holds, but I do know that it is important to be intentional and mindful of whom you spend time with.
Reflecting back on my mother’s words from when I was younger, I now understand not following the crowd. Especially when the crowd is taking you away from God’s purpose in your life. When we make it a priority to have long lasting healthy relationships; both platonic and romantic we must remember these individuals should compliment our lives and not complicate them.
It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I realized it is okay to pray for Godly friends. It is okay and necessary to pray for a Godly partner. If your faith is important to you then you should absolutely pray that your circle has those shared values.
A prayer for purposeful relationships
Lord, I pray that you continue to bring positive god fearing people into my life. That we help each other rise and grow to exceed the plans you have for our lives.
Lord I ask for discernment and guidance in letting situations and relationships go that are keeping me from my relationship with you.
I pray that you protect me from those who do not wish me well and surround me with those who will love and support me.
Follow Jalysa on IG @Jalysa_delyn
THIS is your reminder!
If you've been struggling at all lately, this is for you... "God is not punishing you, he's building you."
Tough times suck, by no means is it fun to struggle, feel stuck or be unhappy BUT in those times it's important to remember God's word.
We are women of God and we need to stand tall and be strapped in armor no matter what may be going on around us. We have peace, not from worldly things or situations but from knowing that God loves us and is preparing us for the next season.
If you've been struggling in any way, know that God is busy working on you. In order to grow, you got to get a little uncomfortable...so find peace in the process and remember that this is just the building phase...soon you will be in position but first....you must prepare!
Send this to A WOMAN OF GOD and remind her that God isn't done working on her yet!
What frustrates you the MOST about your journey with God?
Hey GODsisters! We started this convo on IG and it has over 400 amazing comments. We want to keep this dialogue going because it has helped so many women!
Not only that, we want to see what we can do to support you. Of course you can always send prayer requests to firstname.lastname@example.org but we want to know (HONESTLY) what frustrates you on this journey? What do you wish was different?
Join the convo in the comments AND make sure you become apart of our FB community (click the link to join) so that we can uplift and encourage each other.
You are NOT alone in this journey. Following God is not always easy, and you need to be surrounded by like-minded women who ain't gone judge and try to over preach you.
We'll see you there, GODsis! Love you.
Behind The Scenes of Girl Plus God Photoshoot
Here's a quick behind the scenes from our recent photoshoot for Girl + God.
It's been an absolute amazing journey since I decided to quit my full time job to step out on faith & focus on this brand.
I'm happy that we're finally here and ready to relaunch the brand and can't wait to share the rest of the journey with you.
A Day In The Life Update
How I Stepped Out On Faith After 16 Years
Quick Update on Girl Plus God
My Top 9 Social Distancing Shows
Written By: Jalysa Delyn
*I have not watched all of these during quarantine time*
What an interesting time we're in! We could have never planned for any of this, but day by day I believe people are finding a rhythm.
When I scroll through social media there seems to be common themes. People talking about their quarantine snacks. All of the zoom meetings taking place, the at-home workouts, and of course TV.
As if we weren't a bunch of binge-watching people before, our quarantine status has been a great time for watching or for some re-watching great television. I love watching tv so I have been taking full advantage of this time. Here are 10 shows I recommend watching while we are social distancing.
1. Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu)
Kerry Washington AND Reese Witherspoon sharing the screen?! What more do I need to say? This show is based on the book authored by Celeste Ng. Hulu releases a new episode each Wednesday, and y'all I am hooked. I watched the first three episodes in one night and anxiously await Wednesday each week. The show tackles friendship, grief, parenthood, classism, racism, and so much more. The cast is wonderful and even better, all of the executive producers are women. The show is suspenseful, heartfelt and leaves you wanting more.
2. Good Girls (NBC, Hulu, Netflix)
I started this show last year and binged seasons one and two. The NBC show airs on Sunday and by Monday a new episode is ready for you on Hulu. Another great cast and excellent writing. This show has had me on the edge of my seat but has also made me laugh extremely hard. It is a dark twisted show that has you rooting for the bad guy at times while wanting the best for the "good girls." You can catch seasons one and two on Netflix of Hulu.
3. Parenthood (Hulu)
I love this show so much and decided to start it from the beginning like I have never seen it. No matter how many times I watch it, I fall in love with the Braverman crew all over again. This show is all about family and how no two families are the same. Even within our own families. This show tackles single parenthood, the working wife with a stay at home dad, finding out about a kid later in life, and more. Each episode will leave you in tears whether they are from happiness or heartbreak. I'm not sure what it is with NBC writers but man do they know how to get the tears flowing.
4. Big Little Lies (HBO)
I just finished season two and it was better than I imagined. The Monterey 5 outdid themselves this season. The show is based on the book by author Liane Moriarty and it is wonderful. We're talking Nicole Kidman, Zoe Kravitz, Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley, and Meryl Streep(season 2). Living very different lives in California, these 5 women come together in a twisted way and you'll be waiting for more. This show is suspenseful as well but also touches on topics such as domestic abuse, women + friendship, identity, marriage, etc. The list really goes on. HBO is offering free streaming for certain series and movies right now and this show is one you can watch for free.
5. Law & Order: SVU (Hulu)
Let me start by saying, you can't tell me I'm not Lieutenant Olive Benson after I've watched at least two episodes in a row. This show is in its 21st season, and I started binge-watching it about 4 years ago. Let's just say I'm a little obsessed. I love trying to figure out who did what and I can watch it for hours. Not only is the show disturbingly entertaining, but it is educational. Since watching this show I have found myself becoming a lot more aware of my surroundings. Many of the shows storylines come from actual news stories, which highlights what a crazy, scary world we live in. I will say that the show can be very heavy so I do have to limit how much I take in at times.
6. All American (Netflix)
I just started this show a few days ago and I'm already on season 2. It's easy to say that I am hooked on this series. I was happy to see that it has been renewed for a third season airing later this year. Not many things make me miss high school, but this show makes me miss Friday night football games. The series tackles classism, elitism, racism, violence, and much more. One of the things I love most about this show is its ability to bring two completely different worlds together.
7. On My Block (Netflix)
This show is such a hidden gem and I really wish Netflix would do more to promote it. The cast is amazing and every season leaves you wanting more. The story follows a group of high school friends through South Central LA. This show has its dramatic moments but also cracks me up on so many occasions. I'm excited to watch these young actors develop and take over even more roles.
8. Dollface (Hulu)
This show is so odd but oh so entertaining. There's a cat lady, some singing, and hilarious one-liners. I watched the whole season in one weekend. This show tackles female friendships, relationships, loneliness, and the need to belong. I really like this show because part of the plot is staying true to yourself. In a world where social media dominates everything, it can be easy to get caught in the comparison trap.
10. 90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days (TLC)
Okay! This one makes the list because it is so entertaining, trashy tv. We watch it every Sunday night and it has us cracking up each week. Watching these couples interact makes me so happy and it's a show I never knew I needed. One half of the couple lives in the US and the other lives in a different country. It all just makes for great tv and I'm almost ashamed to admit that I enjoy it so much.
I would love to hear what shows you have been watching! Share in the comments!
Food Is Not The Enemy: Changing Unhealthy Thoughts About Food
Written By: Health Coach Tiffiney
It seems inevitable that when the topic of “getting healthy” comes up, the first concern is food. Whether it’s the notion that some foods are better than others, or that you can’t enjoy “regular” foods and still be healthy, or that a particular food has magical-like powers over you and can’t possibly be given up… food takes the bad rap of being the obstacle standing in the way of obtaining the holy grail of “good health”. What if I told you the true obstacle was the power you give food over you? I’m here to tell you it only has as much power as you give it.
We’ve all had that moment when we’re watching Netflix and snack more than we intend to or find ourselves at a gathering and avoid the dessert table like the plague because we’re “eating right”. My prior self would make comments like “I got to run this off tomorrow” or “girl, I can’t eat that, I’m being good”. This thought process ruined my confidence in my ability to make good decisions for myself because I like to eat ya’ll. I felt bad for eating some of my favorite foods, bargained with myself that I could eat whatever it was if I worked it off, and even gave off an air of superiority because I didn’t eat “those foods” that other people were eating while out [insert me looking down over my glasses at someone who would dare touch a donut… I was a mess lol].
Thank God I came to my senses! I gave up all the crazy food rules and decided I could in fact eat food for nourishment and pleasure, that a particular food doesn’t make me any better (or worse) morally, and that what I eat one day will not catapult me off into the stratosphere of forever being unhealthy.
Sis, I’m here to tell you food is only the enemy if you make it. Let me share with you how to begin eating in a way that honors your body and your cravings… the two really can co-exist!
Let’s start with you learning to tune into your body and respect the cues it gives you when you’re hungry, satisfied, or have a need that is not related to food at all. Allow your body to sense when it's hungry, remove mealtime distractions so you can solely focus on your meal [don't multitask while eating], and stop eating and remove yourself from the table once you are satisfied (it's okay to have food left over, just save it for another time). This habit teaches you to respect your body's signals for hunger and satiety. Respecting these signals decreases the likelihood of overeating (or in the case of ignoring hunger cues, talking yourself out of eating because you can't possibly be hungry, which can lead to binging once you finally do eat).
Secondly, while I’ll stand behind my belief that there are no good or bad foods, you should determine what foods make you feel the way you desire to feel (or not feel). I don't know about you, but a regular diet of cakes, cookies, chips, fried foods (insert your fave here) doesn't leave me feeling too hot. Just like only eating kale, baked fish, and quinoa would be boring to me and I’d probably feel deprived by giving up my favorite foods. Learn to respect your cravings (so have the cake, chips, or ice cream) AND also respect when your body tells you it's had enough. If you find yourself binge eating foods then feeling bad after, it could be a sign of emotional eating and you definitely want to seek professional help.
Another thing to consider is that while you can use food to deal with your emotions, it’s a temporary fix that will typically leave you feeling worse in the long run. I challenge you to gauge whether you are eating when your body is sending you hunger cues or out of boredom, anger, sadness, etc. Not hungry? Probably shouldn't be eating. Begin practicing other habits for dealing with these emotions. You can use it as an opportunity to get physically active to blow off some steam, journal, seek counseling, or work on a project you've been putting off (it may take some practice if food has been your go-to for a while). In the long run, finding more effective ways to cope with your emotions aids in healing your relationship with food... so you can actually enjoy it without guilt, confusion, or anxiety.
I would bet money that learning to eat in this way (versus dieting) will leave you feeling more in control and less at odds with food. I want to leave you with this scripture that guides a lot of my decisions, but especially what I decide to eat most days. 1 Corinthians 10:23 says “Everything is permissible, but not all things are beneficial”. If you have specific health goals, let this scripture guide you in deciding if what you’re eating aligns with you meeting that goal. Now go eat… but only if you’re hungry ;)
Follow Tiffiney on IG @healthcoachtiffiney