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Still Standing!

The weeks leading up to Mother’s Day are always unpredictable for me. I have a wide range of emotions and I never know how they will play out, or even when. I think about the task of mothering without my mother. I grieve knowing that she never met my youngest daughter, or would never get to continue building her relationship with my oldest.

I grieve on behalf of my mom and her life that was abruptly cut short, after she’d already endured so much. I grieve for her as a wonderful grandmother who was given a fresh start from the marks that she missed as a mom. I grieve for my own grandmother who is the most resilient woman that I’ve ever known, but also understanding she has a hole in her heart that could never be repaired. I grieve the reality of how final death is.

One thing I’ve learned to do is not try to control any emotions that I have around this time, or any time for that matter. I’ve learned to give myself the freedom and the grace to feel whatever it is that I need to, whenever I need to. I’ve learned that being T.U.F.F also means acknowledging my feelings and not feeling the need to be super woman all the time. I’ve also learned to honor whatever it is that someone else may be feeling, even if I don’t fully understand it myself. I don’t have to understand to acknowledge and respect it.

That caused me to reflect on the wide range of emotions that I know so many others deal with during this time as well. I thought of the mothers that are grieving on a wide spectrum. The mothers who raised children who are no longer with us. The mothers who raised children who they have had to separate from due to toxicity. The mothers who have birthed babies that they never had the chance to raise. The mothers that carried babies that they never had a chance to meet. The maternal beings who haven’t yet been blessed with the children that they long for. It’s sooo much and I have so many people on my heart that I know personally as I write this.

The other side of the emotions include the blessings of the children that God have given me. I think of the lessons learned and how I incorporate those into raising them. I think of the heart and the character that I have as a result of all the trials I’ve endured, and how they get to benefit from that. I think of the strength that has been built and even shared with all of you. I think of the success that I’ve had, and witnessed others have, even in the midst of overcoming trials. I think of where I might be if I hadn't stood through it. Where would you be if you caved instead of stood?

I think it’s imperative to acknowledge all of it. Life is not bad. It is really good actually, with some bad moments. However, you can convince yourself that it’s horrible if you choose to focus only on what it looks like in a bad time. But when you start to think of all the ways you’ve been spared, all the times you didn’t get what you actually deserved, all the mercy that’s been extended to you, all the grace that has kept you, all the covering over you even when you turned the other way, all the favor that you aren’t even worthy of…..Bayyybyyy! The fact that you were equipped with all that you needed to stand through your darkest moments is a testament to that grace and favor.

I might be bruised and scarred, but I'm still standing. I believe my scars make me even more beautiful. I think yours do too. All soldiers have war wounds. It’s just the reminder of where you’ve been but most importantly, what didn’t break you.

I’m currently reading a Bible plan called More Doubt, More Faith. It’s really dope, you should check it out. One of the day’s topic is ”Can Injustices Cause Doubt?” The answer is astoundingly yes! When you’re in those dark moments and you feel completely alone and are crying out “God where are you” and “how could you let this happen” you feel helpless and abandoned. Doubt starts to creep in and if you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself in a dark whirlwind full of bitterness, resentment and anger.

I’m reminded that doubt does not mean unbelief. It means you’re human. I was also raised to ask Him. Talk to Him. Seek Him. Spend time with Him and listen back to what He’s telling you and showing you. You’ll get it through your prayers, reading your Bible, your conversations and interactions with people around you, your quiet moments alone in nature, and your conscience.

The most compelling for me is when the reassurance comes from complete strangers. I had someone say to me on IG recently “you look like happiness and peace and from whomever you’ve been waiting to hear it from I am proud of you! Watch what’s about to happen!” Man I could’ve shouted right there! She doesn’t know me (personally) and has no reason to say anything she didn’t feel led to say to me. It’s just like in the midst of doubt and asking God, He’ll send those reminders that you need to reassure you that He’s there, and always has been.

What stands out to me the most is the fact that we’re all STILL STANDING! Whatever the triggers are that causes anxiety for you this time of year, the fact is that you’re still here to share, to feel, to cope, to be. The commonality of strength and endurance join us at the core. Then the community surrounding that is what gives the encouragement to keep going. To look to your right and know that the woman beside you understands your pain brings a whole other sense of reassurance that you can get through it as well. Whew, the power in community!

This is exactly why I joined forces with Don’t Block Your Bloom to present Still Standing: The Virtual Women’s Conference. Y’all, the panelist that we’ve brought together are some super dope, super powerful women! They are definitely T.U.F.F. Chicks and I’ve been inspired by each of them. I’m so excited to collab with them and bring you a life changing event geared towards healing, discovery, empowering and overcoming. They will share their stories of what they’ve had to stand through and how they did it.

Topics include:

Play Your Hand – Alicia Moore

Minding the Business that Pays – Lacy Fields

The Ready Wife – Melissa Walker

Don’t Call it a Comeback – PatriceLIVE

The Mourning Child – Kay Alex

Self-love/Goddess Vibes – Lili Wilson

I hope you are as excited as I am. If you haven’t registered already, go to the homepage and do so ASAP. I promise you don’t want to miss this. Let’s continue building together, sharing, empowering, encouraging, and most of all standing, together. You can’t do it all on your own, but with community you can do anything!

From One T.U.F.F. Chick to Another,

Michelle L.

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