I Am Done!

God has a plan for me.

Dear 2022,

You tried your VERY hardest to break me. You tried to belittle me, tear me down, get in my head and cause sheer chaos. You took away some people and things I had to grieve. You had me rethinking a lot of different situations over my life. You made me want to throw in the towel several times. You even tried to isolate me from others thinking it would be detrimental to my progress. What you don’t know was God Allowed those things so that he could prune me and I’d become the woman of God that would make hell tremble. What you don’t know is that the word “holy” means to be separate or apart, so you pushed me into the arms of the ONLY one who could keep in my the valley experience. Baby, I planted flowers in my valley and watered them with blood, sweat, and tears. No matter how hard you tried, I am still here. You tried it…BUT GOD.

Sincerely, A Stronger Monica

Beauty for ashes.

Bye Atlanta!

Hello New Beginnings

Okay, so I’m sure some of you know this, but I’m leaving Atlanta. My departure from this awful place is long overdue! Atlanta was an experience I will never forget, but God knows I’ll try. Lol. I know y’all have a lot of questions, so I’ll try to answer what I think you’re thinking on this blog. I’ll keep it short and to the point. I’m going back to Collierville for a “stint” and then I’m off to my next adventure. Let me break it down for you so you’ll understand.

1. I NEVER EVER EVER WANTED TO LEAVE LOS ANGELES!!! I had to due to circumstances that I could not help. I moved to Atlanta as a fast backup plan. I loved that city and would go back under the RIGHT circumstances.

2. Atlanta does not sit well with my spirit. I’m a spiritual being and I try my best to allow GOD to lead me. Nothing has been good about living here, except getting a better paying job after months of being broker than I’ve ever been in life. I’m tired of being in fight or flight mode.

3. I’ve had some ups and downs here, but mostly bad experiences. I have never been as depressed as I was in 2021 & 2022. I had to get therapy for myself just to endure this hell hole.

4. I realize that God must have been pruning me during this season of being alone. I was so lonely that I could hardly bare it. God had to deal with me alone so I’d realize I need to depend on Him.

5. Yessss, I’m moving back to Collierville so I can save money and then go off to my next adventure in life. I’m no longer afraid to explore new opportunities! I won’t be there long…it will be a time of “stack then pack.” Collierville is not for me, nor is Memphis. I will be at my parents house, so get up with me while I’m there and then I’m outty.

6. I appreciate all of the people in Atlanta who were kind to me while I was here. Top shout out go to my cousin Dayle on my moms side. Secondly, shout out to my cousins Jeffrey & Kristen on my dad’s side. They have been a blessing to me more than they realize. Not to mention some other friends I knew for years and enjoyed their company. But especially the loved ones who visited me while I was here and prayed for my journey. Sorry if we didn’t get to hang out, but charge it to my head and not my heart. Also shout out to the ones who said they were in town and I never saw you…that helped as well and I’m not being really petty, just real.

7. I don’t know where I’ll go next. I’d go to Timbuktu if the Lord allowed. There are lots of options…New York, out of the country, back to Los Angeles. The options are endless and I need to do what’s best for Monica.

8. I’m thankful for a church that preaches the truth. I haven’t found a church home here after 2 years, but I’m thankful for virtual church. The message that recently helped me was when Pastor Linda said we may write the vision and make it plain, but write in pencil. God will alter your plans to accommodate His purpose. His will, not mine.

9. While I’m at home, I want to enjoy life because frankly, I haven’t been doing so here in Atlanta. To be even more honest, I’ve been broker than a joker. I have explored the city and met different people, but it was still not a happy experience. I need a good vacation!

10. I’ll be at Julia & Ricky’s house, but I still need my space to sort things out. Living alone allows for those quiet moments after a stressful day at work. Please don’t be mad if I’m not as social as I was before. We all need our time to regroup or get a second wind. I will come around soon enough after being a loner and doing pretty much EVERYTHING by myself for about three years.

Okay wonderful people, I hope that answers most of your questions. Living away from home for the last three years has been an experience to say the least. I’ve learned to lean on GOD, be more responsible, to communicate better, to strive for better, and to understand there is a huge world outside of my comfort zone. I only pray that my life is an example to others of how to let God lead your life. Continue to pray for me as I live a life that’s pleasing to God. Be sweet.

Getting ready for a NEW thing

Is She Faking It?

I know all of your minds went straight to the gutter. Now, get out of that nasty thinking and rejoin me for this blog. Lol, silly goose! This blog is for all of the people who have been putting on a facade the past few months. For the ones who want people to think they’re okay, but deep down they are not. For the ones who don’t want anyone to worry about them, but should definitely be leaning on their support systems. And last but not least, the ones who help everyone else out but really need that help to keep them going. For the sake of your sanity, just be honest with yourselves and follow along with my blog.

I went to my counseling session and did an exercise of who I am versus who I pretend to be. You can imagine the first was loaded with cute little answers, such as “I am a child of God” and “I am a kind hearted person.” Then when it got to who I pretend to be, it got really honest and rough. The biggest one was, “I get tired of pretending to be happy when I’m not.” To be frank, I’m not as happy as I act like I am. Somewhere along the line, I lost motivation to do things that make me happy. Even more so, I lost me. Now the task is to find out how to get back to the real me.

Fake it ‘til you make it is cool. But FAITH it ‘til you make it is better. My counselor stated that you have to realize that you have mountains and valleys of motivation. I quickly admitted I was in a very deep valley, hoping to get out soon. I’m not depressed or anything of that nature, but lacking what it takes to pull myself off of a funk to get back to my normal self. For the first time in my life, I’ve been adulting on my own. I’ve been living in a bit of isolation and trying to see what my true purpose is on this Earth. Hoping that isolation brings transformation. Trying to live in purpose and not confusion.

I am blessed to have a good church ministry through New Life of Memphis. I replay the message that “I will not let the pace make me doubt the promise.” But it’s hard when you have been in a valley for a long period of time. It makes you tired from trying to climb upwards, but I never stop trying. I’m constantly mindful of my motivation levels, which makes me a fighter. I hope this message encourages the next person who is in a slump to get out. I don’t belong in a valley! Neither do you, but it’s up to us to fight our way back to the top with the help of God. Will you let Him guide your footsteps to the top? I hope my openness gives you the fresh wind to push through because you deserve it. Be sweet.

You Have To Hear In The Spirit

I wasn’t going to write this blog, but the Holy Spirit convicted me to do what thus said the Lord. The sermon this morning was very specific to what I prayed about a rhema WORD from God. My gift is encouraging others and I figure that writing this blog will allow someone to see that hearing in the spirit is a necessary thing. You see, we often forget as Christians that we need to hear from the Lord in a way that only opening our spiritual eyes and ears can bring about. That’s what my impromptu trip to Los Cabos gave me.

There were lessons from this trip that opened my spiritual eyes. I wasn’t even going to go on this trip, because I thought my job wasn’t going to allow the time off. Then I remembered the words of my Grandmother saying closed mouths don’t get fed. It was the equivalent of the Bible verse of “you have not because you ask not.” I wrote it off as a no when I never even asked my supervisor if I could. Then I got brave enough to see about switching my schedule to go on a much needed break. My supervisor was on board from the get go and I was able to go on an adventure I needed for a break from reality.

The day of my vacation, I had a very difficult time. My GPS took me to the wrong airport location, I had to drive to the other side of the Atlanta airport, and the line was extra long. It got to the point where I was almost in tears thinking I would miss my flight. The woman in front of me was so discouraged that she gave up and tearfully booked the next flight. I kept praying and for the first time since my first time flying, I barely made it and they were already boarding. I lost my earrings, just had a few minutes to eat, but eventually got on the flight to my destination because I was determined and never gave up on pressing forward.

When I finally made it to my destination, my family was waiting for me and we were ready for our adventure. I pressed on because I knew that giving up wasn’t apart of who I was. Determination is what I’m made of. We had a great time and we did things we had never done before like riding horses on a beach or taking boat pictures on a glass boat. Giving up would have never afforded such fun. That’s why I enjoyed the excitement of new adventures and exploring a new culture. It was a refreshing experience and I needed it after such a coarse year.

When it was time to leave, I was very happy that I got to have such favor in a joyful and relaxing way. I spent time with family and loved the time away from day to day stressors. I went to the airport with my family, but came to the realization that in the end I had to take my own journey back home. I enjoyed their company, but I had my own path. This is what life is about, having your own path in life and remembering it’s you and God in the end. I had to see things in the spirit. Opening my spiritual eyes and ears is a choice, but I’m glad I decided to do it. It allows me to see God and let Him guide my footsteps to greater. Will you let Him do that for you?

Job Description: Making People Happy

It’s my turn!

I have a nine year old nephew who asked my sister what I did for work. Even though he’s a very smart kid, she gave him a pretty simple description that he’d totally understand. She told him that my job is to make people happy. In case most of you don’t know, I’m a mental health counselor and have been so for over 8 years. I wouldn’t necessarily say I make people happy, but I’d definitely say I give people the tools to ensure they realize being happy is an inside job.

Lately, I haven’t been myself. I can honestly say that I haven’t been as happy as I usually would be, even though I’m not miserable either. I feel like I’ve been waiting for something magical to happen or an act from the high heavens to sweep me off my feet and just immediately become happy. I coach people daily on coping skills, hobbies, utilizing support systems, and self care, yet I don’t seem to take my own advice. It’s shameful! I did, however, finally get a therapist to help me with gathering some personal thoughts. Her having me write out some prompted thoughts made me realize I’m not happy and it’s up to me to change it.

I’m still trying to figure out who I am (in the Lord) and what my next steps should be. I’m all about being in the will of God and living out my purpose. I’m so OBSESSED with it that it’s driving me up a wall. I mean, I don’t think I’m too far out of the realm of living my purposed life, but I’m just wanting it all to come full circle…like today. I know myself well enough to know that I’m not a patient person at all. Self awareness is a must, and I know my weaknesses. But it still doesn’t negate the fact that I want the fulfilling career, godly husband, and beautiful children now. I need to work on that patience and being in the now. God is not in MY hurry.

Even though I’m not all the way sure Atlanta is for me, I still need to live in the now for the next 6 months at least. (That’s when my lease is up.) At the rate I’m going, I’ll end up on the moon next. I need to “bloom where I’m planted” as my good friend advised. I need to find my “people” as the guy at the bar suggested. I need to give myself permission to live and grace to know that eventually life will work itself out if I keep pressing towards the mark. I need to calm down and take all of the wonderful advice I give to clients all of the time. It’s time to make Monica Richeryl Bentley happy!

Happiness is an inside job!

I Have An Announcement To Make

Celebrate You!

We live in a society that loves to celebrate. This can range from graduations to new babies on the way to marriages. We love getting together with people we love to celebrate a milestone and a new journey in life. It’s only right to show others that we absolutely care about them and hope their next steps in life are fulfilling. It gives us a reason to break out the bubbly, throw a party, or grab a bite to eat. Celebrating others is a happy part of life that I’m glad I get to be a part of. Makes my heart smile to see my loved ones happy.

We congratulate so many big things, but what about the ones who are just living a stable life? It’s common to congratulate a woman having their first child, but we don’t do that for someone who is waiting to be stable to have a child. We are overjoyed by a person who has a new job, but not the one who has held down a job for years and doing well in their career. Same for a person who is getting married, but not the single one who is enjoying life until the meet the love of their life. Why is that? What keeps us from celebrating normal every day living?

This blog is for those who are enjoying their lives. It’s for the woman who doesn’t have a significant other, but travels and explores the world. It’s for the man who doesn’t have a child, but enjoys taking his dog to the park and getting in some exercise. It’s for the single one, the childless one, the one who gets up every morning and just does the best they can. It’s for the ones who don’t compare themselves to others. It’s for the ones who don’t have any big announcements, except that they lived through another day and they’ll do it again tomorrow. I celebrate you and wish you well! Be sweet.

Cheers to you!

The Blood

The blood still works

The blood of Jesus lubricates my life for success

As long as I’m covered in it I find sweet rest

To plead it over my friends and loved ones is the key

It surely opens my eyes and allows me to see

That my Father above always has my back

His kindness and love towards me is a blessing in fact

So I never take for granted the power of the blood

It washes me white as snow when I was dirty in sin as mud

Today I will walk in favor knowing I’m covered from day to day

Knowing it will be my protection each day I pray

#36

As I sit here having a personal praise and worship moment in my apartment, I decided to write a blog about turning 36 this month. It will be short and to the point. If you’ve been keeping up, you know 35 was a struggle. But I am so glad that I have been reading the Bible for myself since I was a child. I knew that most times struggle was when I would get a better relationship with the Lord. When you need a breakthrough, you have to truly seek God with your whole being. That’s what age 35 was all about.

Now that I’m 36, I will take what I have learned in my hardships and allow it to shape me going forward. I will never doubt the power of God. I will continue reading my Bible daily, praying for wisdom, and operating out of love. I thank God for the infamous grace and mercy twins. I will cherish life and continue to not survive, but live in every moment as if it’s my last. Continue to pray for me and you know I got you. Be sweet!

ATL

I said it before and I will say it again, testimonies are meant to be told. I can post all the scriptures in the world, a million cute memes, and sing a hundred gospel songs, but nothing compares to a testimony to help someone else along the way. People are truly encouraged when you tell them how you made it through a difficult time because they get a feeling that they can get through too. A lot of times we try to be so secretive that we forget that our main goal on Earth is to help someone else along the way. We aren’t living for ourselves if we’re Christians, we’re supposed to be disciples who lead others to Christ.

After a year in Atlanta, I surely have some testimonies of how God brought me from a mighty long way. Around this time last year, I was preparing myself for another big move to a city I’ve never lived in before. I wasn’t scared at all, but just praying that I would be in a better place financially than I was in Los Angeles. Oh how I loved (and still love) L.A., but I had to make a tough decision to get out before I started to drown. It was a true grown up decision and moving to a city I never thought I’d live in was another big girl decision. I wanted out of survival mode!

As most of you know, moving to Atlanta was nothing short of a miracle. I had so much support and blessings just fell in my lap. I was very excited to already have a job lined up and also get an apartment on my third day in Atlanta. Never once did I know that this transition would be one to make a fighter out of me. After 3 months, I was already over Atlanta. Things started to go wrong left and right. I was in shock and I did what I knew to do, I called on the Lord for help. Let me say from roughly May to November, I went through hell. But trust me when I say, the devil now knows I can take a punch and throw one too!

I won’t dwell on the bad times because I knew without a doubt that God was on my side and working on my case. I know my family and friends were completely worried about my well-being, but I refused to give up. Sometimes your faith has to be stronger than even your loved one’s doubts. That’s not to say anything bad about anyone, but sometimes it has to be between you and God. Now I wasn’t out here completely destitute, but I surely wasn’t living my best life. My goal is to always live and not just survive. And suddenly God turned it around for my good after a lot of pruning and preparing. It wasn’t easy, but was surely necessary.

One thing I can say is that my church really gives me nuggets of wisdom to help me along the way. Bishop Willis recently said something that was powerful as I was working on this blog. He said, sometimes you have to rest in God’s presence before you get to deliverance. That’s some mature Christian thinking because everyone wants the blessing without a test. I have come to realize it’s not about me, but about the mission God has for me. With that, I also need a better attitude about Atlanta. Life is all about what you make it. It’s not about location a lot of times, but where you are mentally. For 2022, I want to have real peace in knowing my work is not in vain. Pray my strength in the Lord.

Dear 2021

At. All.

I feel like 2021 was a horrible ex-boyfriend who tried to do me dirty but ended up making me stronger. This year started off with me coming to the conclusion that my dream of living in Los Angeles wasn’t going the way I’d planned and I needed to make a huge decision. When you dream of something for so long and you finally get it, you are overjoyed. But when it’s not all glitz and glam, you come to a shocking reality. But one thing is for sure, ever since I made that 27 hour trek across country from my comfort zone, I have felt like I can do ANYTHING. I’m proud of myself for not giving up, but instead leveling up.

Atlanta was a struggle for me. I’m sure most of you know that by now. I didn’t want to move from Los Angeles to common Atlanta. But when you’re mature, you have to have an understanding that sacrifice is a must. I had to give up my dream and face reality or I was going to lose my mind. Moving here was a very smooth transition to be honest. It’s just that the enemy (devil) knew that I’d have a breakthrough and wanted to test me. That test wasn’t easy by any means and many times I wanted to throw in the towel. But defeat wasn’t in my plans and I kept on by the grace of God. It was only Him that kept me up those first six months and continues to keep me now.

I had to come to the realization that after my test, God gave me what I asked. I wanted my own place, a better paying job that I actually enjoyed, and a city where I could socialize and explore. I didn’t see it at first, but my prayers were definitely answered. Atlanta was the place where I would truly see what I was made of. It’s one thing to talk about faith, but to exercise it is another. That’s exactly what I had to do. And I’m thankful to this very day that 2021 didn’t break me. Oh I was bent out of shape, but breaking wasn’t part of the plan. Now I must continue to walk by faith and see what 2022 has in store. I’m prayerful that it’s going to be amazing! Get on board and have high hopes with me. Be sweet.

Survivor.