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Lessons Learned Thus far Beauty for Ashes… An Open Letter to My Sisters

My sisters,

We may not have the same mother or father… our skin tones different shades and hues.  However one thing that we have in common is our gender and its name…WOMAN.

Through it we have a kinship.  We have the ability to share stories of similar hormonal changes, first crushes, first kisses, loves, heart breaks, marriages and for many of us childbirth.

I write this article from my perceptive of being a single woman in her early 30s, no children yet…African American and having had my heart broken and restored.  Raised by older parents, both having since gone to be with the Lord; I write this as a Christian, born again with a heart renewed, who is grateful for everyday for new found grace.

Honestly I felt compelled to write this open letter after receiving too many calls from sister-friends or chance meetings where I have been asked for advice.  These moments have been opportunities for me to take the focus off of self and truly love on my fellow sisters.

I find it an honor to be able to minister and share my testimony with them and to hear theirs.  Encourage them that even after being hurt and having your heart stomped along with your pride and name… They like the phoenix can too rise up again.

See, I was in a relationship that spanned almost ten years off and on with someone that I allowed to mentally abuse me.  He had ties to my soul and privileges that only through the covenant status of marriage he should have received.

The details of my story are not as important as the lessons I am still learning from it.  The first lesson I learned was how to forgive myself for the part I played.  No one can abuse you unless you allow them to.  You are never without the power to at least attempt to fight back.  True love from God, goal is not to tear you down, but instead its goal is to build you up.

Being bitter and angry at someone that probably doesn’t even give you a second thought after the damage they have done is just a time waster.  You can spend years using the excuse of being hurt to block blessings God has in store for you.  New relationships, children, careers/ministries being birthed, can be blocked by you allowing your emotions to control you and keep you at an impasse.  I know this because I did it.

For two years I thought by keeping a wall up around my heart so I could lick my wounds in privacy, I was protecting myself from being hurt.  The sad truth was it hurt me more.  Instead of growing in love, I was growing in offense and the ripples affected every area of my life.

My job became my life.  My home reflected how I was feeling inside, a mess.  I was functioning, yet was empty.  My prayer life was ritual vs. being relational.  During this time God’s voice that used to be so clear for me to hear… was but a whisper…

I was short tempered, and made excuses for my rude behavior.  I tried to control others around me because I had no self control.  My friends, tried to tell me, however their constructive criticism fell on deaf ears.  Jesus though I understood him as my savior, I had not allowed to sit in the driver’s seat of my life. The Holy Spirit’s guidance by my delayed response showed evidence of disobedience.  So when my world the one I had constructed began coming crashing down around me; I was forced to stop.  Take a personal inventory and return the keys and seat to the true owner of my life, God.  To him I repented and asked help.  No man could give me hard truth I needed to change.

The scriptures that can best describe this time is in my life is Proverbs 18:10 – 12 from the Amplified Bible … 10The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the [consistently] righteous man [upright and in right standing with God] runs into it and is safe, high [above evil] and strong.    11The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and as a high protecting wall in his own imagination and conceit.    12Haughtiness comes before disaster, but humility before honor.”

The following series of poems, a few are from my 1st book Poetry of a Black: Girl the Darkness and the Light Volume 1, others are still works in progress… In a way they tell my journey with God as he has been giving me beauty for my ashes Isaiah 61.

Some Diamonds in the Rough Never Go Beyond Infancy

I used to call you a diamond in the rough,

I saw so much potential in you

I held you down when others laughed and scorned,

said I was a fool.

I kept secrets even from my mama.

Let you live in my house rent free.

Let you see and operate in my inner court.

And act like you were the king of my Holy of Holies.

I placed all my trust in you,

only because I used to see so much potential in you.

No mere mortal man could ever appreciate what I did.

What I sacrificed, understand the tears, I shed all unselfishly.

So now I have come to the conclusion.

That some diamonds in the rough

Without the proper pressure,

never go their beyond infancy.

So as I look back at what I saw, what I thought we could be

I know now that because HE was not in between you and me

My dear, you and I were never meant to be

I played no games of the heart

I kept it real from the start

My heart was open and true to you

But I did not want to believe what I knew

A player unless he wants to change,

will always want and play the game

My focus was so much on you

That I did not know that

I had aligned myself to flesh

I needed to align my heart up,

To the most highest God,

For he would never leave me

Nor ever forsake me

He would never be untrue

Never walk out, or use me

No need for apologizes

For he would never wrong me

Abuse my love like you did to me

Though I was hurt

I have learned to forgive

The ties you had to my soul

Have been released

And until you find your own peace

And get in a relationship with HIM

You will remain just a lump of coal

That could’ve been the brightest diamond,

the world has ever seen.


Do You Know Me?

I sit here and I ponder our relationship.
You used to call on me, so we could just talk awhile.
Spend days on an end, just you and me.
I had your back even when others didn’t
I pleaded your case against our father,
when you sinned.
I forgave you when you lied.
I encouraged you when you couldn’t do it on your own.
I protected you when you were weak and clothed you with my love before you even knew my name or could even speak.
I sent provisions, but you didn’t give me thanks.
I was ok with it all, because the promise I made and the sacrifices I gave for you.
I remember times when you were bold enough to talk to others about our relationship.
Now when someone asks about you and me you deny that we are even related.
You have let fear of rejection and thoughts of unworthiness creep into your psyche.
I ask,  do you really know me?
Am I not your friend, your brother… your teacher?
Did I not show you in my words, in my love for you, in my actions that I would never forsake you?
Trust me…. I have your back…even when you don’t think no one else does.
I will never give up on you why? Because this we have, this thing… is real… and I am real.
I am love, I am your Father God, your brother Jesus and your teacher the Holy Spirit and in me, you can trust.
I AM whatever you need me to be…
Trust me, it is not in my DNA to not tell the truth.
I swore to tell you the truth through the shedding of my own blood… not once, but twice.
I am just waiting for you to talk to me again…I have all the time in the world.



The words seem to not be able to escape from my lips…

However, I know they need to be said.

Listen, I have to get this out of my head…

I know I have the power to stop you with my declarations.

I have loved you for so long.

However, I love another more…

Our destinies seem to have different paths that don’t meet in the end.

So as I am sitting here close to being washed away from my own flood of tears.

I know I must be the one to find the courage to walk away.

Shh…Don’t speak…

I really don’t want to hear anything you have to say.

Don’t waste your time.

I’m not listening.

I am not looking back.





I dare to walk alone

Yet you are always present

Your voice is so clear in my ear.

Guiding me down roads without fear


Stones and pebbles lay underfoot.

Blood drawn I fall and scrap a knee

Get up… I hear… Get up…I hear so audibly.

Get UP! For righteousness sake



Dreams deferred

And given back renewed

Cause their source

Had to be known

My feet are healed

My eyes see clear

Barefooted walking on air…

He carries me still…

I read, I believed by faith

I lay still … I wait

Mediate and then… and then… and then…

I hear Barefooted

I’ve got new shoes

For you!

A shield a sword and armor too!

Barefooted I’ve got your shoes!

Barefooted you have been renewed…

You obeyed…

You acted by faith…

You heard my voice and did not hesitate.

Barefooted PREACHED it…

Words He never knew.

Barefooted…PREACHED it…

Words…He never knew…


Preparing for Boaz

This poem is for my sisters
However, I hope I get some nods from the fellas…

So you say you are preparing for your Boaz.

The man, you want to share the rest of your life with
Have him call you his wife, share his name…
Maybe raise a kid or two with,
hoping even through the weight gain and stretch marks
he will love you just the same.

However…Ladies…my sister girl friends…

We think at times that we must flirt and dress
in ways that leave nothing to the imagination

That Boaz will see this and instantly fall to one knee.

Or that the perfection we see
from the corner of our eyes in the dimness of club lights
while we sip on Apple martinis could it be he?

Or when we talk
in ways that would make a sailor blush
and wonder why we are not treated with respect
and as ladies

When we make
excuses for being late unfocused
and for unkempt houses…
Thinking Boaz, your Boaz will accept you for you.

You are worth far more then jewels
though you give yourself up for less
and even sometimes for free

Your reputation should precede you
elevating you to new levels of fame
not give you reason to hold your head down in shame

Daughter of the Most High, God
reclaim your position of grace


Lela Jefferson, © 2007 – 2010 All rights reserved.


© 2010, Lela Jefferson Fagan. All rights reserved.

Lela Fagan (Jefferson) is the author of the book “Poetry of a Black Girl: The Darkness and the Light” and lead blogger at “Memoirs of a Black Girl”. Lela is an avid reader “A Real Bookworm” of all things in print. She finds joy in sharing socially and blogging about topics that matter the most to her. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Lela now lives in Houston, TX with her husband Oji, an educator and Football Coach. @LelaJefferson - See more at: http://www.memoirsofablackgirl.com/

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