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                                                                                Cheryle T. Ricks’ Story



        All of my life I have been searching for my identity. I had no self-esteem and no sense of self-worth. Therefore, I looked for my identity in my relationship with men by using my body to give sexual pleasure. During those years, I never knew that I had any other value but my sexuality. That road led me to having three children before graduating from high school and my fourth child before my 20th birthday. I had my first baby at 14 years old and a set of twins before my 18th birthday. Still not learning who I was, I became pregnant again within six weeks of having my twins. I was so disappointed in myself. However, my OBGYN doctor told me that I could not safely carry that baby because I had such a dangerous delivery with my twins. So, at the age of 17 I had an abortion. Still looking for validation, I married the father of my twins because I was convinced that he was a good father to all of my kids including my first son who was not his biological child and he was the first man that I had ever "loved." My mother knew my potential and begged me not to marry him. However, in my mind, marriage would make me somebody. It didn’t matter that he was already physically and emotionally abusing me. Because I had no sense of value, I never took heed to the wisdom of my mother and older sisters. Therefore, I continued to travel that same dead end road and it lead me to five more years of hell.


        Like so many other abused women who couldn’t see any light of hope, I cried out to God to help me and He did before I killed my husband and myself, as I had dreamt of doing many times before. However, I had to make a hard choice between escaping the abuse and staying with my children. You see; my husband was a good father and provider, but he was a bad husband. Therefore, I left my children with my husband and ran for my life. However the pain of leaving my kids behind soon landed me in a mental institution for depression. I was a mother with no one to mother. It was my mental health episode that united me with my children and softened my husband’s heart. It was then that God took me through the healing process and restored me to the woman He had created me to be.

Even after our divorce, I was able to forgive my husband. We put the past behind us and rebuilt our relationship to co-parent our children. Prior to my husband’s death we were the best of friends. My children are now grown and very self-sufficient. Each of them is a blessing to my life!


        Because of what I have gone through, I now realize my self-worth and how valuable I am. The things that Satan meant to destroy me with were the very things that have made me who I am. Today, I am an ordained evangelist who shares the hope of Jesus with other women who are also victims of abuse or who just don’t know their self-worth. God is allowing me to use this book to help other women realize that with a relationship with God they can transform their lives and become an instrument of hope to others.



                                                                        "Life Is A Bud Waiting To Blossom"


                                      Like a bud on a bare tree waiting anxiously for the awakening of spring.

                                                Counting the time it will be with each day closer to spring.

                                    Anticipating it’s true self and what life will be. Time is here, for it is spring.

                                                It blooms into a flower. Beautiful to See, Beautiful to Be!

                                                                              - Cheryle T. Ricks-


        Have you ever asked yourself, why you don’t get along with other women or why you are always getting hurt and feeling so badly about yourself? Have you ever tried to figure out why being a woman is so hard and it doesn’t matter what you do; you keep coming back to the same place with the same pain? Have you ever wondered why some women seem to have it all together when your life seems to be getting more and more miserable? Well, you are not alone. The book you are holding will answer these questions and a whole lot more. It will help you find yourself

and teach you how to love the you that you find. It will help you process all of those things that brought you so much pain by identifying what the womanhood process is and how to complete it. It will allow you to see that the very thing we need as women is the very thing we avoid, each other.


        The key to our well-being is in the hands of the women in our circle. Over the years, women have distanced themselves from one another and some women now view each other as enemies. However, our strength and wholeness comes from interacting with other women. We have a great deal in common because of the process of womanhood. It is the same for all women. It plays out in different ways, but the pits we all fall into bring the same pain and devaluation to each of us. When women mature enough to recognize that other women are allies and not enemies; we gain the true secret of womanhood, oneness. God created the world, but women nurture it. God has entrusted women with this awesome job because He has connected us to the universe. Women have the ability to identify what is going on and what is needed. Therefore, we have our hand on the pulse of everything. What an honor and privilege to be chosen as the keepers of the world. But this job is too great for any of us to do on our own. We need each other! Together we stand, divided we all fall, along with everyone who is depending on us! You can have a life that you enjoy waking up to even if you are facing a problem or difficult situation by allowing God to love you right where you are, the way you are. Also, by learning that receiving forgiveness and giving forgiveness frees us from the prison that many of us find ourselves in. We must give ourselves permission to be human and imperfect while still having a right relationship with ourselves, which is the key to having a right relationship with others. A sister circle will do just that, because it is a group of women who come together for the purpose of sharing their frustrations, challenges and fears; to gain the knowledge, assistance, help and support that will equip them to become better mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, friends, and wives to their families and community. A sister circle can help women to understand their value, worth and their importance to the betterment of our world.


        After many years ministering and talking to women from different stages of life, I have discovered that many of them are facing some of the same issues that hinder them from enjoying their lives. In this book, I hope to identify some of those issues and provide solutions that will enable each woman to see the realities that are not so evident in their busy lives and allow them to finally process the hurt that many women are currently dealing with. So, come with me on this journey and discover the answer to that question: How can I have the life that I truly desire?


                                                                     PART I:  The Way We Are


                                                                                    Chapter One

                                                      The Heart Of A Woman

                                                      CARES ABOUT EVERYONE


        Women naturally love. We are compassionate towards others and we feel their pain. We sometimes transfer their pain to ourselves. Women feel everything deeply. Because of this, we

try to do everything we can to stop others from hurting. We remember so well how our own pain felt and what we went through that we don’t want anyone else to hurt. We will even hurt ourselves rather than allow someone else to be hurt. We tell ourselves; "I can handle the pain a lot better than the person I care about." For some reason, we believe that others are unable to go through the trials of life that we did. Somehow we feel that others don’t deserve to learn what only life can teach them. We don’t want any of our love ones to suffer in anyway. Therefore, we endure hardships and heartbreaks to try to save them from the very thing they need; the full life experience.

Caring is part of what gives us the feeling of being needed. However, our need to save other people can cause more harm than good. We interfere with their development and we make them too dependent on us. When we die or end the relationship, they are unable to care for themselves because they never had the opportunity. This person becomes unable to make it in the big bad world and they can thank us for that. Let’s face it; you have become who you are by learning from and enduring the trials of life. You made it and you are better able to help others make it too if you let them take their own steps. They will thank you for the journey.


                                                                                    GIVES HER WHOLE SELF


        Women give all or nothing. When we see a need or someone needs help, we do any and everything to meet that need. Because we have the gift of hope, we find a way to get that done. We are the creative source that can make a way when it looks like there is no way, because we are connected to God in a very special way. We can pray and cry out to God for whatever is needed. Women have a special place in the heart of God. However, women can sometimes give their lives by giving up on life all together.


        Women become a part of what we give ourselves to. We have a hard time disconnecting ourselves from what we do and it causes us to forget our value and worth. Sometimes life just doesn’t turn out the way we planned it and many of us are unable to bounce back from situations that have consumed us. We internalize what we go through and we make ourselves out as "the bad girl", blaming ourselves for anything that went wrong or for the way others have mistreated us. Because of this, we start the downward spiral to self-hate. We fail to find anything good in ourselves. We talk negative to and about ourselves because of what has happened to us. Some women spend years making other people’s lives miserable because they no longer want to have a relationship with themselves. We can never hope to have a good relationship with others without first having a good relationship with ourselves. We can only have a right relationship with ourselves by first having a right relationship with God. He created us and only He knows who we truly are. When life becomes too difficult to handle, look to those people in your circle who genuinely love and care about you, the real you, not the person you think you are when you mess-up. They will help you see that you are not the mistakes you make and that you can get pass what you are going through. They will show you how to work through the pain and position yourself for a new beginning.


                                                                                         LONG SUFFERING


        The heart of a woman has the ability to suffer a long time. Women endure pain from our lovers, friends, bosses, and co-workers, but one of the greatest pains a woman can feel comes from her children. We give them the best we have, but it is never enough. Our children are the only people with the power to stab us in our heart and leave us the walking dead. Their words cut deeper than any knife! Their ungratefulness is a punch in the face that makes us feel like a fool. That pain is greatest when we watch our children being disrespected and abused by others. We watch those same children give their abusers forgiveness after forgiveness and chance after chance only to receive more of the same mistreatment. A woman doesn’t stop doing for her children. Even though her children make it perfectly clear that they do not want her in their lives or the lives of their children. We learn to accept our children’s rejection and take the pain to God who heals our heart and gives us a brand new start. We even learn to love other people’s children who wish that they had a mother just like us. I loved my mother, but I never understood why she would love and nurture us and did nothing to obtain her own happiness. In the end, she died an unfulfilled woman. No one is perfect and all of us are doing the best we know to do. Stop punishing yourself for what you didn’t do. We cannot go back in time and change the past. Wherever you are in life, you can only do what you know to do at that time. The best thing we can do is to learn as we go, do what we know and seek knowledge and wisdom from God to help guide us. For everything that did not go the way you wished it had, give it to God and let Him heal it and fill it with His love. Live your life with God as your focus and you will discover a place that brings joy and wholeness.


                                                                                  COMMITS FOR LIFE


        Women have a "never say die attitude." We never give up. When we do, it is because we have given all that we had and it was not enough. We endure one relationship after another because we are committed. We sign up for the long haul. In our mind, every problem has a solution and we know that we can find it. However, the solution we find requires the assistance of others before it can work. In most cases, that other person does not want to do their part. Therefore, we look for other solutions that we feel we can do on our own, only to find that we are the only person who wants to solve the problem. A problem for us is not a problem for the person that we are in relationship with, because they are getting what they want at our expense. Therefore, the other person offers no help. This type of relationship usually involves a giver and a taker; someone giving their whole heart and someone who gives very little, if at all.


        Commitment is necessary for every achievement. However, sometimes the thing that we are committed to is the very thing that is causing the pain and heartache we are feeling. When a relationship ends, it is not always a bad thing. Life is full of seasons and every season has a reason. Trying to make a season when there is no reason is pointless and unproductive. However, because most of us do not take the time to assess the relationships that we are in, we hold onto relationships that no longer give us what we need. Those relationships also stop us from knowing the person we are today. Stop trying to fit the new you into relationships made for the person you used to be. This process is called growing up and evolving. Staying with people you have outgrown will only cause you to regress and will hinder you from becoming the person God has created you to be. Allow God to bring new people in your life who will appreciate you for who you are today and help you to see the growth and wisdom that makes you a person anyone would love to know.


                                                           NURTURES EVERYTHING SHE TOUCHES


        Like her womb; a woman is a gift of life, not just in childbirth, but in everything she touches. In her lies the key that unlocks the potential within others. Women give all that they have to see that potential manifest in others. When people fail to believe in themselves, she will believe for them until they can. When women stop nurturing, it is because our heart is broken and the pain outweighs our hope. Therefore, we have to guard our hearts—guard them, not lock them up. Just as our heart can hurt us, it is also the one thing that makes us unique.

A woman with no heart is not a woman at all; her heart is what makes her a woman. Her heart is what connects her to God, and the only thing that enables her to do all the things that she does. This explains why women die when they stop loving. They disconnect from their source and become unable to do what they were created to do, and the life within them dies.


        Women are energy sources to others, and others are an energy source to them. That’s why women have to remember to stay connected to each other. No woman is an island unto herself. Therefore, we must never retreat to ourselves too long, because we become defeated when we are by ourselves. The devil gets in our heads and fills us with doubt and hopelessness as we look continually at our situation and not to the God of our hope. Isolation is the biggest pit for women because we punish and blame ourselves when we are there. This is because we are absent from the support and encouragement that we need all the time. A woman without support is like a fish out of water. We will not last very long without the presence of others.


        God designed us to be interconnected. We are to work together and help each other recognize our value and worth. Most of us devalue ourselves while valuing everyone else. The problem is that we give so much of ourselves without allowing others to give to us. We sometimes have a false sense of giving. We often reject the blessings that others offer us. When others try to show us appreciation, we say; "That’s alright, I didn’t do it for that." Later, we become resentful that others are getting so much from us and no one is giving anything to us. From there, we go to "it’s all about me," but there is no balance in that.


        When we learn to include ourselves while caring for others, we find the true meaning of caring. However, we cannot expect others to do for us what we won’t do for ourselves. Learn to do things that you enjoy. Take some time on a regular basis to rejuvenate yourself. Surround yourself with people who give and receive. Stop all relationships with takers, and you will enjoy your life in a more fulfilling way.


                                                                                      FAITH TO BELIEVE


        A woman’s faith is what activates her power to love. In her mind, love will make everything better, and it will. Women believe that things can be a lot better than they appear at this moment. She becomes a source of hope for everyone who comes to her for help. God has brought her through so many trials that she can walk with others when they are in their dark places. She understands that morning will come. However, she can spend so much time being all things to all people that she fails to have faith in herself and the plan God has for her life. She encourages others with the word of God, but forgets that those same words apply to her. Therefore, it is important that women make time for God and fellowship with other people who are spiritually stronger than we are. When we allow time for our own spiritual growth, we are able to minister healing to others. We can do this by listening and talking to people who are spiritually grounded. They show us how to live our lives with a lot less fear and uncertainty by helping us realize that everything in the natural started in the spirit. That knowledge keeps us calm when life just doesn’t go the way we want it to. Putting our faith in God allows us to become everything He created us to be and our lives will become purposeful and more meaningful. Faith is the one thing that makes life doable. Therefore, building our faith is one of the best things we can do to bring out the best in our lives. When our faith grows, we will be better able to walk in the faith that God has given to us while helping others walk in theirs.



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