I’ve been broke and unable to shop for anything beyond necessities since October 2014, so I didn’t know tax-free weekend existed until I walked next door to Target during a break from my retail job a couple of weeks ago and saw a sign portending service workers’ impending doom on the sliding glass door. Friday, as customers poured into my store while rain pounded the roof hard enough to drown out our Muzak, I learned that people get pretty uppety over a mere 8 percent discount—especially when they neglect to read the rules that exclude most of what they piled in their cart. So imagine my joy when, after two hours of unpleasantness, I retreated to the breakroom, retrieved my phone from my locker, and discovered that fellow blogger Alphonso White nominated me for the Unique Blogger Award. As someone who’s nearly always prided herself on being different, I couldn’t ask for a nicer honor or surprise. And like Alphonso, who appreciates feedback, it was helpful to read, “Reading this blog gave me the extra inspiration that I needed to set a plan [for writing his own memoir] into motion. She has lived an extremely interesting life, never a dull read.”
Alphonso found my blog in February, and I followed him after reading his About Who? post. He’s funny and, like other bloggers I follow, unapologetically genuine.
Unique Blogger Award Rules
According to the rules he shared, Unique Blogger Award nominees are to:
- link to the person who nominated them;
- answer the three questions the blogger who nominated them asked;
- nominate 8-13 other bloggers for the Unique Blogger Award; and
- ask them three questions.
Alphonso’s Three Questions and My Answers
- Out of the blog posts that you have published, which one is your favorite and why?
That’s a difficult question to answer because I’ve put so much of myself into my memoir chapters in an effort to be as candid as possible so people will learn from my (and my parents’) mistakes. Although they say you know you’re over something when you can write about it, a few things still brought tears to my eyes. Ultimately, I have to say Chapter 6: Revelations (How My Parents’ Abusive Marriage Ended) is my favorite because I wasn’t sure how I was going to transition from my battered mom talking to her attorney and the cop back to my conversation with her. Sometimes, you just need to stop thinking so much and let God work it out. (After all, he’s the one who gave you the ability to write.)
- What is a unique fact about yourself that you have not covered in your blog?
I see hearts everywhere I go.
- What advice would you give to a new/future blogger?
Write what happened to you and don’t worry about what people think or say about you. As Pastor Tony Evans said, people don’t hold the master key to your future anyway.
A Brief Darrell Scott Sermon About the Importance of Telling Your Story
Each man divorced [the woman at the well] because women were not allowed to divorce men at that time. As a result, this woman is emotionally scarred, she’s psychologically damaged, and she’s socially ruined. Every man she’s been with has disappointed her to the point that the institution of marriage has become useless to her. She said I’m not getting married again because I’m not going to set myself up to be treated, to be hurt, to be bruised, to be wounded, to be damaged like that again. Her self-respect is totally gone. She doesn’t care what anybody thinks about her anymore.
“They call me a tramp, I don’t care. They talk about the life I’m living, too bad. I’m the sum product of what I’ve been through. And what I’ve been through is because of what I thought about myself.”
She wanders from man to man, from relationship to relationship, allowing her body to be used and discarded while she plays out the string of her existence. She’s a slave to circumstances, in bondage to a past that she didn’t plan. She’s in bondage to a future she doesn’t desire because somewhere along the path of her life, somebody violated the trust that existed between her and them. They took advantage of her, they misused and abused her to the point that she’s spent the majority of her life looking for that perfect man …
The man she’s been waiting for all her life shows up at the well, and this man doesn’t care about her past. He doesn’t mind how many men she’s slept with. He doesn’t care about how many husbands she’s had. He doesn’t mind if she was abused as a child, if she’s a rape victim, or a victim of domestic violence. He didn’t mind what she used to be, nor did he mind what she currently was. He didn’t mind what she used to do, nor did he mind what she currently did. He was only interested in what she would allow God to do with her now. His only desire was for her to forget her past, look past her present, and look to her future.
He said I must go through Samaria to get this one woman because no matter what she did in the past, she’s instrumental to the plan of God, and she’s necessary for the work of God.
Let me tell you something: Don’t let anybody tell you or make you believe that because of your past, God can’t use you. God can erase your past. God can heal your memories. God can soothe your pain and fill every void in your life. That’s why the Bible says if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. All things are passed away, all things [have] become new, and all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself. The Bible says we are more than conquerors through him who loves us. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
This woman forsook her past in order to fulfill her destiny. She didn’t worry about what she used to be. She didn’t dwell on what she used to do. All she knew was that she found God, and she had to tell somebody else about it.
And despite her past, she started a revival.
Despite her past, she became an evangelist.
Despite her past, she became a walking testimony.
Despite her past, she became a witness.
And the people received from her because they knew what she had been, they saw what she had become, and they wanted what she had.
She then leaves her water pots because they symbolized her past. She left everything that reminded her of what she once was, and she became the first preacher to the Gentile nation.
Her preaching was so effective that it birthed a revival.
She rushed into the city and she told the men because she wasn’t on speaking terms with the women, and some of the men she had been involved with were wondering if Jesus really told her everything that she had done.
“I wonder if my name came up when he was talking to her.”
God accomplished a great work through a person with a shady past. He didn’t use the theologians. He didn’t use the well-to-do. He didn’t use the respected people. … When he wanted to reach Samaria, he used the one least likely to be used, and the reason it was so effective was because the people she went to saw a change in her, and they wanted what she had.
I said all that to say this: God has a plan for your life. Don’t let the devil keep you in the past. Don’t let people keep you there either. God desires to use you as a mighty witness. Let go of your past so you can fulfill your future. Let go of your failure, let go of your mistakes, let go of everything that people try to use to keep you back. Let it go and don’t look back. Turn around, get goin’, and don’t go back. Don’t go back into the mess, don’t go back into the junk, don’t go back into the issues, don’t go back into the drama. Let it go. You don’t need to hide it, just let it go. You need to let people know what you were. Let them see what you have become. It will cause them to desire what you have.
My Nominees for the Unique Blogger Award
As an Augusten Burroughs and David Sedaris fan, I appreciate people who share their stories, including their shortcomings. I don’t believe in TMI. Everything is a teachable moment. With that in mind, here are my nominees for the Unique Blogger Award, complete with links to posts that compelled me to follow their blog, recent favorites since writers get better the more they write, or posts that appeared when I needed them or affected me in some way.
- Alphonso White: About Who? and Be a Gentleman
- Pure Glory: Pursue God’s Destiny for You and Let God Deal with Your Heart
- Matthew Winters (the Comeback Pastor): Delayed Disobedience and You’re Blaming Who?
- Peace Hacks (Mark Landry): Why Blaming Everyone Else for Your Crappy Life Is Killing You and Unforgiveness
- Pancho and the Mule: The One Where Seattle Is for Writers and Ryan’s Alaska Commons article A Quick Stroll in a Place Where Stalking Women Is the Norm
- Keith Haney (The Light Breaks Through): Fearfully Made, It Takes Two to Reconcile, and Two Ways to Overcome the Jonah Complex
- Storyshucker: Free Show and Watch for It
- Phoebe (PuppyDoc): Metamorphosis and the rest of her poetry. [Mind you, I don’t like poetry. In fact, poetry was my lowest grade (B-) in college. Phoebe’s is that good.]
Questions for My Nominees
- For those who post regularly: Do you set aside a certain day or time to write? For those who’ve disappeared from WordPress: What happened?
- Many of you have hundreds or even thousands of followers. How did you attract them? (Using social media? Adhering to marketing gurus’ advice re: the best day and time to post? Writing posts in which you invited bloggers to advertise their own blog?)
- It’s already August. What goal would you like to accomplish by the end of the year and what steps have you taken to achieve it?
Thank you for your time, your posts, and your answers, and here’s another big thank you to Alphonso for nominating me.