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I’ve been pretty vocal about my feelings in this season of “recovery”. I know the Father sees it as recovery though for me it has just felt sad. Lots of negative emotions have been my experience (loneliness, broken heartedness, anxiety) and that was precisely why I ran as hard as I could away from the pain, for fear it would overtake me.
Thankfully, it hasn’t.
Thankfully I met Tiffany.
Yesterday I was living my life in a very “normal” way, and while I felt a little lighter than I had in a while, I still had no anticipation that God was ordering my steps in any particular way. I only knew that I really needed my nails done. Spring is here and summer quickly approaching and a girl needs to make sure she is looking her best since she is seen even more in these seasons💁🏾♀️😏. So I headed to the mall and chose a nail salon I’ve never attended. At first I wasn’t even going to stay because there was a wait and I have never liked to wait (as God is very familiar with, and maybe you are too if you’ve read this blog for any significance of a time) but then I figured, “what’s 30 minutes?”
When you’ve waited years for something, 30 minutes is truly a drop in the bucket.
So finally it was my turn and I was really excited about the particular nail polish I had chosen (it is really the little things these days) and though the nail tech doing my nails was great at her craft, she wasn’t particularly conversational and I was actually uncharacteristically in the mood for a good conversation with a perfect stranger (you introverts out there know what an unusual occurrence that is). And so when she shared she wouldn’t be able to do my pedicure because she was clocking out soon I wasn’t too disappointed. I then followed a young woman to the pedicure station and received a really encouraging email regarding my new business (will share more on that at a later date) and was therefore consumed with following up on this new opportunity while the woman did my pedicure. Now I was the silent one. She made conversation and I politely responded but I was clearly distracted. So it wasn’t until she moved me to the manicure station and polished my nails (because the previous nail tech wasn’t able to) that we engaged more. I noticed how meticulous she was with her work and commented as such. She responded and shared she is an artist, and that in fact she is also a writer and a poet. I encouraged her in sharing her gifts and when she said she wanted to write books that told people’s stories to help encourage others in similar circumstances, well, I knew I had to share my own testimony of doing the same. We engaged in a beautiful conversation about difficult seasons, as she too was in a recovery season, and I gave her some resources that have helped me as well as those I have written. It touched my heart so much when she looked up to the ceiling and said, “OK, God, I hear you!” Wow. Look at God. Using me in an unlikely place at an unlikely time to encourage one of His own while I am still healing. Still recovering.
He does great things.
One of my encouragements to this woman (who told me her name was Tiffany) was to ask God, “What good can come from this season?” He works all things for the good so how can good come from such trauma and loss? She nodded her head in agreement taking in every word, even as sadness laced her eyes. I knew that sadness. I had it myself. But now I was feeling something new in the midst of it. Something I hadn’t felt in a while.
I felt hope.
Hope for the future. Speaking with Tiffany reminded me of purpose and it let me know (as I’m sure the Father intended) that He is using even my pain to help others. See, I could not have related to Tiffany before this season. I would have sympathized because I am an intercessor and my heart is sensitive to other’s pain naturally, but I would not have known for myself what devastation felt like. At least, not the kind of devastation she was dealing with. When one hard thing after another keeps happening and it gets hard to believe that good things can happen.
I left the mall yesterday smiling. It was the first time I had smiled and felt happy without any pain in so long.
As I walked to my car, I couldn’t stop smiling.
I am so encouraged by this experience and others that have happened the last few days. It has been an amazing week and it is only halfway through💕.
But its not even just the events themselves that have encouraged me, its the fact that I can feel joy as a response to them.
Joy in the midst of darkness.
Joy in the midst of pain.
Truly He is with us.
Here is the finished product of Tiffany’s handwork:
Thank you Tiffany.
It’s been a whirlwind of a year and though I received so many presents during my last birthday I wasn’t able to enjoy them all. It wasn’t until I found a few in a drawer that I even knew some had been forgotten. I texted a friend asking if she was the one who had given me the beautiful necklace made in Africa, thinking that only she would. She confirmed in response that, yes she did. I have been intentional about wearing it this week. Along with the necklace I found a couple of empty journals, a super cute luggage tag and a traveler’s guide for black women.
My friends are great.
I wrote in the journal and made a mental note to use the tag on my next trip. I have so many gifts and yet haven’t taken time to enjoy them all. And that led me to thinking about the spiritual applications of this natural occurrence.
What gifts am I not enjoying now?
In this season?
In these circumstances?
I started a practice of gratitude a week ago. I decided to be intentional about being thankful for just one thing a day for 30 days. Clearly there is more than just one thing to be thankful for daily but I felt overwhelmed and pressured with that truth. Just choosing one thing felt doable. I have been doing good so far, and participating in this practice has helped me to focus on the good (Phil 4:6).
I recently read, It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way, by Lysa Turkerst and in it she talks about her decision to look for something good in her season of suffering. She physically looked around her environment until her eyes landed on something tangible. Something that reminded her of the strength and courage she would need to face her current circumstances.
It can be challenging to look at the good when your heart is aching from various heartbreaks. When grief and sorrow seem to follow you wherever you go, and it surprises you because it never did before. But even when telling my story to a friend just yesterday, she reminded me of the testimony that came out of this season. The testimony of the restoration of a mother and daughter.
I was putting a gift together for a friend, and I was so excited. I was so proud of the creativity and thoughtfulness that went into the gift. I knew it was the Lord for me to pull it all together. I was searching for a box to mail it in when I came across a box full of stuff my mom had. Some things she kept. Some keepsakes. There were gifts I had given her for Mother’s Day and it touched me so much that she had kept them. And that I had honored her and showed love while she was still with me physically. I then came across a dear picture of my grandmother. She was a teenager and oh so lovely. I had always loved that picture and remember seeing it hanging on my nana’s (great grandmother’s) wall as a kid. Now it’s mine💕.
In truth it had been mine for the last year, but it was hidden in a box somewhere in the basement. Unopened.
I know I can get into this habit of asking God for more. More of what I feel was lost or taken or withheld. But how much would it pain me if my friend, (who I just mailed their gift to), stashed it away and left it unopened? And then asked me for another gift? When I had went through such great lengths to show her my love by giving things that would be dear to her heart? It would be disappointing to say the least. I would definitely be hurt.
So I want to be more intentional to look around in this season and see the unopened, unwrapped presents. I already know about the gifts I didn’t get that I wish I had. I have expressed my sentiments on that enough. But what about the ones I have been given that I’ve neglected? Like my grandmother’s picture? Why should I be given more when I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed all that I already have?
Father help me to thoroughly enjoy the gifts You have chosen to give in this season.
It’s the New Year. And normally I would do a summary of the old year. I would reflect on all He had done and how He had moved and how far I had come. But I won’t do that this year. Not because He hadn’t moved and He hadn’t done and I hadn’t come. But because it still hurts.
When I think about this season I realize it is the pattern He has always used with me. A series of high-highs and low-lows. Except the lows were exceptionally low this time. And maybe, in some sense, the highs were exceptionally high. I guess it is a result of the advancement in the journey. The “greater levels” Church culture speaks of.
I ended 2018 on a “high” note. I spent 2 weeks in the Caribbean with a dear sister and friend. A woman who has been by my side for over 20 years. We are amazed at that fact by the way! She is the only one who “knew me then”, and I her. She was the one who stayed the longest when my mom moved on to glory and she was the one my mom loved the most. Growing up she didn’t have a close family and unbeknownst to me, mine became hers. My grandmother and mother invested in her immensely and I don’t doubt that the fruit of her accomplishments and successes will be distributed to their heavenly accounts.
As we traveled to Mexico and then Honduras and then Belize, I thought about these great women who came before us. They were the reason we could lay on white sandy beaches, swim in clear blue waters, ride on beautiful stallions and visit the Mayan Ruins. They were the reason we could live life so abundantly.
So often I think back on my childhood. I realize there is no one on this planet who will appreciate it as much as those two women. Who will “oooh” and “awww” over my baby pictures. Who will be more excited then me for my next birthday.
These are the lows.
I realize I must process it all in order to move forward. Healing can only come through truth. And the truth is, life is both. It is high and low. It is dark and light. And I don’t know if we really appreciate the light unless there is darkness.
After my cruise I met with a different sort of companion. We exchanged late Christmas gifts and made up for our time apart. We watched movies and had dates and went ice skating. It was clear the Father was giving me what I longed for, for so long. And on New Years Eve, I got my New Years’ kiss. Something I had never before experienced. Another high.
I was asked what I wanted in 2019. What was my goal? What did I want to accomplish? “Healing”, I said. Knowing it was not necessarily what I wanted, but what I needed.
“Healing and restoration”.
I have always been someone very sensitive to times and seasons. I was excited to see how the Father was working in my life in the earth. I enjoy seeing the purpose of numbers and calendars (both Hebraic and Gregorian), but time seemed to have stopped this past year. And maybe if it didn’t necessarily stop, it didn’t seem to matter as much.
Going into this new season I look forward to building my business. I have already received my first paycheck which overwhelms me with encouragement. I look forward to enjoying my loved ones and being grateful for those who are here to offer comfort and support in this journey. I truly don’t deserve the love they have demonstrated.
And I look forward to the moments I have with him. The man who treats me better than any man has ever treated me before.
The Father is full of surprises. He knows those hard things and though He doesn’t exempt us from them He offers support and strength as we walk through them. Through it all I know one thing is certain, He is there. And He cares.
This weekend I had a hot date. With my mom that is. We played pool and had drinks and had fun. She won 2 out of 3 games but the fact that I even won 1 and came really close to winning another is impressive. She’s a pretty good player and I, on the other hand, am not 🙄🙄. But even though I’m not the best pool player that did not keep her from rooting for her baby girl😊. I marveled at her heart for me. She wanted me to win even if it was at the sake of her losing. That is the heart of a parent. A good parent that is…
In my Healing the Father Wound class someone shared a word of wisdom I marinated on. She said that parents are just adults who do not have it together. So true. As children we want them to have it together. Even as adult children. But who can say that they have perfect parents? No one.
I was so blessed by my mom’s heart to be “for me” and the fact that she would want me to do better than she did. The Father looks at the heart.
I’m grateful to have a mother with a good heart.
And there are so many around me with good hearts. There are so many who are “for me”. In this difficult season of waiting many continue to reach out. I know it is really the Father’s hand reaching out through each one.
Still, often He has seemed so distant, like an onlooker objectively observing. But then I think of my mom and feel His love for me. The kind of love that causes you to want your child to do better than you did. And whatever the sacrifice, whatever the cost, is worth it.
That is the love of the cross.
That is agape.
From this weekend…
Hello there! Please check out my guest post on Single Roots “Why I’m Glad God Gave Me A Roommate…Again”!
Last night I had my second speaking engagement and it went so well! The whole process of me receiving this opportunity was so unexpected that I can’t help but see God’s hand in it. While I was unemployed last year I worked filing individual tax returns during the tax season. One day a client came in to sign off on his paperwork. He was not my client but my coworker’s client, however because my coworker was unavailable I handled the sign off. Although this should have been a simple task, things did not run so smoothly. There were a few errors that needed fixing and I had to speak with management to correct them. This caused a few trips to the back room, getting on the phone with management and working feverishly to fix the issue. I was so worried the client would think I was the cause of the error and that I was unprofessional. Instead he was laid back and very pleasant. He made small talk and asked me what I did professionally in the off season. Well, since I was unemployed I didn’t want to mention that aspect of my life so instead I said off handedly, “Oh, I’m a local author”, to which his eyes lit up! Turns out he was a higher up at a local library and they featured local authors in the library! He asked for my book but I had just sold out at my first speaking engagement (thank You Lord). Instead I took his card and agreed to contact his assistant. Fast forward one year later and I found myself walking into a library that has my picture in the lobby on an easel along with 3 other stellar individuals, a shelf with a row of my book so that readers could “check it out” and a podium and mic set up on stage. Oh yea and a parking spot that said “Reserved for speaker”. “Wow!” I thought. “Where is God taking us?!” (I was referring to both myself and my mom who was faithfully by my side.) Mom had mentioned she was praying for the event and hoped for a large crowd. While we definitely had a good group, it was not the large crowd she desired. I know to her and others there were just a few individuals present but to my eyes the room was full. It was full of His glory, His purpose and maybe even a few angels.
Last night I met a guest who shared some personal challenges he was having in this season. I knew that even if no one else showed up, I was there for him. The evening was such a blessing as I got to share my testimony of the pain I faced and how God met me in that pain. I then shared on what I’ve been learning in becoming a healthy single and looking for a healthy dating relationship. I was so encouraged and inspired by this open door that I sailed home that night on a cloud and woke up this morning with a smile😊.
4 years ago I started this little blog not knowing it would eventually lead to me becoming a published author. Now a business is developing and income is being received. Speaking engagements are being booked and skype calls are being made and I am just trying to keep up. It truly is exceedingly abundantly more than I could have thought of. So even if there are just a few present, those few matter to God. I firmly believe that if we are faithful over a few He will make us rulers over much. He will give the increase. All we have to do is be faithful and keep moving forward. Even Christ Himself practiced this protocol. Because He was faithful with just 12 the gospel has now spread to most of the world over thousands of years.
And He only lived until the age of 33.
Imagine what He could do through you in your lifetime!