MarriedLife: Does It Matter If I Look Good?

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Who doesn’t want to look their best?

You’d be surprised!

Whenever you first begin something in life you put your good foot forward. Whether it’s a job interview or picture day at school or the first date. But after you landed the job, got the girl or boy of your dreams is it required for you to continually keep your best foot forward? Is the same requirement for women to look their best enforced for men?

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Yes, it matters!  When my wife looks good it lets me know that she has class, that she cares about her self-worth and she is mature. Before I got married, I desired to be with a woman that was mature, beautiful and respectful in her appearance and behavior. When my wife doesn’t look good it makes me believe she doesn’t care and that she essentially gave up on life. I find it very unattractive whenever my wife doesn’t have her hair done and isn’t put together and glamoured up. I believe in spending time and money on my wife so she could look her best and feel her best. Whenever my wife is smelling good and looking good it lets me know how she feels on the inside. I believe our outward appearances reflect our inner selves. Maintaining our appearance gives us a glimpse of your character, beliefs, and morals in life. When you respect yourself you can respect others.

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Even if you can’t afford designer clothes and brand name labels, you should take effort into making yourself look good and feel good. I love to dress up not for the sake of pleasing others or my husband but so I can be comfortable in my skin and who I am. So if I’m wearing a dress and heels one day and then ripped jeans and a pair of wedges another it doesn’t mean I have less confidence. I want to see men and woman dressing like the confident person they are and can be. If I wasn’t married, I wouldn’t pay any attention to a guy who didn’t have is pants pulled up, a nice haircut and some nice shoes. That doesn’t make me a “goal digger” but a person with standards. Sometimes my husband doesn’t dress up like I want him to. I nudge and nudge but when he does I revel in how handsome my husband is. I love seeing him in a nice suit and a tie or even nice jeans and tee, it lets me know he is happy with his family and life.

MarriedLife: Apology Accepted?

How hard is it to just say, “I’m sorry”?  Apparently, those two words can sometimes make or break your marriage. In a marriage, conflict arises and usually if not kept in check it can escalate to where things can go from bad to worse. No matter how  deep in love you are with your spouse, how close, or how long you’ve been married, somewhere along the line, someone has to say, “I’m sorry.”

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I don’t always apologize like I should. Whenever we come to a fork in the road, my instincts are to prove him wrong instead of seeking peace. When my husband and I disagree, I try my hardest to justify my opinions or actions. I put all my energy into seeing that I’m right and he is wrong. Sometimes I feel that the person responsible for the problem should dish out the apology. When I know I’m completely at fault, it’s easy to say, “I’m sorry.”

 

1I believe my apologies to my wife show that I am truly sorry. I don’t believe my wife sees my apologies are sincere. When I’m at fault, my wife always wants more. Saying, “I’m sorry” isn’t enough for my wife. She wants to know the specifics of my apology, the reason and a grand gesture to seal the deal. In my mind, my apologies seem adequate. When I say, “I’m sorry” it typically means for it to cover everything that’s been said or done. As a man, I prefer to get straight to the point. My goal is to avoid stopping at every intricate detail and get right down to making up.

Moment of Truth: Forever In Debt, Paying It With Praise

My most recent moment of truth left me with massive bags under my eyes. I’ve been frozen for a while now and I am finally beginning to thaw out. The past couple of months has been filled with glorious ups and dramatic downs. It’s been difficult keeping up with the exciting new changes in my life. Personally, I feel like I’m not doing this blog post justice because of all that has happened for us can only be expressed through tears of joy.

My husband is finally home from basic training. I’m so proud that he endured, sacrificed, and worked tirelessly to provide a future for us. While he was away, my daughter and I moved into our first apartment. It was a scary, yet exhilarating change. We endured being confined in my parent’s house for nearly two years and after what felt like forever, God finally gave us the green light to move forward. We spent the end of our summer moving in and getting settled. I made constant trips back and forth from stores trying to decorate my blessing with a passion I thought I would never have again. We love our new home and appreciate it because of how long we had to wait to get it.  Sometimes it feels to good to be true but every day I fight off the past of having nothing and embrace having something of our own.overnight

We managed to accomplish three years worth of dreams, desires, and goals in one summer. For a long time, I was worried if I would ever get to the day where my life was filled with accomplishment, prosperity, and peace. With all the sweat, tears, and pain we went through to get it I’m still learning that success comes through Christ, through faith, and hard work.

My life has felt pretty intense with all that has happened. All my prayers and cries to God were answered and I’m living with my husband and child happily. Hearing Elizabeth laugh uncontrollably because daddy is acting silly brings me to tears. I’m reminded of the past three years where nothing was going right for us, everything was turned against us and our endeavors for a better life. Door after door was closed in our faces followed by betrayals, lies, disappointments, and sorrow. Yet, I’m here, sitting on my living room floor experiencing a day I’ve been begging for since forever.

I don’t mean to get emotional, but I’m so thankful that God loved me so much to refuse me the option of failing. I was tempted way too many times to count to just quit and throw in the towel. It’s been a gritty, sweaty, disgusting, vulnerable three years for me and you have no idea how refreshingly good my days are. I wish I could paint a picture of how much bitterness, sadness, disappointment, and sorrow I was carrying inside. I was at a point where the gloves were off and it was either do or die.

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I realize now that God broke me down so low that I only had enough energy to wait on Him. During those three years, I wasted energy that should’ve been used to get closer to God rather than trying to solve my problems. Without no fight in me, that’s exactly what I finally did. I honestly, didn’t have a choice. It was either wait on God to swoop in right on his time and fix everything or risk ruining my situation, my family, and myself from bad to worse. I realized if my situation got any worse it wouldn’t be by my hand. I made a resolve to keep fighting but fighting with God in front of me, beside me, behind me, and in me. I didn’t know how or when but that I would get what I was asking for and God didn’t let me down.

Now that that season of testing is over (for now), I can see the purpose behind it all. What comes to my mind is when Jesus gave us the ultimate gift of dying on the cross (Matthew 27:32-56). He too had to get gritty, sweaty, disgusting and vulnerable before the World could get better. Before any of us could have a shot at redemption, freedom, victory, salvation, and a better life he had to set us free from the eternal consequences of sin. The task required him to get his hands dirty, his feet dirty, his face smudged with countless tears and sorrow. He had to walk amongst dead things, things that showed no hope for life or growth. Every day through his walk closer to the cross he had to die daily to finally be awakened with freedom. Through his painful, bloody season he overcame the darkness with light so we can have a better life. So I can have a normal Tuesday where I can sit calmly and watch my husband and child laugh with contagious joy.moment-of-truth

No pain, no gain is more than a cute saying for motivation. It’s a guarantee that dreams and goals can be received only with the equal amount of hard and painful work. I believe the bigger the dream, the heavier the workload load. The bigger the prayer, the longer I need to stay on my knees, stay in His Word, and dwell in His Spirit. The price of my dreams coming true cost me three years of struggle, of setbacks, and tears so that I can one day afford it. The only way I could afford it is because of Jesus Christ. The cost of Jesus Christ dying on the cross to save mankind involved a heavy debt that no one could afford to pay but Him. He covered the worst possible, highly unimaginable bill that could never be accomplished by me or you.

So in this moment, after reflecting back on every gray morning, every dark night, all I need to be doing, should’ve have been doing from the beginning, in the midst of it all is belch out, “Thank you, Lord!” All this struggle, all the waiting, the fight for my blessing birthed in me a grateful heart. Life isn’t going to always be fair, but despite it all, good or bad I constantly owe God a praise. The storm and rain fostered a real appreciation for all that God has done.

Most importantly, it shows me that Christ understands it all. Three years of struggle have changed me to have a heart filled with thanksgiving and understanding. If I only had good days, I would never appreciate them. I would never understand what Christ did for me, nor would I have a tenderness for someone else who is going through tough times. Bad days challenge me to focus off myself so I can be in a place to help someone else. I can be in a place where I’m leaning on Christ instead of my resources. It might sound crazy but going through bad days are the sure way to get to your good ones.

 

 

Today is My Third Anniversary

 

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For my love,

Happy third year anniversary to my best friend. Three years is nothing compared to the rest of our lives.  Since I was 15, I’ve done so much growing and learning, and you’ve only made my life so much more meaningful. We went from two separate individuals to being and living as one. Though our wedding day was far from perfect, leaving, cleaving and becoming has been nothing short of amazing. Despite all the things we didn’t have, I cherish every day that we have with each other.IMG_1356

I remember all the times you brought a smile to my face, made me laugh and even cry. I smile when I think about all the times we comforted each other, encouraged each other, and loved. I look forward to days to come when you let your love shine on me. You’ve been a gentleman, so caring, loving, and upstanding. I am proud that you call me your wife. This journey hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worthwhile. The past 1,080 days have been filled with good, bad, ugly, joy, pain, grief, disappointment and happiness. You’ve given me headaches and peace, joy and sorrow. And three years is just the beginning of the rest of our lives.

You’ve given me the best of both and I don’t take our life for granted. I believe God connected us long before we got married. We never could stay apart from each other long, try as we might. The amazing part of our love and relationship  is that it never felt forced or rushed but right on time. That’s how I knew you were sent from God because I felt content, with you. You’ve always been by my side and you managed to give me goosebumps every single time. I’m just grateful we both were obedient to what God planned for us.

Three years later and all I want to do with you is to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”(2 Peter 3:18) I definitely don’t want to waste another second apart and I can’t wait for you to return back to me. Reflecting back on the yesterday’s brings hope for more to come. I love you and I miss you.

Moment of Truth: A Letter To Myself 2016

 

Dear Victoria,

It’s the New Year so quit playing around. There are some things we need to address before you become successful. I love you too much to make the same mistakes from last year. I especially will not tolerate another second of you second-guessing us. Don’t worry, I’ve brought a hefty insurance policy on you in case you bail on me.

One thing you need to keep in this year is your love and passion for God. Don’t EVER let your responsibilities and privileges push Jesus Christ aside. No more, “In a minute God” or “I’ll do it later, Lord.” God loves us too much for you to keep pushing him away. Without him, you have nothing! Remember that!

Swallow your pride and love your husband. Yes, I know he can be a bit “team too much” but you decided to marry him anyway, so deal with it. Laugh at his corny jokes, never stop forgiving him when he messes up and ALWAYS pray for him. I mean when he is good and bad! Pray when you have nothing else better to do. The man needs it! You both do! Keep your love for your husband high and your respect for him higher. I better not hear you being mean!

I don’t have to tell you, but love your daughter! She is spectacular. She is everything a mother could ask for. Trust me. Play with her and be an example that you want her to follow. Model Christ in front of her always. Teach her how to be the woman and wife you are still striving to be. Make sure she is a lady. Try not to spank her too much!

Lastly, smile. Don’t worry about what tomorrow will bring. Actually, enjoy the moment for a change. I’m serious, enjoy your 20s because you rarely do. Be strong, confident, and sweet. Make sure you always have enough pens in your purse. And never give up! I’ll be checking in on you so you better stay sober (1 Peter 5:8). Make sure you never, ever stop writing. There isn’t enough room in your head for another story, plot twist, or play.

Love Always,

The Tougher Side of Me

Moment of Truth: Facing My Feelings

He’s gone. God give me strength. #Wife #Husband #NationalGuard

I wasn’t planning on sharing this on my blog. I’m trying not to lie, but I’m having a hard time being open about this. This has brought a lot of mixed emotions. On the outside, I am cool, confident and secure. On the inside, I’m nervous, worried, and anxious.

January 4, 2016, my husband left me.  He left to complete his basic training at Fort Jackson in South Carolina. I’m so proud of my best friend because he has been trying for so long to join. The past two years have really challenged the both of us, our marriage and our spirituality. I remember when he first told me he was signing up for the military while we were engaged. I was shocked. I always thought he would be a regular joe. A man who clocked in and out every day. I was obviously happy on the outside, and knowing my husband, he knew I wasn’t entirely eager on the inside. A couple of months after we got married, he found out that he was horribly deceived. He signed up just like everyone else, filled out the application, paperwork, and forms. He completed physicals and drills, only to be told lies. One minute he was in the army and the next he wasn’t.

I still don’t know what happened, how he got the boot and why. Although I was disappointed on the outside, I was relieved on the inside. But, my husband was wrecked. He was disappointed that all his hard work was in vain. He was humiliated; after telling so many family and friends of his next big adventure.  Being publicly humiliated, left with empty pockets made him feel so small. I was so frustrated and sad for him because he was a victim, yet some treated him like a villain. It was a battle I couldn’t win for him. It was difficult watching him struggle. He had questions, he was hurt, and he looked alone.

As horrible as the past two years have been, I am so grateful that it made me fall down on my knees and pray. All the bad, inconveniences, and deceit the past year made me depend on his Word like never before. It wasn’t easy watching my best friend be gutted like a fish, so helpless to vulnerability. My husband went through so much back-stabbing, gossipers, betrayals, liars, and two face crooks. I saw sides of him that made my heart ache.

So, when my husband told me again that he was signing up for the military. Can you imagine my face? An eruption of emotions bellowed from me. I was confused that he wanted to risk the everything again for nothing but uncertainties. I was insulted that he would risk our relationship to try another attempt at failure. Not to mention, it would now mean leaving me alone with our daughter. I kind of came off as unsupportive and as you get to know me, I a very supportive, loving friend and wife. Just, after the roller coaster of the disappointment last time, I really didn’t want to get on the ride again. He kept telling me over and over that this time will be different. So, I bit my tongue and held two thumbs up and made sure to hold back my tears until everyone went to sleep.

DSCN1316I’m trying not to lie, my prayers were a little conflicted. I would tell my husband that I’m praying for him to get in, but behind closed doors, I would tell God to belay that prayer and bless him to stay home. I just didn’t want to sign up and watch my husband go through the same horror. Can you blame me? I would ask God over and over, moan and groan, and lament for another story for my husband. One that didn’t require him leaving.

As romantic the idea of being married to a soldier might be, it takes a huge commitment. As honorable as the position is, I don’t take it lightly and appreciate every military family because of it. It’s not an easy task. Once he learned of his departure date, it was sealed. My husband was packing up to be a soldier. It’s been a couple days since he left and I’m cool. Taking it a breath at a time. My worst fear is that he comes back home broken and disappointed again. If you are married, then you know how challenging it can be to hold up a broken man. So, it’s out of my hands and all I have left to do is pray.

I Am #YoungMomStrong

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I am so excited! I am so happy I connected with Courtney Lynn Howell. She is one amazing young mom! Go read her story about her journey to motherhood. Motherhood & Main is a beautiful, awe-inspiring website for young moms to come and connect and gain love and support. When I first saw her site I was blown away. Her small beginnings brought her to such high heights of accomplishments. I highly recommend you going to her website and see for yourself!

I am so grateful that she decided to feature me in her #YoungMomStrong series. If you don’t believe me go see for yourself…Click Here! I was jumping up in down with excitement. I have probably clicked the link a thousand times and shared it two thousand times. There are plenty of outstanding young mothers before me that you should read as well.

This is why I love blogging. If you haven’t started your own cool blog don’t wait another second. I get to be apart of a world filled with amazing mothers and women. Each one of us may talk about the same thing or topic but we all say it differently. We all have our own voice and style. I also love how I don’t feel the need to compete with them either. We, young moms, gotta stick together!

 

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Moment of Truth: Being Her Parent Is Worth It

Being a mother has its good and bad days. Sometimes I wish there was a manual that guides you to a perfect parent life. I’ve been blessed to have this little girl in my life. I get to be a part of her adventures every day. She grows and learns every day. I’ve only been a mother for 10 months and counting and…I’m already pulling my hair (rather it’s falling out)!

I’m overwhelmed by news reports and articles on baby do’s and dont’s. The back of a food label can give you nightmares for days. It seems like parenting is more of a horror story without a happy ending! Even after reading articles, books, magazines, along with listening to doctors, child experts and moms, I still feel like I’m not giving her enough.

Those moments (sigh) when your exhaustion catches up to you! Some crazy incident involves your baby eating paper or kitty litter. Your alarm goes off and you pray and hope your kid’s arm won’t fall off. Trust me, you’re not the only one to use Google or go on WebMD to self-diagnose your little one.

My advice:

  • First, step away from Google and take a deep breath.
  • Remind yourself that you’re an amazing mom or dad.
  • Think about all the good things about being a parent.
  • Don’t stress over every little thing.
  • Don’t dwell on the negative. It weighs you down like an anchor.
  • Keep a positive attitude on the absolute worst days.

Most importantly, have faith everything will work out. Becoming a parent is an honor and rite of passage. My life has taken a new meaning with new priorities and a new reason to smile. Having a child (or children) will come with a mess but relax…it’s a mess only parents can clean best!

1609788_10153372978827152_4309837560169015771_nSince I had my Elizabeth, I’ve taken my new role and responsibility as if it was a super power. It’s NOT to be taken lightly but life’s too short to stress over what you don’t have and what problem lies ahead. As you go through the day, promise yourself and your kid(s) that you won’t take being a parent for granted. Don’t be afraid to wave the white flag and ask for help. As a new mother, I sometimes feel when I ask for help, it means that I’m failing her. I’ve learned these past few months it’s the other way around. I fail her when I don’t acknowledge I’m tired and need a break. Although I like to consider myself Super Woman, I’m only human (with a really cool kid). Get a moment to yourself. Remind yourself you’re not a failure when you allow overbearing grandmas and moms to jump in. If the opportunity comes…run as fast as you can!

Ignore the scolding and judgmental looks from so-called “expert moms.” Just because their kids are grown and functioning in society doesn’t mean they’re perfect. They’ve made mistakes too. Don’t let other parenting styles knock you off your rhythm. After a couple weeks of spending time with my baby (only because my lady business was still getting herself together), I connected with her and started to understand her more. I learned her cries and knew when and why she was fussy. I learned her schedule of when she wanted to eat and sleep. So when other parents tried to chime in their opinions and “philosophy”, I was an expert on MY baby. I listened to her instead of what others said. When you know your baby, nothing else matters.

Finally, trust your instincts. A lot of parenting books and articles don’t stress it enough. Most guidance from the media comes from statistics. A group of kids responding to a variety of ways is just data! Your baby isn’t a number. Rely on your natural instincts if all else fails. So what if you didn’t use a specific lotion or healthy snack? So what if you gave your baby something that’s really sugary? It’s your baby and no one can out love him/her more. When your bones are tingling about something and everyone else is saying something different…listen to that gut feeling! Of course don’t ignore sound and wise advice, filter it. Just because using Johnson & Johnson worked for your mom’s mom doesn’t mean it will work for your baby. You might need Aveeno or something cheaper for the frugal Frans. Some advice isn’t applicable. I received a lot of products for my daughter. I didn’t use them because it didn’t fit in with my baby’s needs.

Smile and take a sip of the bottle. Know that you’re not the only struggling and juggling parent out here. I’m always here so now there’s two of us! From one parent to another, I hear it gets worse! Keep smiling…sooner or later it will be their turn.

Moment of Truth: Did You Think It Would Be Easy?

I’m not going to lie, I thought it would be. I was hoping I would jump out and start flying. I was naïve to think because I’m saved and I have God on my side that everything will magically work. The scriptures say, “Everything will work for my good.”(Romans 8:28) I literally thought everything except me would work and I would reap all the benefits. Growing up has taught me that even though God is on my side, I still have a part to do.

Bad habits are hard to quit! When I got married and had a baby I believed that life would only get better. I have a great man who loves me and a beautiful daughter that I’m proud of. I thought because I was saved and he was saved that we would always enjoy marital bliss. I didn’t disregard the work but I didn’t acknowledge how hard it would be. To be honest, I don’t know what I was thinking. Marriage comes with ups and downs. Marriage comes with good and bad.

So, a couple of days ago Dave and I were arguing. To be honest, we usually argue so it’s not a surprise. I don’t even remember what it was about or who started it. Sometimes arguing with my husband is irritating and other times are just hilarious. You know when you are in the heat of the moment and you’re so angry you speak before you think. Your words come out but don’t sound right and the person you’re arguing with looks at you crazy like, “What in the world you talking about?” I have been there so many times with my husband and every time we find a way to work it out.

Whenever Dave and I fuss or argue about something my mind instantly reverts back to Hosea and Gomer. In the bible, there is a book called Hosea that talks about this incredible love story between God, Israel, Hosea, and Gomer. At that time Israel was in chaos, doing her thing, being big and bad. God was heartbroken and fed up with their mess and told them that they’re going to suffer for their actions. God used the life and marriage of Hosea to demonstrate and prophesy what will happen to Israel. Most importantly, he used this man and wife as an example of how much he still loves them. Incredible right! Gomer started out as a faithful wife and mother but lost her love for her husband. She started to have promiscuous sex with other men, bore children by these affairs and eventually ran off with the man she deemed her “soul mate.” She embarrassed Hosea, broke his heart and ran over it until it was in a million pieces.

But, here’s the twist: When Hosea heard his wife got dumped, had debt, and was currently on the slave market for slave his response was crazy. I mean, most people would have laughed bitterly, screamed out, “that’s what she deserves;” but instead he ran to her, paid her debt, cleaned her up, and took his baby home.

Now, I’m not saying my husband drives me crazy enough to cheat. But whenever friction is between Dave and me, my mind automatically goes to Hosea and Gomer. I don’t know if Hosea and Gomer had similar marital problems or not. I’m not even sure how they communicated, but it warms my heart whenever I argue with David because it challenges me to love him unconditionally. It’s hard for us to love someone unconditionally because we were fashioned to favor conditions. As long as he treats me right then I will love and respect him. As long as she gives me booty then I will treat her like a queen. It is very hard to love someone flaws and all, mistakes and lies without expecting anything in return.

One particular day I was looking up new scriptures to help me better love my spouse and I was led to Hosea and Gomer. I read the entire book and was blow away at the dramatic, awe-inspiring love. I mean I was surprised at the intensity of their love. You think you only see it in movies, but right before my eyes, God was showing me how much he loves me. Only God can love me unconditionally. No matter how many times I mess up, fall, lie, act selfish, ignore him, treat him and others wrong, he is always waiting to run and clean me up and take me home. My God loves me so much that he will even throw in some conditions just to make me think that I’m doing something to earn his love. You don’t believe me! In the bible, the Lord tells Israel that if you keep my commandments that He will be with him forever (Leviticus 26)! God already promised them over and over that he is their God, he is their guide, their king but he holds them accountable. God doesn’t want fake, forced love but the real thing (John 15). Even though we could never earn his love, he sets it up so we can still receive his love. That is amazing.

Life Lesson: Having Strength Against Opposition

  IMG_1683 “Our fight is not against people on earth. We are fighting against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness. We are fighting against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly places.” (ERV) Ephesians 6:12

This scripture reminded me of a time when my husband was extremely stressed and worried. Struggling where money was going to come from and where it was going to go. Stressed about the well-being of his family, their safety and happiness. Although he didn’t want to show it, he was tense. He was scared that he wasn’t going to make it, wasn’t going to be “a man” and that I would leave (he should know better). Countless of arguments about others, him worrying what others think, what others would say and do. It would make me furious! Now I’m no man, but I can only imagine handling all the pressure and weight of being the head of the household. Even though I love him and try to be there to help, I can’t always fight his battles.

I never could understand why people paid so much attention and worry over people who can’t give or take anything away. And even if they could, God is literally the only one who can snatch it right back! I’ve never really carried opinions of others so heavily, especially when I was confident in God, what he told me, and the dreams and passions he placed in me. My husband, on the other hand, has always been a little more attentive of other opinions.

For all wives, you know the last thing you want in your marriage is a distracted, overwhelmed, stressed man. You need your man focused on God, family, work (paying bills). It bothers me when someone got the nerve to mess with my man! (Lol) The fight we really should be focused on is the war against everything not like God!

Worrying about enemies, co-workers, horrible bosses, in-laws, parents, church folk– allowing everyone to take away your peace, joy, and faith….your focus on the vision, your destiny, all so you can appease to others who plainly can’t put you in heaven or hell. That’s why they do it, just so your focus on God and your goals aren’t top priority. How you going to move forward while looking back? You see why I was frustrated? The fight isn’t against others, but against Satan!

 29309_422351732151_3645403_nAs long as God knows what I’m doing and how I’m working hard to make him pleased – everyone else can just sit and watch. My reputation doesn’t mean nothing when the most important person isn’t saying, “Well done good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21-23; Luke 19:17) I’m pretty sure none of us were birthed to impress others. Wear your struggles proudly, it ‘s what makes you the man or woman of God that he will use to bring others to Christ. Don’t be ashamed about struggling, everyone is just some are better at hiding it. Struggling births victoryhow else are you going to win?

Don’t get sore about how you started and where you are right now in finances, social status, work, or school but stay focused on how the rest of your journey will go. Ups and downs are inevitable, learn to jump on Paul’s bandwagon and rejoice in the midst of trials (Romans 5:3-10; 1 Peter 1:6-9). Suffering and sometimes being embarrassed builds character and appreciation – makes you humbly dependent on God. So don’t fret over others who don’t realize that the process you’re in is going to propel you to greatness. I can’t think of one person in the Bible without a flaw, hang-up, horrible past, addiction, criminal record, bad reputation that weren’t used by God. Don’t worry if some or none might not understand, agree, or support. You might get a million no’s from everyone else, but the only yes you need is from God. Don’t let anyone stop you! Have a made up mind to fight your way out of your situation and if you gotta look crazy in order to make it well get to looking crazy.