Memories of “Ms. P”

balloons-latexYesterday as I sipped on my Starbuck’s coffee and ate my favorite thing to go with it, gracious thoughts about my friend “Ms P” entered into my mind. I met her around 2006. Most people I met that year were going through some crisis of one kind or another. She came to me for advice, or maybe just to talk. Talk she did. She was bright, funny, fun, and always fancy free. She was one of the only people I had ever met who truly had a child like spirit, vulnerable, trusting, and had a wild curiosity about so many things.

She especially loved the spirituality I brought to her life. Ms P had a craving to know everything and anything I could tell her. Telling her was always fun and usually met with wide opened eyes and a jaw that enthusiastically dropped. She was a mix of sensitive spirit and wide eyed optimism wherever she went. I remember her as one of my greatest fans, if ministers could have fans. The only thing I could see that she did not like was being told “no” because the phrase “you can’t do that” was just not in her vocabulary. For her, trying was mandatory if it was something she really wanted. I often wondered why she came to meet with me. Maybe she just needed a friend who would understand her.

Sometimes I  thought she was a bit self centered but actually as I look back it was in a good way. I wish I would have looked after my own desires a little more carefully back then. I might have tried more things with a child like optimism. I think one of our greatest faults as people, sometimes, is to not realize all of what we deserve to have. Why do we listen to our inner tapes that repeat “I can’t” more than “I can”? Why do we care so much about what others think of us and leave our dreams sitting on the sideline for fear we wont’ be accepted?

As I look back, maybe Ms P taught me more than I taught her. I can’t explain it, but I think I felt a soft nudge from her as I sipped my Starbuck’s coffee. Words entered into my heart, “You can do this”. I could not help but smile because the memory of hers is such a bright one. We had lost contact for awhile. I suggested something she should not do. That was really not acceptable to Ms P because she went with her heart and no one could tell her otherwise.

I’ve been thinking that maybe a good way to honor a person’s memory is to learn from the goodness they brought to us. I loved her freedom, and her ability to go for what she wanted regardless to what others thought about it. She lived with a great deal of zeal and enthusiasm and it was as contagious as her laugh. She would love that this blog post is about her. There were some very tender vulnerable spots she carried, but mostly she loved being the center of attention. Maybe it was her way to make up for what she thought she lacked. Looking on from the outside one would never feel she lacked anything at all.

We all hide behind one thing or another, but Ms P chose her optimism and child like freedom to hide behind. Now that I take another look at her, it was probably her very best choice.

Loving you from here Ms P,

Pastor Jenine Marie Howry

**Photo credit from Party City. Ms P would love that!

When Differing Opinions Set Us Apart

IMG_2636.JPGSomeone I knew a long time ago used to say “Opinions are like people’s behinds, everyone has one”. (I cleaned it up a bit for this post). It’s true. We all have an opinion and we could never ever possibly agree all of the time. The cool thing about our country is that we have freedom of speech and voicing our opinions is a real privilege. We should value that privilege because many don’t have it and we also might learn from others.

Our differences should not divide us but inspire us to consider more. Maybe they should inspire us to consider other possible ways of thinking or even believing. When differences are excessive, then we might be way too different to hang around one another and setting ourselves apart is usually necessary. Sometimes our differences can just be one opinion or another though. Shutting those out will deny ourselves the gift of who we are  to one another and also in learning from each other.

I’m so blessed when people don’t delete me when I am struggling because I might need someones opinion. But when they do delete me they deny themselves the ability to be a gift to someone else’s pain. Trivial differences should be let go and we can agree to disagree. Its only when our disagreements have become excessive that we should consider setting ourselves apart. Or maybe if someone is hurting us and it is self preservation to keep them from doing so. Purposefully confrontational people can drag us into the mud very fast and zap our energy.

Personally, I’ve had to distance myself from those whose opinions become domineering and therefore hurtful to me. Or, sometimes I take the hint and back off when I think there are too many issues that can not be resolved. Yet, for those where there are only minor differences of opinion I tend to stick around to learn from one another. We can’t all be the same all of the time or we might end up doing a remake of that old movie “The Stepford Wives” and just become robots or clones of one another.

I don’t like to see people alone and hurting and I sure don’t like to be the one who is dumped onto the side lines of someone’s life over minor things because it DOES hurt.

Sooner or later we need to realize that God gives us the power and strength to be strong for others when they are weaker or even in the face of disagreement. Life is not a race against each other, it is a race we run with God for the regeneration of our soul. During Jesus’ time the outcasts used to be set outside of the city because they did not measure up according to the law. If their sinfulness was adultery they were stoned to death.

I like Jesus’ response regarding a woman who was caught in adultery. “Let he/she who is without sin cast the first stone.”

Love you anyway,

Pastor Jenine Marie Howry

(Yep, still called even with all my bumps and lumps)

 

When You Date the “Lemon”

if-you-were-happy-with-the-wrong-one-imagine-how-happy-you-will-be-with-the-right-one-love-quoteI was looking back on one of my past Facebook posts and it was about a date I had long before my current marriage. It was a coffee date and the man wanted me to interpret an often misunderstood portion of Scripture where women should not speak in the church nor teach men. The irony of it all was if I were to interpret it to this man it meant I was “teaching” him, right? I think his point to me at the time was he wanted to tell me, as a female, I should not be a minister. My reply to him was, if God had taken me through all of the things I had endured and then not have me talk about them then what was the point? (I think some forget that God does the calling not man).

It was only one of some very exasperating dates I had in my time. I got a first hand look at some of the cruelty out there in the world. It’s like I had a continual parade of those who ended up not being “the one”. I absolutely hated it. I think those years were some of the most hurtful ones I had in awhile. I feel blessed to be married, because in all honesty, dating really stinks! I did get a good glimpse of who is out there though. I have to say it was truly an education. My heart goes out to the dating world because there are so many who truly want a good mate and it sure is not easy. I shed a lot of tears during those years and finally came to the conclusion that dating was not for the weak. I think I never needed the power of God more than that time.

Seriously, I had so many lemons pass through my life that I was ready to just tell the next man he might as well just jump in and join the bunch. The amazing thing about it all was, what God wanted to happen, did happen, when I gave up the conquest! I can just hear God say, “Are you through yet”? What can I say, I gave it my best shot. Turning my dating life over to God was hard because having the sense of going through life alone is hard. It gets even harder when walking into a place to eat or into church and seeing couples with their arms all wrapped around each other. I used to wonder why I was stuck with the lemons.

Just when I was not looking, when life moved on, God took over the whole parade. I surrendered! It was hard, but I was left with no choice. I was too darned tired to even try any more. I had worn my nerves out to a nub and swore I should have joined a convent a long time ago! God had a different plan though. When I quit sizing up every man I met to see if he was “the one”, that is when God did what He does best. He took the wheel! I had to also give up the idea that there is a perfect “one” somewhere out there for me. The temptation when things are not working out is to begin to settle for the one who is so totally NOT the one! Then I also had to learn that even “the one” is not perfect, but he is perfect for me.

Every relationship is a lesson. Let me repeat this. EVERY relationship is a lesson. It’s supposed to be that way, because life is about relationship. Relationships show us our wounds and the areas we need to heal. Its a struggle for those of us who have endured a lot of painful experiences. When I look back, I am glad that God stepped back and allowed me to date a bag of lemons! I got a glimpse of those who were not for me, so I could learn to see who is, in a way God wanted me to see. Now I am married. Is life easy? NOPE! There are still things to learn, to weed out, to compromise on, and to understand. Actually the one God chose to have me settle down with has taught me the deepest lessons about love, marriage, and commitment. Lessons are hard, especially when we all want the good “in love” parts. I have those too, but they come with the other things as well!

Remember this while dating and also waiting for the right person to come along:

“Life is a mixed bag, and its full of nuts”!

Yep, there ya go! Dating 101 according to Pastor Jenine! PLEASE do not settle for the first one who gives you chills because he might be quite chilling later on. Get to know people and let God step into the process. Allow the Lord to teach you good discernment and grow as a person. Love and marriage is a wonderful thing but it is not always easy and the process of meeting different people can show you what type of person you can go through life with and what type you really should not. When it gets hard, step back and let God do a work in you. I’m thankful for those alone days of preparation now. Those days have given me wisdom and discernment. I’m still learning in my marriage, but I am learning with the one who can handle my past wounds and still love me. I am also learning with the one I can handle as well. I understand him.

You might just date a lot of lemons out there but bless the experience because it will teach you how to be with the right one. Stop looking for prince charming! He does not exist! Instead, be aware of the one who will be there for you when life becomes a three ring circus and you find yourself in the lion’s den. The one for you is the one who will love you when you are not lovely. He will be the one you will be there for even after he has just acted like a donkey’s behind and knows it!

I know this all sounds very lovely, huh? Its honest. Choosing a mate is a serious selection process that might make you feel like YOU are the nut! LOL. Don’t give up, it is still worth the ride!

Pastor Jenine Marie Howry

**Photo courtesy of Her Campus

 

Is Social Media and Technology Robbing Us?

Rev Jenine MarieHuman connection and interaction is one of the staples of life.  Science has determined when people are denied human touch they slowly die from the inside out. It has also been found when a person receives a hug from another, the nurturing brain chemical oxytocin is released in the brain. This brings a sense of comfort, contentment, and happiness. I can’t help but marvel at the way our Creator has made us. We are born for interaction, community, relationship, and love.

I am beginning to wonder if technology is taking a lot of that away from us. In some ways we are all connected more than we ever could have been without all of the modes of communication we have. Yet, in other ways I have to question if we are denying ourselves much needed human interaction and if we are losing the benefit of more personal modes of connection. Have you ever been instantly calmed by the sound of someone’s voice? I know that babies come to know the voices of their parents and it brings a sense of calm just to hear them. People who have fallen in love receive a brain signal at the sound of the voice of their beloved that causes that heart expanded feeling that only loving can bring.

I saw a study not long ago on the effects of Facebook use and the possibility of Facebook addiction. The study found that certain addictive brain chemicals were released into subjects brains just upon seeing that someone has “liked” their post. Then to the opposite when there was no response there is a sense of let down or disappointment. Have you ever found yourself having to see just who has liked or commented on your posts and being let down if it seems ignored? Social media has been a fabulous way to stay connected with others but it has come at a price.

I read an article once about a young girl who created a whole false life on Facebook to make it look good for her “friends”. The problem was, none of her Facebook friends ever saw her in person. In actuality she was sitting in a lonely room creating an impression that looked good on the computer but was deadly for her in the end. Her loneliness overcame her. I often wonder what would happen if everyone on social media posted just exactly how they felt that day, or even better expressed it in person to someone they know. I wonder if social media allows people to hide behind a curtain that makes them look great on the outside but things are not always that great in reality.

Think about this. How many of your Facebook friends call you? I don’t mean text or private message. I mean really call you? I’m serious. Go onto your friends list page and count the people who you talk to voice to voice or see in person as opposed to those you don’t. I’m willing to bet that the majority of the people on your list don’t even know the sound of your voice. Again, I’m not denying that social media is a great tool. I am saying that there are some drawbacks to interacting on a computer rather than in true “reality”.

We encourage one another, pray, and care about each other. Those things are wonderful. I always find encouragement somewhere on social media. I like to post encouragement online because I know it will help someone. If I were given the opportunity to call each one of my social media friends and encourage them voice to voice, I would love that so much more. We should be sharing our laughter, our tears, our prayers, and our real lives with those we “meet”.

I feel tempted to call each and every one of my Facebook friends and give them some of my voice time, or if local, a great big hug that gives the feeling of joy and comfort! How about you? Have you ever wondered what might happen if we all were real with one another and supported each other voice to voice, or in person? How much more would we heal, be comforted or uplifted? If voices give us responses in our brains and hugs flood us with life sustaining chemicals then why not take a Facebook or social media break and make it real?

I’m going to make this easy on you. I challenge you to call only TWO of your social media friends in the next week and truly have a meaningful conversation. It might be hard at first. Just remember how life used to be before computers were on our laps all the time and text messages were on our phones. We used to use phones for talking. Now it has just become another extension of social media. It has its value but it can’t take the place of how valuable each personal life truly is!

Loving you from here, and daring you to call someone!

Pastor Jenine Marie Howry

800-421-1765 for prayer

Jenine Marie Coaching and Ministries 

To Thy Own Self Be True (Re selfing Yourself!)

woman-huggingAs I pondered what I would like to give up for Lent, a very important issue came into my focus and mind. I really believe God drew this to me and I feel “we” have decided upon this one. I’m going to give up caring what other people think of my decisions and I’m going to work on “re selfing” myself. I’m no longer leaving my decisions to others but I am going to take care of them all myself, regardless to what others think. Re selfing  is a term I picked up from Author Harriet Lerner in her book “The Dance of Anger: A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships.”    I highly recommend this book as a good read for you. I am sure you will find a scenario in there that reflects part of your “self”.

This means taking responsibility toward self care upon myself. It’s basically where it belongs, right? No one else can provide this for me or for you who are reading. We have to provide this on our own no matter what it takes. Surprisingly it might take more than you think. Once I took a hard look at it all, I never realized just how much of my own decisions I have made according to what others might think about it, care about it, object to it, or not like it. Even with the knowledge that I deserve my own life while living it with others. Even with the knowledge that I deserve the best in this life, even if others don’t think so. Even with the knowledge that my best blessed life depends upon it, I still did not completely do it.

So, I am on a mission! I am putting my own desires, decisions, and destinations back into my own hands with God. Part of that means doing this even when others disagree, feel discomfort, or have to deal with their own “re selfing” because of it. Let’s not confuse re selfing with being selfish. Being our authentic self is the best gift we can also give to others as well. It causes them to look more deeply at their own self and make new decisions according to what they see or feel. It leaves others with their own feelings and whatever those might be, they will have to deal with them. You see, re selfing means also keeping out of others decisions as much as it means stepping completely into our own.

This has to be done without the fear of other’s reactions. Remember this always; you can not please everyone. There will always be someone who does not agree with you! Also, this does not have to be a harsh decision in which you have to fight tooth and nail to get what you want. You simply do it and leave others reactions to themselves. It does not mean we don’t care and it does not mean we don’t love. It means we love ourselves enough to gift ourselves with God’s best. This also means obeying God for ourselves when others around us don’t want to obey Him. Our responsibility is not to fix anyone else’s sin. We can comment on it in the form of guidance but we can not make someone want to change. They have to do that on their own.

So, what does this mean in the context of relationships? 

It means to express our authentic self and ideas without the fear of retaliating opposing comments. Someone else’s ideas and opinions do not make ours wrong for us. We are entitled to our own even if someone else disagrees with us harshly. Their disagreeing emotions belong to themselves. We care about them, but we can not change nor guide them. Re selfing means claiming our own lives and allowing others around us to adjust accordingly. Maybe some will do more than disagree. Maybe they will distance themselves. So be it! They were not meant to be in our lives then anyway. Anyone who does not want the best for you does not belong with you! I can’t even stress this enough.

On the flip side, being our authentic self means allowing others to be theirs as well. We can not guide or dictate someone else’s decisions no matter how upset they make us. We can respond to them as long as we don’t react. We can make our own decision according to how we feel about it. If they violate our boundaries then we also can decide to disconnect from them. It sounds easier than it really is. The concept is simple, but it takes some practice and faith. In the long run; I have to tell you the truth. Re selfing is the greatest thing you could ever do for your life. You are too important to pass yourself by! So, please pray about this for yourself! I’m sure that God will empower you because He wants the best for you too!

Loving myself and YOU from here!

Pastor Jenine Marie Howry

800-421-1765 for prayer

Has Someone’s Abuse Placed a Word Curse on You? Check Out How to Fix It!

Blessing, Curse Green Road Sign Over Dramatic Blue Sky and Clouds.Have you ever heard of a word curse? Proverbs 18:21 says that the power of life and death are in the tongue. A person can bless with their mouth or curse with it.God gave us the ability to speak things into life. Along with this we also can speak death.  A word curse is stating something that sets forth a demonic attack that can end up becoming a stronghold if we are not careful.

Abusive relationships do this. They set up word curses that need to be addressed and removed. Word curses become a part of our existence if not dealt with because they begin to drive our lives through our unconscious mind. Let me give you some examples of word curses from an abusive conversation.

“As long as you live, you will never be anything or have anything”.

“You are stupid. I can’t believe someone like you even lives”.

“Can’t you do anything right”?

“If you leave me, no one else will ever want you”.

You might not believe these things in the beginning but if they are spoken over you enough you will end up believing them. Even spoken once can be enough to hit your unconscious mind and set up a curse that will drive your life and thoughts in the wrong direction. So, how do you get rid of them?

First, ask God to reveal what curse has been spoken over your life. Even if you don’t think you have any still do this! You will be surprised at what comes out. You have to know what has been spoken because it is more powerful than just speaking out against word curses in general. Let me give you an example of how you can dump the curses from your life and create a more powerful way to live.

Lets take, “Can’t you do anything right”? First of all it really helps to forgive the person who stated this to you. Forgiveness sets forth a powerful spiritual release and helps us from becoming hardened or bitter. Then work on the curse itself. You do this by renouncing the curse and then replacing it with something that empowers you. Use God’s word and an affirmation with it.

Example: Dear Jesus, by the power and authority of Your name I renounce the word curse “Can’t you do anything right”? that has been spoken over my life. Please forgive _________ for speaking this curse over me and forgive me for receiving it. I have been released by the power of your Holy Spirit. I now “can do all things in Christ who strengthens me and I have put on the mind of Christ”. I do and say things that are right for my life. My life is driven by a power greater than my own because I am allowing Jesus to take the wheel. I live by His promises and truth. God created me unique and I have unique ways of doing things in this world and in my life. I affect others for good and not harm as well as myself. Jesus, Thank You for loving me and releasing me! amen .

Do you see how Scripture and affirmation are used here? You can use this same format and put in what you need. Repeat this as much as you need to. You will see that your thinking processes will change and so therefore your life will make a change for the better as well. The Bible tells us to renew our minds, and this includes our unconscious minds as well. Renew your mind daily by the power of God’s word and His promises! You WILL see results!

Speaking blessing over your life,

Pastor Jenine Marie Howry

If you need prayerful help, call me at 800-421-1765

I LOVE YOU!

Loyalty is Royalty

561b6efcae445eb9f2e6b453f89f10b7

In a world where there is so much potential to be let down, there is never a greater gift than to find those who are loyal to us. Whether it is a friendship, place of employment, a marriage, or child/parent relationship, loyalty is a royal virtue. There is no doubt we have found a treasure in someone who will keep our confidence, praise our accomplishments, comfort our trials, and be an honest critic when we need it.

Loyalty is a royal priesthood, praiseworthy in the service one gives as a loyal companion. One’s dedication to being a trustworthy person lifts humanity to new levels because of the unconditional love it takes to be loyal. A trustworthy person is one who looks past transgressions, forgives where we fall short, and is still there with us when life is bringing us to our knees.

Relationships are messy. They can be hurtful and even sometimes harmful. Since they are hard enough, we need to remember to choose wisely. Our love connections won’t ever be easy. Since we are all unique, with different personalities and preferences, it is sometimes hard to understand. The struggle between minds and emotions can almost feel like a train wreck on the path.

We do receive what we give out. There is a whole lot less insecurity when we are determined to be a loyal friend. Loyalty begets loyalty. A commitment that goes both ways ensures an enduring connection to be admired. Those who are dedicated will lift everyone to the same standard around them.

In a world where insecurity is an enormous stumbling block, finding reliable relationship connections are more valuable than any wealth on earth. We serve a God who is faithful through eternity. Being like Him means being faithful as well.

If you want loyal relationship connections, practice being loyal. We get back what we put out there. Being trustworthy and a good companion is an excellent service, not only to others but ourselves as well. We reap what we sow.

Loving you from here,

Dr. Rev. Jenine Marie Howry, Ph.D

JenineMarie.com

LifeLessonsbyJenineMarie.com

Woman To Struggling Woman

single-parent-2aI remember having a neighbor who was a single mom of a couple teen aged kids. I could feel the stress without even knowing her because I was a single mom with five kids in years gone by. It is not an easy position to hold in this world. Single mothers get battered by society a great deal. People don’t always know this because we don’t always talk about it. I know I didn’t talk about it too much because I did not want to be judged for mistakes I knew I made and times I knew I fell short. Life was hard enough without any added judgement stress.  It’s a struggle. Anyway, the neighbor I am speaking of was obviously in a struggle all of the time and I know most of us could hear her struggle from across the street and down the block. Her lights were on from early in the morning until late at night and I wondered if this woman ever slept at all.

I also heard the neighborhood speculations, criticism, judgements, and scorn that people placed upon her. I felt bad to hear about it, and even worse, that I did not have the courage at the time to do something that might have helped her. I often watched her with her children rushing them into the car, yelling for them to hurry up or they would be late, or sometimes warning them to do something or some consequence was going to occur. I heard over and over from fellow neighbors what an abusive person she was and how horrible it must be for her children.

In Comparison:

Not long ago in Texas there was an incident where a bunch of teens were throwing stones at police officers because of outrage concerning a recent racial issue. Our local news station broadcasted a woman who had recognized her son in the crowd, I think attempting to throw rocks at police officers. The reporter and camera swung over to this “mad mama” just in time to catch her grabbing her son by the scruff of the collar, screaming and yelling at him, threatening him ultimate punishment and pushing him along to get him home. Anyone watching this scenario knew that young man was going to catch holy heck the moment he got home! The praise that went out regarding that mom was massive! The feeling was that there would be one less young man that society was going to have to worry about, either now or later on in life, because his mama made sure his discipline was fast and strict. She won the admiration of many. Oh there were scoffers too, but mostly admiration.

Here’s the question…

I had to wonder what the difference was between that mom who went to physically grab her son and the neighbor woman I had who basically was doing the same thing. Before I go further, I want to say, that in no way shape or form do I ever want to imply that abuse of another human being, especially a child, is alright. What I do want to say, is that we do not know or understand what is going on in another families situation. We don’t know what single mothers are going through and we do not know what is going on with the children or teens merely by speculation. The Bible tells us that we “know in part”. This means every situation, when it comes to people, has hidden things just like God has hidden mysteries. We can never properly discern a distant situation and say we know all things about it. We can not even discern all things close to us and say we know  everything. People have hidden things in their hearts and only God alone knows those hidden things.

We have wounds, scars, issues, confusion, and more. So, how can we not have compassion on those who obviously are struggling? Women who are mothers and have to care for their children alone are already scarred by the things she has had to suffer that caused her to be a single mother. She also carries scars from the things that society also will cause her to suffer just trying to get through every passing day and make it to the next. Single mothers are brave human beings. We get up earlier than everyone else because we are the ones who get everyone started. We go to bed later because we are the ones who will make sure things are safe for everyone to lay down to rest. We prepare for the next day,  create strategy for the future of our children, and fight the continual battles that come at us from every single direction. We work harder than anyone can imagine with very little recognition along the way. Then the even harder part is we do it fighting the rest of the world all the way.

I wonder if anyone thought of my past neighbor as a hero? I wonder if anyone ever thought of me as a hero? I did not even know that I was or that I am. I do now.

Ladies, part of being powerful is remembering to empower each other by acceptance, assistance, and understanding. Granted, these days when we offer a struggling single mother assistance we might get our head chewed off. I think it can be expected. After all, look how society probably has judged and made it hard for her. I know, because I remember the neighbor families who talked about the woman I lived near. I also know because I heard the whispers that went around about myself from neighbors when I was in that position. If we ever want to see women surpass the pressures we go through in this life, we have to learn to not press one another down. Bottom line, we have to see ourselves in each other, because we are one another. Our situations might not all be the same but we all have one. We were made by God with the same job to do and we were also meant to help one another while the men went to battle the forces and feed the village in centuries past.

Think about how much easier life can be if we choose willingly to lift one another up, help each other succeed, and give understanding to one another in our struggles. Can you imagine a world that much easier? I know I can. A thought to ponder….

Sincerely Yours,

Rev. Jenine Marie Howry

** Photo Credit: ThinkStock Images/Comstock Images/Getty Images