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Years ago, I did what fools do. I planned out my life.
Ever heard that joke that says, “Want to make God laugh? Then tell Him your plans for the future!”
Well, I did. But I still didn’t think the saying was applicable to me. In my delusion, or umm, pride…or maybe, naivete, I thought God and I were so tight that, well, “He wouldn’t play me on my plans.” I had some learning to do about God, and, well, life in general.
The thing is, I had my life planned out, but I left room for waiting. Or so I thought. After letting go of the man I loved, I prepared myself for a “time of singleness”. Even a very long time, by some people’s standards. Still, it was not long enough.
I was taught that I should be “doing something in the meantime” while I waited for this man to come along, and so I set out to “do those things”.
I wrote books. Got my MBA. Started a business. I did speaking engagements. Counseled others who needed to “overcome heartbreak.” Went on trips. Spent time with friends. Bought a home. I created a full life. And still, no husband.
Then, the unthinkable happened. 35 hit. I was officially in my mid 30s and single. But worse. I was alone. Really alone. Not like the alone I feared (like I was just single), but the alone that accompanies loss and grief and no kids, when you are fastly surpassing the child-bearing age.
I was blessed with plenty of people who surrounded me. They were there for the times they could be, but I was no longer “someone’s only”. I was no longer someone’s point person. The way that I had been for nearly 35 years of my life. And that reality, has been a hard pill to swallow. I, in fact, have been trying to swallow it for 2 1/2 years now.
I have enjoyed the gifts God has given over the years of following Him. He has been very intentional in His blessings. The thing is, those blessings do not remove the constant ache for what I gave up all those years ago. And what was removed just 2 1/2 years ago (which was family).
Still, I wait.
Thanksgiving was a hard one. I have struggled every holiday for as long as I can remember. I was just re-reading a journal entry from several years ago where I admitted this. But I had never been truly alone. I just seemed to have less (in this area) than what others had. What my friends had. What society had.
I did have a friend eventually join me for Thanksgiving, though he was delayed. And the food was good, along with the company. So in that sense, it worked out. But those hours leading up to it, well, they were just painful.
I say all this to say, the journey is hard. I have tried for it not to be hard for so many years. But it just is. At least, in this area.
Today I was reminded that even Jesus needed help carrying His cross.
I had this thought out of nowhere, and I like to think that it was from God. Certainly it was full of grace and compassion. So the fruit of it, at least leads, back to Him. My interpretation of that thought, was that it is ok to feel weak. The word He keeps sending me in this season is actually that He is perfect in our imperfection. He is strong in our weakness. When we fail His love never does. That is a blessing, because I am unable to be strong. At least, in the way that I used to be.
Years ago, friends and I watched a documentary of black women in their 40s who were single (and did not want to be). I looked at these women who were successful in business. They were homeowners. They took trips. They lived very full lives. But, they wanted love. A romantic love. I looked at these women, and I thought, “That won’t be me!”
Now at 37, I admit to myself. It is me.
I sit here in my new home, with my cat at my feet and my wine in my glass, and I see. It is me. It is the life I did not want.
I suppose that’s what sacrifice is. Laying down what you want, for what He wants.
Choosing His way over your own, in hopes that one day there will be a reward. Either on this side, or in eternity.
But I have met my match with this path. I have realized it will always be too great for me. I guess that means He will get the glory if I overcome. He will get all the praise. It will only be Him.
I miss my mother everyday. I miss the parts of her I did not appreciate when she was here. The consistency, the devotion, the hope she had for my life. I struggle to remember that she is full of joy and love in a way that she could never be on this side. I give in to those feelings of grief and loss, even when they are untrue. I simultaneously feel grateful and disappointed with God’s plan for me. It is not like that for other people, at least, per social media. They do not mourn the way I do. They bounce back from hard things. They let it roll off their backs.
But that is not my way. And At 37, I realize, life is simply never what you expect it to be.
Here is me and BJ, after I decorated my tree with loved ones.
Sometimes God is just funny. Like, I normally think about Him in terms of being loving, and gracious, and kind. Caring, and gentle, and intimate…but not really funny. Today, I had to literally laugh out loud though, because I realized, He really does have a sense of humor. The Guy is a straight up comedian.
About a week ago, I was not in the best mental space. Let’s face it, we’re in a pandemic, and no one really knows how long this thing is going to last. 2020 has been one shock after another, and I feel like, as a collective whole, humanity just could not catch our breath. We took one big gasp in January, and have been holding it ever since.
The first shock was Kobe. I sat there on the couch in my well-furnished basement, with a good friend, and watched CNN, for hours. We were told that Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter had died with several others in a helicopter crash. We were horrified and entered into a period of grief along with the whole world at the sudden loss of a well-known superstar. We were all suddenly reminded of the brevity of life, even if we weren’t avid sports fans. For months, Kobe and his family, (and those other poor souls), were the talk of our conversations. Were the topic of our heartfelt prayers. But then, the senseless injustices of the Black community came to a head, (once again). For me, it was Ahmaud who gripped my heart. Ahmaud Arbery was a young Black man who was gunned down while running in his neighborhood by three white men. He was unarmed. He was vulnerable. And he was killed. I laid out on the floor, weeping profusely. I could not stop. I couldn’t believe he was so young, and I kept imagining his mother finding her son. Dead. Bleeding. Lifeless. But then I didn’t have much time to even grieve that, because George happened. George Floyd, whom the nation responded so loudly to, was murdered by a white police officer, while his fellow officers stood by, and watched him kneel on George’s neck, mercilessly, while George cried out in agony, weeping for his mother. I could only watch (stomach) some of the video footage.
And somewhere in between these men, was Breonna. Breonna Taylor was gunned down in her own home, by police officers. A horrifying case of mistaken identity. The police officers were released by the way. No charge. No justice.
Throughout these atrocities, there were riots, and looting, and chaos. Grief, and fear, and sorrow. Not to mention, a recent presidential election which usually has folks up in arms in general, but would now have them even more so, during this particular election.
And all of this has happened in the midst of a world wide pandemic, of which the United States is leading in cases. I don’t even want to get into my own feelings of personal loss. My own personal grief. I just shared all this to explain why finally, after the last eight months of walking around with a mask on and dousing my hands in hand sanitizer at every moment’s chance, I felt the heaviness seep in. I felt it, and I recognized it from a past experience I didn’t think I would make it out of.
Well, that particular morning while feeling the heaviness, I decided I needed a pet. I have looked a few times in the past for one, particularly a kitten, but every time, it just never panned out. One time, my bestfriend and I went to the animal shelter near me. This was right when the pandemic hit, but they were closed due to the new crisis. Another time, I looked on Craigslist, but whenever I spotted a cute furry creature I could fall in love with, they would already be sold, once I reached out to the seller. I remember even over a year ago, my old roommate and I looked for a pet, but I didn’t find one I connected with, so I waited.
This particular morning while looking online though, I figured it was time, because of what I was dealing with. But I had a lot of work to do, and so after 20 minutes, I needed to switch gears from online perusing for a furry companion, to bookkeeping for clients. 5 hours later, I was spent. I actually remembered that I was looking for a kitten that morning once done working, but was too tired to go back online. I just wanted to veg out. Interestingly enough, within minutes of me having that thought, I heard a knock on my door. I was confused. It was the middle of the day. Who could it be? Anyone who visits normally calls first. Why didn’t they do that? Why didn’t they ring the doorbell? These were all the thoughts swirling in my mind as I made my way, cautiously, up the stairs, to the door. I peeked out, and saw this little light brown kid. He was holding a black kitten in his arms and peered up at me with large eyes and disheveled black hair. “Hi. Do you want a cat?” he asked.
Now, call it my upbringing with a single mom who was from the streets of Toledo, but my brain was racing. Is this kid in cahoots with a rapist, or mugger, or killer who is going to pop out while I’m distracted by his cuteness with this kitten and knock me out cold? So I start praying, Lord, please don’t let me be a victim in my foolishness to open this door to a stranger! (I’m serious too. I really did pray that.) Then I’m channeling my discernment, feeling for God, because what are the chances that someone is going to offer me a kitten on the very day I was looking for one? I looked at the kid, confused, and he explained, after glancing over his shoulder down my driveway, “My aunt is giving them away.” I stood back, assessed him some more, and knew I had to make a quick decision. I also knew it was God, and that this was my time to commit—or not to commit—to being a pet owner. Did I really want this? But never one to miss out on a blessing, I opened my hands, and he dumped the scared little fluffy bundle into them. I said, “Thanks,” and that was that. He left, and I was in awe.
I have been the proud owner of a small black kitten since that day (it will be one week tomorrow). His name is BJ and I named him that after the suggestion of a good friend who said to name him after a character in my book. (That is, my newest book, and first novel, that I’m still working on.) But people kept asking me what “BJ” stood for and I would cringe because I really didn’t know. It bothered me greatly because I’m someone who values words, values names, especially. I wanted some weighty, deep name that meant something, but all I came up with was, “BJ”. I loved BJ in my novel because he is a loving male friend to my female protagonist, but that couldn’t be enough. I needed a deeper meaning.
So here is the funny part. Remember, I said God was funny? I was driving today from making my normal daily Starbucks run (this began during the pandemic to get out of the house). A venti coffee with light cream sat in the cup holder, while I was thinking about God giving me a black cat, and thinking about how He had done the same thing before and gave my old roommate a black cat. She had named him Benny (short for Ben-Samuel, a nice, strong, Jewish name), and if you’ve been following this blog for a few years, you’ll remember a couple of blog posts about him. He was definitely an interesting character! So I was thinking this, and not for the first time you see. I was thinking about its significance. That God was doing something twice (usually in the Bible when He says something twice like, “verily, verily”, this means to pay attention). And then I thought, Isn’t it funny that God gave us two black cats whose names both start with B? Then it dawned on me! I had to laugh, and I had to share the laughter with someone whom I knew would understand its humor, so I called my old roommate Lianna. I told her how I just realized what “BJ” stood for! “Benny Jr!” I exclaimed with glee, and she laughed with me, and told me that was what she had figured when I initially shared his name!
“Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked. Of course she thought I already knew, but I didn’t. It was plainly in my face and I couldn’t see, I guess, until the time was right.
I laughed hard, and it was a good laugh. A needed laugh. And I think God held that little secret from me for a whole week just so He could see me laugh that hard. Just so He could see my face fill with joy.
Which it does, every time I look at BJ. AKA Benny Jr.!
God is so significant in ALL things. He is an amazing provider, and loves giving us the desires of our hearts. He also loves a good laugh, I’m convinced.
Meet BJ (Ben-Samuel Jr.)
Before this season I knew next to nothing about getting a book publishing deal. And can I tell you a secret? Even with two self-published books under my belt, I still didn’t consider myself “a real writer”. I mean, I’m a good writer (in my opinion) but I did not study writing or major in journalism (except for that brief time period freshman year, but God told me to “x” that idea). I mean, I’ve attended a few writing workshops but honestly, most of my training has come from, well, completely, Holy Spirit teaching me. 😁💕
I have read countless books and have always been an avid reader 🤓. Books were a safe haven growing up for me. I was a loner. Born an only child and struggling in the friendship department (my how things change). Most of my pre-teen years were spent with my nose in a book. I would get so excited when my mom would take me to the library to pick out a few books that I could spend the weekend reading. (Yes, I spent my weekends reading, LOL!) And even though she herself was not a reader, she supported me in my reading. She supported me in everything…
It’s funny how fast God can move in some things. Like this writing thing for example. I was just reading about a writer (one of those real writers, I mean) and how she kept submitting her manuscript and query letter to publishing companies and then getting rejected. Over and over. Until finally, she got accepted. In my mind it was a given she would get accepted. I mean, she was a real writer. (Any writer who knows how to do a query letter, and submit their work to a publishing company, well, that is a real writer to me, LOL.) So that’s why the last couple of months are astounding to me. Because out of nowhere I got a message posted on my social media account from a distant relative (someone I hardly interact with) about a publishing opportunity for black writers. Well, I’m a black writer (I use that term loosely as I’ve already explained my perception of myself as a writer), so I should definitely look into this. Well, I did, and they wanted the first 30 pages of a manuscript. Now, I had resumed writing once the pandemic hit, but had no idea how much I had written, and I wasn’t so sure I had enough written. To my surprise, at the time, I actually had 150 pages written! SMH. So, I quickly started working on my book project to get it submitted. But the company also wanted a query letter included. Hmmm, here we go with that query letter again! Well, shortly thereafter a friend slid into my DM’s with contact information for a well known published author who was offering her services (free of charge mind you) to help black authors put together a query letter for this very opportunity! Crazy. Could God be anymore obvious? LOL. So, I jumped on it, and she really was a godsend in every aspect of the word. Within a few weeks I had my query letter! Then it came time for editing. Or so I thought. I turned back to social media, put out feelers for an editor and reached out to one in particular.
Now, I am a no nonsense type. I like to get stuff done. Give me a project, I’ll knock it out. I love productivity. So when this person suggested we wait to do the editing and that I should revisit the story and dig deeper (without actually having read the story) I was a little annoyed. Come on lady, I’m tryna give birth to this thing and you telling me I’m not done carrying yet! 🤰🏾🙄. Now, she felt this message was from God and that she was hearing something. I’m not one to tell someone else what they are hearing or not hearing, but I know that if it is a word for me, then it is going to have to resonate with me. So I agreed to wait, although I was skeptical 🤔. But I didn’t have to wait too long. I sat with the story again, and Holy Spirit moved quickly. I began writing, and so much more came out of the characters. I was in awe. I sat with the story for a whole month after that and am finally meeting again with the editor (today actually). Hopefully we are ready for the editing stage (fingers crossed). I also submitted those first 30 pages and am awaiting a response from the publishing company. They have 3 months to respond so we have time (2 months left actually).
God has given me several words about this book project. I don’t know how much of an influence it will have but I know that it will have an impact. I love that it reflects my growth spiritually and where I have evolved as a person. It is relatable, down to earth but still revelatory. And to think, when I began writing it, I had no idea it would actually be a published work. I only started writing out of enjoyment.
I am looking forward to the outcome and to see the expression of the Father’s creativity through me in this season. And through so many others.
It’s our time.
Being an only child has its pluses and minuses. Plus: You learn to play on your own. Minus: You usually hate to share. Plus: You usually have your physical needs met. Minus: You can be (maybe a little 🤣) spoiled/self centered. Plus: You have a strong sense of self. Minus: You can be stubborn/bossy. (And some of these characteristics may not describe a typical only child, instead they may just be describing me LOL).
I was talking to a friend recently about growing up an only child and not having that experience of sitting at the dinner table together to share a meal with a family. Growing up in a single parent home my mother was more concerned about me having food on the table over us eating it together. Many evenings she was working when in fact I ate. My friend felt bad for me but even when I myself started feeling bad I was quickly reminded of how she and I shared all of our meals together some 4 months ago when the shut down hit.
And so in that case I could see God giving me that experience of eating with my sister. Similarly I found myself having another redeeming familial experience yesterday when visiting my dad for the Fourth of July weekend. (Side note, there are many in the black community who are not celebrating the fourth and I totally get it. Why should we celebrate the Independence of a nation that enslaved us? And so while we did gather during this holiday my heart personally is not to be affiliated with the “liberty” of slave owners.) For the first time in my whole life I partook in a holiday celebration with my father. This was a huge deal and I had to send out for backup prayer requests to my trusted intercessors who, thankfully, reminded me that I was not alone and that they were with me.
I made the trip physically on my own, trusting God all the way. I knew He was ordering my steps and that even though there had been so much warfare against my relationship with my father much of my life, the Father’s heart was that it be healed and restored.
I went and stood with these people who look like me: dark brown skin and musical. They sang for hours doing karaoke and relived the time when my father was a star in an all male group. He actually went to California to make it big. They had a cd recorded, of which I have the digital copy. You can find it on iTunes 😁. It was heartwarming to see my relatives gathered at the back porch as if it were a stage and watch my father and his old group members perform. I knew God was giving me the desire of my heart.
So many were happy to see me and over and over I heard about how much I look like my dad. I wrestled with my emotions and am still processing but it is not missed by me that the Father is healing.
Sometimes we miss things in our childhood. The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. And sometimes God gives us those things later in life.
I never grew up in a household of people who looked like me. My love of music was shared for sure but they were not performers. In my youth I had loved performing and seeing my father’s relatives do so showed me where I got it from. DNA is a powerful thing. We can end up just like the people we were conceived from even when we are not raised by them.
In this season I long. I long for so many things. The thing I have longed for the most and for the longest time is to have a family of my own. The Father has given me His family and that has been a blessing but it has never replaced the longing to have my own. I think that Mary would agree, she still missed Jesus, even after He gave her John.
“When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!””
John 19:26 NKJV
How could she not? He came from her own womb.
But the love and belonging that my blood family has in their heart for me is evident. Even as I struggle with the lost years, I am in awww of the gained days. Being around people who are “mine” is a dream. And there are so many dreams God has made come true.
He is faithful.
In other news stay tuned for a release of a new book I’m working on! I am so excited about this book project and what God wants to do through it! This book has offered me an opportunity to express both my spirituality and black culture. It adequately expresses where I have evolved in my faith at this point in my juncture. May He get all the glory ❤️.
I am my ancestors’ wildest dream.
I’m the writer for those who couldn’t read,
The voice for those who couldn’t speak,
I dance for justice and fight for peace,
I am free.
But only due to their bravery.
The men and women who went before,
And paved a road of liberty.
Laced with sacrifice, and suffering.
Families tattered and torn by a system of oppression,
Brutal beatings armed with lynchings filled with aggression,
To prove they were lesser than their oppressors.
But we fought back you see.
And lifted arms under its weight until the system was dismantled.
We used our Hope and Faith as weapons.
And sliced through the enemies camp of fear,
Set out to keep us under.
Instead we went down under,
And met Fear face to face.
We looked him dead in his eyes
And found, he was really the one afraid.
I am my ancestors’ wildest dream.
I dance the dance that David did,
With feet of a King.
And lift my head up high like Esther.
Exuding the exquisite stature of a queen.
I march and shout like Martin and Harriett, Malcom and Sojourner, Frederick and them.
Their blood races through my veins at a considerable rate,
To fight in the war I was born to face.
The eyes of our hearts now having been open,
It was never about our skin but our purpose!
It was never about our race but our image!
And Who’s we were created in.
They passed the torch to us to win!
We run not for ourselves but like they did,
For our next of kin!
For houses built and businesses owned.
For laws that protect and injustices atoned.
We are our ancestors’ wildest dream,
And they now find their rest, their joy, their love in the manifestation, of such a miraculous thing.
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My relationship with food has always been a focus. I remember going on my first diet at the tender age of 10 years old and the person who influenced me the most to do this was in my home. She was someone I looked up to and highly esteemed.
I also remember being told I was overweight by my physician and that my family needed to monitor my eating. They then replaced my after school snacks with healthier options and informed my after school child care faculty this new regimen. Although I’m sure the intent behind their efforts came from a good place (they only wanted me to be healthy) I still remember feeling different from my peers, and even somewhat ostracized. Normally if we finished our milk with our meal we could have a second. Now I could no longer have seconds, but others could.
Middle school was full of dieting. Weight was an issue for the woman who had the greatest influence on me. Then in school I was surrounded by my more slender, caucasian peers. By sixth grade I had developed my first eating disorder. Anorexia. It didn’t start out that way. Like any addiction it was a gradual progression. I watched shows that depicted the women I wanted to look like. I went to school and was surrounded by these types of girls. And then in my home, my petite and lighter-complected influences were a constant reminder that I was not them. I was dark, and “bigger”.
The only thing that brought me out of anorexia before it really complicated my health was my grandmother, my biggest influence. She said, “You have to eat, this isn’t healthy.” Thankfully that’s all it took. I started eating again, but the poor self image and insecurities with my body had already been deeply rooted. My first bout with an eating disorder would not be my last.
Part of the reason this was the case was my own distorted self image. But the other reason was the attention and affirmation I received from outside influences. All of a sudden after losing weight in the 6th grade, the popular boy I had had a crush on was flirting with me. People wanted to be my friend., and I grew in confidence. This all happened from losing weight. The problem was, my confidence was superficial. It was predicated on something as flighty as my physical appearance, not on the internal value I had as a person. But at 11 years old who has that type of deep rooted confidence? Even as an adult we can still struggle…
To make things even more interesting, middle school was socially rough. In elementary school we were all friends, then in junior high people started clicking up. I found myself on the outs and while going through puberty, I was experiencing bullying and rejection. My home life was also a wreck during that time. Reading became my consistent outlet and books were my best friends.
High school was better socially but again I fell into my old habits of feeling that my weight was the precursor for self confidence. My junior year I found myself enthralled within the grasp of another eating disorder, this time it was Bulimia. My family tried to help me, taking me to counseling and talking to me about it. I only lied and said I would stop, but I didn’t. They didn’t realize the seeds were so deeply planted that I could not simply stop because they wanted me to, or even that I wanted to. I was experiencing a sense of control over myself when I couldn’t control my external environment. And again, I was getting a lot of attention. I was now “fly”.
It wasn’t until my college years that I was able to be free from Bulimia. It was a supernatural experience where I didn’t have to go to counseling or through a long drawn out process. It was God. He was showing me my identity and purpose, neither of which had anything to do with my weight. I was finding my worth, and I wanted to treat myself accordingly, so no more vomiting.
I did put on a lot of weight as a result and my highest weight in college was 185lbs (I am 5′ 4″). I was a size 18 but I don’t remember even being too upset about it because I was so in love with God. I was experiencing a happiness I never had before. Nothing else seemed to matter.
After college I got my weight down to around 165lbs. I was very active and got into running. I was maintaining a healthy size 12 and I felt that I was the best version of myself. I didn’t want to be extreme anymore. I didn’t want to starve myself. I was learning that our culture tries to depict the normal weight of a woman to be different than what really is. And I was learning that in the black community curves were “in”.
It wasn’t until my Pastor started teaching a health coaching class that I felt led to eat even healthier. I participated in her detox plan and experienced a change in my perception of food and my desire for it. No longer did I crave sugar; it was too sweet. All of a sudden I wanted to eat food as if it were fuel for my body, not out of pure pleasure. I had developed self control over my eating in a healthier way then I ever had dieting or battling bulimia, and as a result I dropped down to a size 8. I hadn’t been in the single digits since I was a kid! I couldn’t believe that my body could even be that small. That is when I knew that I was manifesting more of who my true eternal self was and not who I thought I was. God was revealing me to me.
I maintained that size 8 for about 7 years with my healthy eating lifestyle but when I started dating I gained about 15lbs. All of a sudden I was fearful because it had been a long time that I was unhappy with my weight. But God met me again. He showed me different ways of eating that would help me lose, but not go overboard. Even though I was experienced with eating healthy there were some changes I needed to make in this new season of my eating journey. In the midst of this I had gotten into strength training. Although after college I had been pretty active, up until 2 years ago I had never done strength. I learned that strength training boosts your metabolism even after you are done working out, unlike cardio where you only burn while you are working out. I learned I need more protein to build and tone the muscle groups I am targeting. I also need to eat more frequently to fuel my body for the workouts I do (I usually eat every 2-3 hrs).
After losing the 15lbs I had gained, I was satisfied that my body was where it was supposed to be. After all I was comfortably back in my size 8’s and at a strong 158lbs, (which is where I had been for years). Then more recently I found out I had unexpectedly lost 4lbs. How did I lose 4lbs without trying? I wondered. I have been very “in tune” with my body for several years and just believed I was where I was supposed to be without being extreme and staying active. Yet God is showing me again that my body is changing and it is a new season. Now I am intrigued as to where my body can go given my new regimen of strength training and a higher protein diet. I am excited!
I am so grateful by the Father teaching me the best diet and exercise regimen for me. I have received the affirmation and attention I did when I was younger and smaller but now my confidence is not superficially based on that. It is based on knowing who I am to Him. My value to Him. And His love for me.
I know many struggle with their weight and women have so much pressure to be a certain size just like men are pressured to be a certain height. I can share that my experience is that we can overcome our weaknesses and be free from addictions, however it is rarely an overnight occurrence, and it truly does not happen without discipline and intentionality (although I did randomly lose that 4lbs, LOL).
The unique thing for me is that I know my discipline and desire for fitness comes from Him. The self control I have is His fruit and I can taken no credit.
My health and fitness is truly a byproduct of me manifesting my true identity in Him and I’m glad He has revealed such an important concept, especially when as a youth my view was distorted.
He does great things.
And loves giving us the desires of our hearts.
Last night I conversed with a woman who’s known me nearly 20 years. You know you are really getting up there when your friendships last decades.
You know you are blessed as well…
Although she and I have stories that are unique, we have “The Call” that is in common. The Call to live for Him, and we started it together, our sophomore year of college.
I remember those early days of fire, where we were so hungry and so thirsty that nothing could satisfy. We laid down our greatest desires at the time. We have been laying them down ever since, and leaning on each other for support during the very difficult moments. As of late there have been many…
I think God is gracious in that He gives us these people to support us when we are faced with overwhelming obstacles. I get so frustrated with the journey and what all it has entailed, but I look around and see that I am surrounded by many who are on the same path. Many who are living extraordinary lives for Him.
Even if they seem ordinary to us.
I told my friend last night, “We are breathing rare air.” That was the phrase that had come to me. I don’t believe this phrase is reserved for Presidents and Nobel Peace Prize winners. No. I believe that when we are being counter cultural, when we are doing the opposite of what the world says to do, when we are holding on for dear life (and even give up, but He is still holding us), when we are being the standard in a generation that has none, well, we are rare.
And the air is thinner up here.
And yet we are still breathing.
I am reminded of those in Hebrews 11. Those who are in the “Hall of Faith”. The Word says that the world was not worthy of them. Dare I say God feels the same about us? Those of us who are here now, enduring, persevering, sacrificing, suffering long? Dare I say He sees us and knows our sacrifice and the very depths of it? Knows we have given our lives even if not physically but emotionally, mentally, intellectually, socially? And yes, even some physically?
It is a rare thing to believe in something supernatural. In something you cannot see. And even rarer to demonstrate that belief by the actions you choose. To follow Him, knowing that you may not get what you want. But in the end, really, don’t we all just want Him?
In my younger days I would have thought since He is all I want then nothing else will matter. But now I see, it is Him just wanting to be first. It is Him just wanting me to want Him more than anything. Of course He has good things for us. Of course He wants us to enjoy this life. But not if we enjoy it more than Him…
My friend shared last night that He was giving us grit. Yes, I agreed, and went into a story about a prophetic word I received years ago. He said he was giving me backbone then. That word was about 9 years ago. If I was getting backbone then I cannot imagine what other body parts he developed in the time since of this journey.
There are times I feel slain and I am reminded of Job’s cry.
“Though He slay me yet will I trust Him”.
It is not an easy posture for one’s heart. But He never promised it would be easy. He only promised He would be with us.
And the blessing is that He is in His people.
And they are with us too.
Nearly 20 years later…
I was standing near her grave feeling a little awkward because he was standing there too. Never could you have told me we would be in this position (on speaking terms, let alone at her grave). I had come there a little early with a friend so I could have alone time to think about them; the women who had gone before me. The ones who paved the way.
Years ago when my grandmother passed I never visited the cemetery. I didn’t see a need to, she wasn’t there. Instead she was with her Maker. Now that both of them are gone I have found the grave to be a place of connection. I connect with Him.
I connect with them.
So when he asked me if he could come too, well, I was understandably hesitant. We hadn’t really spoken in two years, when everything happened. When I shut the door to further communication. So meeting with him in such a vulnerable place would be a risk. But one I felt Holy Spirit was leading me to take.
My bestfriend was there with me. And really she is my sister. She’s been by my side since I was 14 years old. We fell out in college (over what, neither of us can remember) but she was already grafted into my family by then. My mom and gramma held on to her. I think they were saving her for me for when I would be mature enough to value her.
And oh how I value her…
It was a rainy day, although it wasn’t currently raining, and I was fighting a fierce cold. So inconvenient considering the world was dealing with a pandemic with the same symptoms. We kept taking my temperature and I was assured I didn’t have this illness, this COVID-19. But I did have a cold and it wasn’t letting up. I was just going to have to push through.
He and I didn’t embrace when we met out of precaution because he’s older, but I felt his love just the same. We stood there and talked and it was clear to me he finally had gotten it.
“Thank you for calling me out on my sh$t,” he said. I appreciated his frankness. He was finally demonstrating those qualities I had desired for so long: humility, ownership of wrongdoing, maturity. These were qualities I had wanted in a male counterpart. In the past I had wanted these men to see that me walking out of their lives was the worse thing to have happened and they needed to get it together to get me back. But they wouldn’t. Now standing here in front of this man, my own father, I realized he was the one who really needed to get it. And he did.
He finally did.
I was guarded but he still made me laugh and even tear up. “You are mine,” he said. “You will always be mine. You can hate me but that will never change.” And I was immediately reminded of the Father’s love, and of my mother’s (both are the same really). It was evident that was the love that was in his heart.
He and I are closer in physical distance than we have been my whole life. I told him God was giving him a new beginning. Now I can see that He is giving us a new beginning.
I feel the Father has said the warfare that has come against our relationship these 30+ years is finally over. He is giving us time. Just as He did with my own mother.
The Father has been so merciful with me. I have experienced great pain and heartache within the area of relationships and family, yet He has chosen to move and bring restoration and redemption.
It has not been easy, nor will it be. But He has still been working, bringing about His promises in His own time. And for that I am grateful.
He is still producing miracles.
Even in the mundane.
P.S, Here is a pic from my 37th b day! Fierce and Fabulous 😊😉