Ray Rice: Consequences That We Must Face

If you’ve ever known a friend, sister, mother or even yourself to be hit by a man I can’t imagine how you could make light of the actions that Ray Rice took against his then fiancé, Janay Palmer. Even if you don't know anyone in that situation, I still cannot fathom excusing this horrible mistake. There is nothing that an unarmed woman can do to provoke the type of behavior that Rice displayed in that elevator. Not only did he knock this woman (whom he so called loves) out cold, but he dragged her revealing her undergarments, and then  nudged her with his foot to move her out of the way.

Some argue that this is simply a man caught in a dark moment who should not be punished so severely that his job be terminated. While I believe that we as people have no room to judge him because we are not God, I do believe that the Baltimore Ravens made the right decision. If Rice went unpunished by an employer of the status of the NFL, it makes his actions appear acceptable. If there were a tape of me punching a four-year-old child unconscious there would be an uproar of how much of a disgraceful, despicable woman I am. Why, because I am stronger than a four-year-old and the child would have no defense against me. People would say that I should be locked up under the jail. How is this any different from an NFL player, a grown man who clocks a defenseless woman? I don’t care how big and bad women may think they are, unless they spend countless hours in the gym pumping iron and throwing back protein drinks with a side of steroids, they are not beating a grown man in a fist fight; especially not a grown man that drags 300lb linemen by his calves on a regular basis.

Another argument that I hear is that we still support Chris Brown and others who were in the same predicament as Rice. I, personally was just as disgusted with Brown in his antics. I love his talent and there’s nothing I can do to stop that but I don’t support what he did. And much like what Rice is facing now, Brown’s career was drastically affected by his actions. All of his endorsements were pulled, he was banned from awards shows and other public appearances, and he will always have to deal with the questions that come with what happened the weekend of the 2009 Grammy’s. He had to face punishment for his actions, just like we do in our lives, in order to learn that his behavior was wrong (now whether he’s learned his lesson is up for question).

Much like many of us have with Chris Brown, I am not saying that we cannot move on from Rice’s bad decision. I am not saying that we can never support him again and wish for his future success. But he had to endure punishment. With celebrity comes responsibility and you can choose to agree with that or not but it’s the truth. When you sign up to be a public figure, you sign up to be an automatic role model. I don’t want our sons, brothers, cousins, etc. following the lead of Ray Rice. This may be one dark moment that surfaced but most men that hit women don’t just do it once. 

As far as Janay Rice, her decision to stay with him is her own. We don’t know what she’s going through mentally, physically, emotionally but to even discuss her in this is unnecessary. All we can do is pray for her protection and a healthy relationship between she and her husband. That’s not getting in their business, our prayers have power and we should always pray for others’ well being, not just those that we know personally.

My only hope is for us to be able to support and pray for others in their weakest moments while not trying to excuse them of God’s punishment for their wrongdoing. We all have to face consequences when we make terrible mistakes. This may be God’s wake up call to Rice. He may need to be hit in the area where he has the most confidence in order to become a better man. He may be able to use this to build a platform for all men that suffer the illness of domestic abuse. He may change lives.

-Renée Nicole
IG: ms_disclosednative           

The Path Back to Righteousness

When you get to a breaking point in your life, God will use the situation you are facing to reveal major things. This revelation may require a complete stripping of all things that you rely on and cherish. But it’s ok. The removal of toxic influences in your life is for your own good. The purpose is for you to have room to evolve and grow. We often put too much thought into planning our own stories. But God has already developed a plan before our conception that will lead to our ultimate success. We have to release the reins and give Him full control so that He can lead us to a land flowing with milk and honey.

Despite what you may think, God wants all things to go well in your life. He is not some big and obnoxious God testing you all day and punishing you for your sin. He will, however intervene when you are heading down the wrong path for too long. When you get to a point where you have no conscience regarding your mistakes, He will step in and show you what time it is. He is the ruler and you must fall in line.

He may allow some bad circumstances to occur in your life. He may take away people you love. He may throw you into a difficult situation all so that you will yield to Him. Wait on His instruction rather than try to make it happen on your own. If you act without seeking His approval first, you will fail miserably. Why? Because our human nature acts in selfishness rather than selflessness. We want to be happy over caring about what we have to do to obtain that happiness.

You have to make a decision that pleasing God is more important to you than satisfying your flesh. Your own desires will tell you that it is okay to continue hanging with crowds that encourage you to participate in negative behavior; that everybody lives in sin so it's not a big deal, but you know better. And when you start to see things repetitively go wrong in your life, you will realize that you are reaping the harvest of your bad decisions. At some point you will get tired of putting yourself through unnecessary suffering and choose to do what is right.

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

When you choose to live soley for God, He is waiting with open arms. All He requires is for you to repent and commit to living for Him. He will take care of the rest. Are you willing to let go of your vices and surrender all to Him today? The rewards on earth are immeasurable but the treasure in Heaven is everlasting. And beyond all of those things, He is worthy of all that you have. It belongs to Him in the first place.

-Renée Nicole
IG: ms_disclosednative

Mid-Week Inspiration: Self Discovery

It's such a great feeling learning what you've been called to do. There is honestly nothing like it. When God provides confirmation that you are walking in your calling or that what you've been thinking is right, you can leap for joy knowing that you are in His will and therefore all you do will be blessed.

However, there are distractions that will try to block us from our destiny. We prolong the process when we give into these speed bumps. One of the major weaknesses of people is people. We have a burning desire to please others. Acceptance is such a deep flaw of our society that damages many individuals. We have teenagers getting involved in negative activity because of their want to fit in. We, women will participate in office gossip just to be in the “in” crowd. Men will gamble their bill money in order to show their boys that they are “ballin.” In the meantime we are sacrificing all that God has in store for us by putting people and things before our calling.

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. I Corinthians 10:12

This is a major issue that I have had to work on even up to now. I really dislike for people to be upset so I will often soothe them in order to make them feel better. I have even caught myself nonchalantly agreeing with others just to avoid conflict. In my mind it was easier to go with the flow and shrug off a blown out argument than to defend a case that they will be determined to disagree with anyway. Nope I’d rather save my breath and let them have that because stirring up a heated debate would do nothing but leave me worn out and accomplishing nothing. Sometimes it is a better idea to avoid all of the commotion and choose to be quiet. But there are times when your voice needs to be heard. We can't just hush up our valid input to keep others pleased. In the end we are shorting ourselves, and who is going to keep us happy but us?

There are also certain pleasures, vices that we run to that can pull us away from where God is calling us. Back to the issue of people. In addition to our need to please them, we also want them in our lives. Sometimes by any means necessary. We will put up with attributes in a person that totally rub us the wrong way just to have them in our presence. Ladies, you know we are known for this. We will deal with men lying, lacking in attention and care, and even cheating or mistreating us all to say that we "have someone." All the while this distraction of a "significant other" is dragging us away from our destiny. God wants us to be completely in line with our purpose before He starts to unveil great and marvelous things to us. 

It is up to us to pay attention to God. We see the signs but we choose to ignore them. We try to find the good in our bad behavior and pretend that it is of God. We seek people and things for revelation rather than the greatest and only source of our help, the Lord. However, the longer we choose to put our hope in other "gods" the longer it will be before we enter the place God wants to take us. We are preventing our true peace and happiness by trying to create our own. 

Let's make a decision to listen. It may require leaving some people behind, but that's okay. There are plenty of people in the world so you are not missing anything in one. It may require stepping out of your comfort zone; approaching people you never would, leaving a dead-end job, moving to a place where you can be used to your full capacity, or even downsizing and giving up your most prized possessions. Whatever God says do, do! You will know when it is from Him because it will just feel right with no hesitation; and everything in your life will line up and be the way that it is supposed to be.

-Renée Nicole
IG: ms_disclosednative

Passion For Fashion: Fall Into All Black Everything

As we begin to bid farewell to Summer and open heartedly welcome Fall, we brace ourselves for the unpredictable weather which means a change of wardrobe. We toss aside our whites and pastels (although I am not one for rules such as no white after Labor Day) in exchange for an autumn-appropriate color palette. Some may argue that black on black is boring or depressing. However, women are typically most comfortable in an all black ensemble. It hides our problem areas while adding sophistication and class to our look.

Black is a color that can be very versatile by incorporating and highlighting the basics: a sweatshirt, V neck tee, or a blazer. In seconds an accent piece awards you the opportunity to be preppy, pretty, and party ready. I love all black everything; it symbolizes strength and romanticism. 

Take a look at a few of our favorites and let us know what your color will be this Fall! 

-Madelyn Monroe

Ending Hatred, Taking Back Our Black Men

I'm fed up; boiling with frustration; sick to my stomach; tired of the black boys and men that I love and cherish being treated like mere animals. Their lives in this country are considered meaningless yet if it weren't for their strength and hard work America would not exist. As a black woman I have experienced a few instances of racism. But as a black man, one is constantly faced with the struggle of being watched, followed, and disrespected whenever they enter a building.

I'm tired because my 17-year-old brother is my world and nothing means more to me than his success. But already I see how intimidated white men are at his 6'2'' stature and his lack of concern for their presence. I am tired because I have watched as old white women tense up as my father enters a store when they are the last person on his mind. 

What the white man lacks in physical ability against a black man, he has put into a gun. Using this dangerous weapon to obliterate the black males we love from this earth. They use physical force to make our men helpless in a fight for their lives.

I've watched my friend's mother bury her son because of the white man's hatred towards the black man. Senseless cases like Trayvon Martin and now Mike Brown of St. Louis, and countless others make my soul cringe. If you hate the black man so much than you clearly hate the black woman too. You've taken our sons, brothers, husbands, fathers, uncles with no remorse. I don't take that lightly. And we won't take it anymore.

You wonder why we respond in riots and violence? Because it hurts like hell to the point of infuriation. We are tired of talking because you are not listening. Now we take action. 

Today we take a stand against your demonic, gruesome ways. Today we take back our families. We claim our dignity, freedom, and rights in this so called great country--land of the free, home of the brave. If you kill our own, we are knocking down your door until your feel our pain. We are rallying through YOUR neighborhoods. Disturbing YOUR peace until you leave our's alone. We are NOT going to let you keep getting away with this. Justice for justice! This is war.

-Renée Nicole
IG: ms_disclosednative

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