Love your neighbors as you love yourself... How can you if you don't know who you are or where you came from?

I think it's interesting that Black History and Valentine's Day (love) are celebrated in the same month. How many of us know that if we don't embrace our history and accept it (you can't change the past), we won't be able to love our future? You won't know where you're going until you know where you've been. Does that sound familiar? To see and accept the past allows you to know what to do differently or to enhance what already "is".

It took a special situation for me to embrace this. I was given my mother's last name (Forest) when I was born. At the age of 25, my father was added to my birth certificate that placed 'Esperance' as my maiden name, but I've never used it. By the time it was given to me, I had already been married...twice. So, all of my adult life up to that point, I carried someone else's last name.

During one of my healthy discussions about marriage with my partner, I made a comment that instead of getting my last name changed to my maiden name (Esperance) after my last divorce, I would just hold on to my ex-husband's last name. Then, once my partner and I got married, I would change it to his. I thought it made complete sense. The hassle of changing all of my legal documents, work information, and driver's license to my maiden name just to have it change to my new husband's last name would be too much—and ridiculous. In my mind, I would spend less time and energy on something that would eventually change again.

I am used to using Esperance as a penned last name, but to actually be acknowledged with and using it as my signature would be completely awkward for me. My partner, however, disagreed. He stated that until I started carrying my own last name, he would not even ASK me to marry him. So, with my pouting, I fussed and demanded a more thorough explanation. The only  response I received was, "I want to marry you; not your ex-husband". You can imagine the insulted look on my face when I asked him, "What are you talking about?" He said nothing else.

Every time I would think about this discussion, it would raise my blood pressure—that was until one day, God revealed to me that I have never actually accepted being my true self or embraced the lineage of my father. I spent years attaching my identity to someone else, instead of finding out who I actually am and where I came from. Although we are all God's children, He used our birth parents to bring us into this world for a reason. I was functioning with other people's lineage attached to me. I would always get questioned about who I knew or about someone's legacy from the last name I was carrying. Until I accept my father's bloodline as my own, there was no way I will have enough love and power to break generational bondage and curses for future generations. I wouldn't know what I was fighting against, and I wouldn't know how it even started.

I had to learn to accept what my lineage is in order to love myself to know I wanted to change the bad of what I was birthed into. It allowed me to love my family in spite of their faults and hurts that were created through the years. When I began loving those closest to me, especially the ones who have hurt me, it allowed me to love those I do not know...with their imperfections.

There's a reason why loving the Lord with all your heart and soul is the first and greatest commandment, and the second is to love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:30-31). It is simple: Love the One who created you and the cloth He created you from. Once you love the One who created you in His image, you will then internalize it to love yourself (mistakes and all). Then, once you love yourself with all your flaws, you will be able to love your neighbor with all of their's. We find it hard to love our neighbor because we never actually love God like we should. If God is LOVE, then spreading love shouldn't be that hard because He lives within us.

All humans are seeking love, but we forget that love starts within. Love God—and love yourself, including the past, to be able to love others.

"Alex, great article with awesome reminders. Enjoy the journey! Thank you for the motivation!" #Iamwomansister 

~ Monique P., 2/5/18 ~

"Alexandra, your words are timely and encouraging. Thank you!"

~ Paris Ducket, 1/20/18 ~

Love Your Past in Order to Love Others

By Alexandra Esperance

(c) February 12, 2018

"WOW, and double WOW!!! Awesome testimony, I love the whole thing. And you are so right; unless we fall in love with God, we will never truly how to love our spouse, others, or ourselves. Well written beautiful lady, and well done."

~ Min. Aaron Weaver, 2/14/18 ~

One of my New Year's resolutions is to lose a few pounds before stepping out into my full calling and purpose God has for me. Being an introvert and stubborn, I gained a few pounds while being in my cocoon for the past few months. So, like everyone else counting down 2017, I decided to write some goals I would like to accomplish in 2018.

My first day working towards my weight-loss goal, I decided I was going to run (instead of walk) around my neighborhood. In my mind, running would allow me to lose more weight quicker, especially being mindful that the release of my second book is just around the corner and I want to be picture-ready. After a few minutes of running (at least I believe it was a few minutes, although my partner would say otherwise), my chest started hurting, my ankles were sore, and my knees were screaming. I thought, "There is no way I am going to live!"  So, my partner wisely suggested I get used to walking before leaping into running.

Shaking my head (while trying to catch my breath), I agreed and decided to take my time and walk. As I walked, I was focused solely on making sure I completed my first workout session—with the quickness. Next thing I knew, my vision began to get distorted. It was easy to see the ending near and clear when I was running, but walking caused me to see it an unexpected distance.

Every time I thought I was close to my destination, it was actually farther away. Although I knew running would have gotten me there quicker (if I did not pass out first), I would have to deal with the pains in my chest, ankles, and knees. I would have caused injury to myself in places I never knew existed and place myself in a position to delay my progress.

Because I kept seeing my destination farther away as I walked, I began to get discouraged and disappointed in myself. I finally had to make a conscious decision to stop focusing only on my final destination and simply be present in the moment. When I began being present in the moment, I realized that there were other advantages that came along with it. For example, my partner is a musician and photographer. Due to his professions, he travels a lot. "The moment" allowed me to spend quality time with him. When I am home, I am either in front of the computer, on my phone, or working. "The moment" allowed me to disconnect, breathe fresh air, and gain clarity—without anything else contaminating my thinking process. It also allowed my body to get better prepared for the next level (physically and spiritually).

Taking your time to finish your "New Year, New Me" journey can make the finish line to your goal seem very distant, blurry, and cause you to question: "Am I looking at a mirage ahead or my final destination? Am I almost there? Is it worth it?" The key is to not rush and to be present in the moment. Enjoy what comes with the journey. Take time to hydrate yourself by reading scriptures and reciting affirmations. Meditation and worship will revive you and keep you going.

A mirage is a figment of your imagination (which is, of course, your mind). Anything you can imagine can become your reality. Don't worry about the distance and the time it takes you to get there. Breathe the fresh air as you take each step. Soon enough, what you see as a mirage will become your reality!

"Great message showing deep, honest sharing and revelations. Thanks!!"

~ Marlowe Scott, 1/20/18 ~

"Wow, Alex - very inspiring! 2018 is going to be your year!"

~ Michelle Fitzgerald, 1/22/18 ~

The Mirage Eventually Turns Into Reality

By Alexandra Esperance

​(c) January 19, 2018

"Keep going don't give up..."

~ Kassandra, 1/20/18 ~

Click the picture!

"I'm so proud of you Alex! Many will not find the courage but you did. Keep FOCUS and you will and I mean it you will accomplish all Your goals!!!  ❤ ❤ ❤"

~ Mimi Johnson, 1//19/18 ~

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