Embracing Singleness (Throwback Edition)

I found this throwback piece earlier this week and couldn't understand why I never published it. There's freedom in remembering where God brought you from. What I was once afraid to say out loud is now being shared publicly. FYI this is a very transparent piece and I'm so glad I get to share it with you! -Trice C.

The Initial Shock:
I remember standing there in awe of what just took place; there was no way I could get through this. It was my decision to pick up that phone and honestly I had no idea that it would be this hard. I listened as he begged for me to rethink my decision but something magical happens when a woman has made up her mind. I knew I deserved better and I ultimately knew that I wasn’t ready to spend the rest of my life with this man.
Forgiveness is the Key:
I wish I could tell you that my broken heart healed quickly but that would be a lie, it literally took me about two years to really forgive myself and to forgive him. After ending my relationship I realized that the person I had become was vindictive, unhappy, depressed and okay with settling for less. I didn’t care about my dreams or goals and I was content with going to work, attending school at night and going to church when I felt like it. I was in a dark place in my life and no one was able to save me, I had to do some digging and I needed to forgive. I had to forgive myself for lowering my standards and for overlooking the damage that I allowed my spirit to endure, I had to release any guilt or shame that I was feeling because there was no way I could turn back the hands of time. There was no way to undo the damage that I had brought on myself and the hurt I had caused my family. I had to forgive him and truly let him go I could no longer hold him hostage and make him responsible for my dysfunction.
Embracing Singleness:
Embracing singleness is different for every person for me it was a long process and I had a lot of growing to do. The first thing I had to do was forgive and then I had to accept that this was my new reality and that being single wasn’t a bad thing.  Being single gave me a chance to rediscover who I was and what I love to do; it gave me a chance to start doing things on my own and to start loving myself. When you place your identity in a person and they break your heart you feel unworthy of love and that you don’t deserve to be happy. But when God snatches you out of something you realize how loved you really are and how this season of singleness isn’t a curse but an actual blessing.  The road to embracing singleness wasn’t easy as I stated before forgiveness is the key and I realized that I deserved to be free from all guilt and shame. I learned from my mistakes and told myself that I needed to be single for at least one year before entering into a relationship. Little did I know that God had other plans for me, here I am almost five years later and I am still single. Now that doesn’t mean men haven’t approached me but I know what God has called me to do and I must be connected with someone who understands the importance of having a relationship with Christ and someone who can understand my morals and values. Embracing singleness to me means that I no longer make excuses for someone else’s inability to properly love me, I accept where God has me and I move forward with my life until he sends me my future mate.
Knowing Christ during your single season is one of the best decisions you can make. Stay connected to the source and trust in HIS timing.

Overcoming Messy Milestones (Part Two)

Graduating from high school is the moment we all look forward to, but for me it was a constant battle between fear and depression. I had a plan to attend Liberty University and major in nursing little did I know that my plan would be torn to shreds. As the semester went by I began to sink deeper into depression and ultimately failed out of school. Between my fear, depression and embarrassment I withdrew from school and made plans to attend the local community college. I felt like a failure and that the plan I had worked so hard to create was no longer working.
I am so thankful that when our plans fail God steps in and reminds us that his plan is better than anything we could have imagined. The Summer of 2009 was my breakthrough moment, God showed me that children brought me so much joy and that my ministry was serving them. I went back to school that Fall with a plan to major in Early Childhood Education. In 2013 I graduated with my Early Childhood Education Degree with a 4.0 GPA. I went from failing out of school, fear crippling my dreams to relying on God and following his plan for my life. Below are a few tips that I used when dealing with depression, things don’t change overnight but with persistence and patience you can overcome your messy milestones!

#1: Get involved with a local church or group.
I would have never thought that God would use my church’s summer camp to unfold his plan for my life. I took a leap of faith and dedicated any time I had off work to assist and to serve those kids. God used that moment to show me that without him things will continue to fail but once I surrender he will be right there to lift the burden. Being connected to a good church with a solid foundation or even a good group of friends can help you cope with those rough days.
#2: Pray Consistently
Oftentimes when I had a rough day the last thing I wanted to do was get on my knees before bed and pray to God. Despite how I felt I would get on my knees and I would often just lay there and cry. Our tears, our silence still speaks volumes when we are at the throne of Jesus. Prayer gives us a direct line to Jesus and to the angels. As time went on it became the thing I looked forward to at the end of the night. My prayer life grew and I developed a deeper relationship with Jesus. I was able to speak about the things that were really on my heart and I was able to sit and hear his voice. There was never a time I felt like he didn’t hear me. Even if he didn’t come through when I wanted him I knew he heard every prayer.
#3 Seek Counsel
Counseling gave me the chance to speak without reservation; it gave me a chance to hear another point of view. I wasn’t judged or condemned it was just a safe place where I was able to share my heart. I encourage everyone to surround themselves with good spiritual mentors or people who can give me honest, Christian advice. While I was attending counseling I discovered that a lot of my depression stemmed from my adolescence and early teenage years, a rocky divorce and my family splitting up caused me to bury my pain. Seeking Godly counsel from your pastor or leaders of your church gives you another avenue to express yourself but to hear what God has spoken to them on the situation.
#4: Be Honest
When I was in the thick of my depression the last thing I wanted to do was to be honest. Whether it was somethings as small as a friend asking how my day was or putting on a facade that I was okay. I will never forget the moment that my doctor diagnosed me with depression; it was on my 20th birthday. One of the happiest days of my life and what started out as a simple checkup turned into a reality check. I realized that there was no need to hide or run. I learned that being honest with myself and with the people around me is the best thing that I could do.
#5: Fight
It’s time to put on the boxing gloves and fight! Fight because your life depends on it, your dream depends on it.  Fight through the insecurity, the pain, the regret and the hurt. You can make it! You will survive depression. God has given you everything you need to endure this battle just continue to seek him.

Traveling on a Budget

With Spring Break just around the corner and summer approaching, I figured I should give you a gift! Traveling on a Budget 101!!! Below is some need to know facts and suggestions that can help make your traveling experience easier and hopefully cheaper.
1. The best days to travel in my opinion are Tuesdays through Thursdays , the commuters and business men and women have already made it to their destinations by then
2. Enroll in reward programs, whether it be hotel rewards or airline rewards, IT PAYS to have these memberships!
Photo By: Trice 
3. Start shopping for your airlines tickets and hotel accommodations a few months prior to your vacation (check multiple travel websites and pick which one works for you)
4. Most traveling sites offer packages (flight, hotel and rental car) take advantage of those deals
5. DO NOT let the airline website auto book your itinerary. Give yourself at least an hour or two in between connecting flights (especially when traveling to big airports such as LGA (NY), JFK (NY), LAX (LA)..etc) You want to give yourself some extra time to factor in delays and walking to different terminals.
6. Download the airline app that you are traveling on! This comes in handy you can always check your connecting flight status and gate information even while flying! (oftentimes there is a map  of the airport available as well so you can know exactly which direction you need to go when you deplane the aircraft)
7. If you have a peanut allergy, needing wheelchair assistance or etc. please list it in the “special services or accommodations” section on the website when booking your ticket. This helps the flight crew and the airport personnel working the flight what to expect or prepare for
8. If you are traveling with an infant and you decide to purchase a seat and bring their carrier or car seat onboard please be prepared to have it checked or inspected (even by flight crew members) We are simply looking for a tag or marking that states “FAA approved”
9. When you are booking your flight and it stats “OPERATED BY….” It means that oftentimes you will be flying on a regional jet (don’t be alarmed these things fly fast!!!)
10. Always carry sanitizing wipes or gel and extra tissues!
11. Be prepared to hold your bottled drinks during taxi, takeoff and landing!  (FAA Requirement)
12. Laptops must be placed underneath the seat or in the overhead compartment until we are in the air
13. Know the difference between BOARDING time and DEPARTURE time! (we usually start the boarding process 30-35 mins prior to departure) Don’t get left behind because you wanted to grab a cup of coffee! We need you onboard!!!
14. Add a ribbon or a tag to help distinguish your carry-on or check baggage from the others. Also if you can try to fit everything in a carry-on bag (You could be saving some money not checking a bag)
15. Abide by TSA requirements and screening procedures (they are here to keep you safe and happy)
16. Finally if all else fails you can always marry a flight attendant, pilot, gate agent, ramper, baggage handler, etc) But just know that I AM STRAIGHT OUT OF BUDDY PASSES!!!!!!!!