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Preserved by Purpose: Tales from the Pole

“It’s what you used to slide down!” blurted out the 25-year-old brother to his 5 months pregnant 23-year-old sister.   For a few seconds, everyone at the table was too shocked to do anything but look down at the Taboo game pieces.   The awkward silence that followed was broken when the young lady quickly grabbed her purse and car keys and rushed from the house in tears.   Her brother, now sure that the time he’d spent over the Christmas vacation rebuilding his relationship with his estranged mother and sister was now irrevocably shattered, followed her in hot pursuit all the while pleading with her to forgive him for his ill-spoken words.   He didn’t do it out of anger but sincerely was trying to help her with the word clue.

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Shewanda Riley

Within minutes the mother of both joined them outside as the brother blocked his sister’s attempts to get inside her car.   As the mother yelled insults at the brother, the other family members did their best to calm the situation.    It took a few minutes but finally everyone came back inside and started watching TV.   

I couldn’t believe it when my sister recounted this drama that happened at her in laws on Christmas day several years ago.    What started as a friendly game of Taboo ended up ruining her in laws Christmas celebration.    My sister said that it wasn’t a big secret that the young lady had been a stripper when she was younger.   However, the young lady had turned her life around and was trying to put that part of her past behind her.   She was frustrated because it seemed like every step, she made towards a positive future was ruined by others reminding her of where she’d been, as if she needed the help.

Many of us may not have slid down a stripper’s pole in our past, but we all have things from 2018 that we are trying to move past in 2019 even though the year is just a few weeks old.      You may want to lose weight but get discouraged when you see how you look in the mirror.  Or, you may boldly claim that you will have peace of mind in 2019 concerning your finances but worry as you shoulder the burden of more debt.  

As much as we try to change, we are constantly reminded in the present of how we failed in the past.      However, Isaiah 43:18 says “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history.  Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.”    It’s not the change itself that makes the biggest difference in our lives…it’s developing the discipline and wisdom to recognize that it’s God who keeps us as God completes the process of change.

Shewanda Riley is the author of the Essence best-seller “Love Hangover: Moving From Pain to Purpose after a Relationship ends.” She can be reached at preservedbypurpose@gmail.com, or on twitter @shewanda.

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