My6inchchallenge's Blog

Tackling difficulties and overcoming the challenges life serves up – by Dona Halliday

Archive for October, 2011

Putting a face on domestic violence

One woman is beaten by her husband or partner every 15 seconds in the United States. (Uniform Crime Reports, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1991).You can’t really tell, can you? No one wears the evidence of domestic abuse as a badge for others to see. Our smiles conceal it. We may be too ashamed to speak of it, and much too afraid to try to escape it. As I look at the photo of the three of us sitting at the table, Laura, me and my mom, I’m aware that the American Medical Association reported that in the United States approximately 1 in 3 women will be assaulted by a domestic partner in her lifetime.

To bring it home, it means that probably at least 1 of the women sitting at the table with me has been abused by her husband, 4 of the women I work with may have been or could be abused by their domestic partners, and it boggles my mind to figure the number of abused women who could have been worshiping with me at church this morning.

I was stunned when I found out that each year approximately 3 to 4 million women in the United States are beaten by spouses, former spouses or their male lovers. I may  never again be able to share my space with a group of women without wondering, “Will they be safe when they get home?”

Their stories may differ, but they share similar emotions. One woman said her husband would not hit her, he would just hold her around the neck and squeeze – he was a choker – she was terrified to stay and even more terrified to leave, he threatened to kill her if she left. Another woman said her husband would pin her down and pound her head against the floor, she was afraid for her life, but she stayed as long as she did because she felt she had no other options, and the stories go on…

October, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month is almost over and it’s easy to forget those things that don’t directly affect us. However, if we were able to put a face on Domestic violence this awareness can remain with us the entire year. Imagine it were your mother, sister, daughter, friend…  For, approximately 1,000
to 1,600 women in the U.S, are killed each year by their male partners. This does not include those women who kill themselves in an effort to escape the violence, or those who die due to homelessness as they try to avoid being battered.

If you are a victim of domestic violence or if you are aware of someone who is, know that many women have found the courage to leave their abusers, have survived to share their stories and have overcome the tough challenges of starting over.

Help is available. Check for resources in your state or click this link for more information your life or the life of someone you love may depend on it.

Spiritual lessons from Sir Nibbles

I’ve never given much thought to rabbits. Until recently all I knew was what I learned in elementary school – a male rabbit is called a buck, a female a doe and a baby a kitten. Very limited knowledge… until Sir Nibbles.

Sir Nibbles became the pet of my God-daughter and since I was excited about her having her first pet I certainly could not admit that the little furry things frighten me.

However, Sir Nibbles started growing on me as I got updates about his progress. I was thrilled when Sir Nibbs visited a farm with the family and found 3 other boy bunnies to hop around and play with. Sir Nibbles had made friends.

A few days ago, now about a month since the farm visit, I got some startling news. Apparently, the boy who worked at the pet store did not know his bunnies, for though he claimed that Sir Nibbles was a male and had been neutered, we found out that Sir Nibbles was not a Sir after all, but a Madame. Madame Nibbles, proven by the baby bunny she had delivered.

I gained a new level of respect for Madame Nibbles as the birthing of her bunny brought out characteristics, that though she had them all along, were manifested only through her challenge. Madame Nibbles started behaving like a mother, a protector, a provider! She shredded the newspaper that was in the bottom of her cage and tore out her own fur to prepare a nest for her baby. She then covered it to conceal its location and aggressively protected her young.

WoW! Great spiritual lessons for me from a bunny.

#1. Be trained into “becoming” by your challenges! If the creator could equip a bunny with the stuff that the different stages of its life will demand how much more has God equipped us.

#2. Love is active AND sacrificial. God has promised to take care of His children. He provides, covers, protects. Jesus sacrificed His life to reconcile humanity with His Father and beckons us, in the midst of every challenge, to run to Him and find rest.

Is God really a brother, or is he Hispanic?

“No, that one’s not sweet, neither is that one, or…” I was in BJs sniffing pineapples. I firmly believe that if certain fruits are sweet you should be able to smell the sugar…

“You so Goorgous!” I turned around and started chuckling softly as I stared into a mouth of gold teeth. “Well, thank you!” I responded, “How are YOU doing today?”

“Give me yo number so I can spou you!”

As I wondered what made this brother think that an offer to spoil me would be a good line, I smiled and said, “no, thank you, but have a good day, ok.”

I laughingly thought, you have to admire a man with confidence and at least he used his words. Some black men have a way of  just staring at you and grunting. I HATE that! Steve Harvey use to do that to Regina on the “Steve Harvey Show,” remember? I loved that show.

When I moved to the U.S. I started realizing that our diverse cultures have flavored us differently and that our black men offer up a variety of flavors. I love their individual differences. However, brothers, work on those lines! Remember your sisters are diverse and do not all respond favorable to the same things.

Speaking of cultures, let’s hop over to Piggly Wiggly, my neighborhood grocery store. As I head to the fruit and veggie section I spot one of the workers, he’s Hispanic and has been there for years. He always compliments me and he is always respectful.

“You vacation?” is normally the first question he asks after he responds to my greeting, “Como Esta?”

“No, I’ve been here.”

“I look, look, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, no see!” Then he pauses, looks me up and down–not like he wants to eat me–but as though he is really sees me, then kisses his fingers with an exclamation of “Beautiful!” He then sweeps his hand in a gesture from my head to my toes and declares, “You! Ebbrything Good! Ebbrything Good! You change your hair? I like! I like! Ebbrything good!”

Now, who wouldn’t love a compliment like that. There is something almost biblical about it that has me wondering, is God really a brother or is he Hispanic?

Later that evening I sat down with a book “Our Blended Family, God Revealed Lessons for Marital Success” written by my close friend Carletta Henderson-Youngs. I had intended to just scan it, after all it did not really apply to me, but as I started reading I was hooked as she talked about the failure of her first marriage and the commitment that both she and her husband had made to ensure that divorce was not an option in their second marriage. I realized I have a unique opportunity to learn as an outsider, (a single woman) listening to the wisdom of a married woman.

Often in marriages, the promises to spoil each other, to cherish and see each as “good” get lost somewhere along the way. The book is excellently written, but the lessons are practical and on point.

I wonder how our homes and communities would change if couples learned the art of unselfishly building up each other with their words and committing themselves to the good of the other. I wonder how future marriages would change if singles learned as outsiders looking in and developed  those relational skills now.

Pour some honey on me… winning with our words

May our words be always as sweet as honey, healing to the bones...

Win with your words

Dear Lord! I can’t believe I had gotten so angry. I had thrown out the “I” word combined with an “F” word and I knew from my response we weren’t heading for a win-win solution.

About 5 minutes prior, I had pushed my chair from my desk and as I headed for the door I heard myself in a deceptively quiet tone announce to the person on the other end of the line, “I’m getting very angry.”

“Are you saying that you sent me a bill, it came back to you saying the address was incorrect so you sent it to collections? I asked in disbelief. My heart was pounding loud now, my tone not so quiet, I was angry. This was the office of the specialist who had been treating my shoulder. “Did it occur to you to call me to verify my address?” I asked, “and what address did you send it to?”

After several seconds of the sound of papers been shuffled she replied, “I can’t tell you that, all I know is that it came back so we sent it to collections.”

“This is why I do not do business with Ignorant Folk! I responded angrily…

One of my disciplines — When caught in a disagreement, focus on solutions and never resort to personal attacks and name calling. So what had gone wrong, what had fueled my angry?

1. …you send ME to collections? – P R I DE
2. …you choose actions that could mess up my credit? – F E A R

These 2 emotions, pride and fear, have been the cause of many hurtful words and have destroyed many relationships. Sticks and stones can cause broken bones but hurtful words have wounded and broken many a spirit.

The next day I had stopped in at the specialist’s office and apologized for my harmful words. They had apologized for the error on their end, saying they had dropped the ball and on checking their files they had not sent me to collections.

How easily we can misrepresent our Lord and dishonor His creation when we are not wise stewards of our words. I’m reminded of the wise man, King Solomon who said, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Come, let me pour some honey on you…

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