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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 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 😊😉
This weekend I got the keys to my new house. I am still in awww. It does not seem real and I keep marveling at how FAST everything happened. My friend asked me last night what were my first steps of obedience that led to this gift? Thinking about it for a minute I shared about making the decision to move in with my mom. That was such a leap of faith. At the time I had been living on my own for 10 years. The place I was residing in was quaint and cute and comfortable. I had no real reason to leave and was enjoying my time in that city. I was also enjoying my time with a new roommate.
But when my mom asked me to live with her to help her financially to transition from her job I said “yes”. My friend marveled at my response and felt like it showed great faith, but for me I had heard God. How is it faith when He is making it clear what He wants? Either way that was one of the best decisions I had ever made. I had no idea the Father was giving us time.
After her passing I knew He would be sensitive to my time in the home we had shared. I was in no rush to move even though I knew eventually I would. That house served as a great comfort to me in my grieving process.
The next step of faith was probably choosing to end my lease and pay month to month. My pastor suggested it and although I did it I still thought it was very unlikely that I would move anytime soon. I just new I was overpaying and would need to move at some point. There were a few things going wrong with the home and they were indications that I could not stay there. The desire of my heart was to have my own which would also fulfill legacy.
And then I met with my friend’s realtor who I had underestimated. I did not know what a jewel she was and how divine our connection would be. I had given up on the home buying process and she was the one who kept the faith. She was the one who found my home.
“So how did you know this was it?” My friend asked. “I didn’t.” I replied. I explained it was everyone around me. It was the open door after open door. It was seeing God’s hand in the people and the process.
I fully expected to fall in love at first site with my house. There was one house in particular that I did that with. I was so giddy over that home I couldn’t sleep the whole night. But the day before I was going to put my offer in it was taken off the market. I was so hurt. It wasn’t mine.
“So when did you fall in love?” Another friend asked. “Now,” I said. I am falling in love now. I go from room to room in joy and awww. I discover so many little things that bring me joy and make me smile. I can feel the Father smiling with me. It is like He is discovering through my eyes. It is new to Him because it is new to me.
This home brings me comfort. It gives me rest.
I asked the Lord why did He choose this one and not the other one? “Intimacy”, He said. This home is more intimate. It feels like it is embracing me and hugging me when I am in it.
I am so blessed by the people and the process of buying a home. God is truly in all things. And now for the first time in 3 generations we are homeowners again.
May He receive all the glory in this home and may it be used for His good purposes.
As I mentioned previously on this little blog things are moving quickly. Yesterday we did the inspection on the house and while there were several things brought to my attention I was assured by the professional (the inspector) that these items were a given for a house of this age. In fact, it was in good condition given its age.
An interesting phenomenon occurred yesterday. I found that while the inspector was highlighting certain things my eyes became open to them also, either while he was speaking and sometimes even before he spoke. I told him that just being around him was giving me “eyes to see”. It is an interesting occurrence that we can be influenced to that capacity by people around us, even those we have just met. I can see this as being symbolic of my spiritual journey. Being “around” Christ these 15 years has greatly influenced me and helped me to “see”.
Recently I had an interaction with a family member and I was greatly discouraged to find that they did not “see”. It had been a while since we had spoken and the reason for our disconnection was due to their own narcissism and selfishness. I felt that I was called to implement strong boundaries to focus on my own health and healing during a season of recovery. I had hopes that one day the relationship could be restored, so when they reached out I was surprised, but hopeful. Unfortunately upon interacting with them I soon learned that they had not grown.
They had not healed.
They were (still) toxic.
I did not understand why they were still in the same place. How could all this time have passed and they did not see? But I was reminded of the gift I have in community and the teaching I am under. I am surrounded by people who value healthy relationships. I am surrounded by people who desire to grow and change for the better. I am influenced by those around me.
Maybe one day that relationship will be restored but for now I must continue on my own path. The Father has given me all the tools needed to accomplish His purpose on this path and I am grateful for the greatest tool He has given:
Now I understand so much why He revealed Himself to me as He did. He told me years ago He would be anything that I needed and I so have needed Him as Father, Husband, & Family.
I pray that God brings forth His desires in the earth. As an intercessor I can’t help but to do so. But I also understand we all have choices. And I choose to value myself above someone else who will try to devalue me.
I choose to protect myself from others who may bring me harm.
I choose to see myself as He sees me.
I was walking with a friend outside. It was midday summer; perfect and sunny. We had just come from lunch where we had the benefit of eating outside. The venue allowed dogs because we happened to be in a “dog city” so folks were happily bringing their dogs to this particular restaurant. My friend is becoming a dog lover so this setting afforded her the opportunity to “ooh” and “aww” over the cute k-9’s strolling with their owners who passed by our table.
As we walked, we took in the scenery. It’s a gentrified area and those have their own pluses and minuses. Pluses because they get “redone” with the money that’s flowing into the city. Minuses because the previous residents get kicked out when they can no longer afford the new amenities being added.
As we walked, my friend even stopped to smell some beautiful flowers at a flower shop and I took note. We had been talking about contentment and enjoying the moment. I knew God was working in her.
“Do you feel peace?” she had asked me at some point. We had already been together for over an hour and were catching up on each others lives. I had told her about the ups and downs in my romantic life as well as this season of recovery.
I thought about her question. “Peace?” I asked as I mulled that one over in my head for a sec. Did I feel peace? I asked myself. I struggled with that. Because in all honesty I did not feel peace. I did not feel ok with this journey of surrender and submission. I did not feel ok with grief and loss and trauma. I did not feel ok.
What I eventually told my friend was the truth. I did not feel peace. But I could not disregard my past journey of God showing His faithfulness. That when He had me do hard things in the past, it was actually for my good. So I said something to the effect of, “No, I do not feel peace. But He must see something that I don’t. I also understand that I am an eternal being and this life is fleeting. I understand the importance of living for the eternal even when in the natural I am not rewarded.”
And that mindset is a mindset that I have carried. To do what is eternal over what is natural. But as I am growing and evolving, the Father is expanding my mindset. He is showing me the “both, and”. That there is a dual dynamic with His ways.
I will be teaching a workshop soon on bookkeeping. I started my business this time last year and though it hasn’t grown as fast as I had wanted, there is growth. In the class I will be debunking accounting myths. I realize many small business owners confuse bookkeeping and accounting and I want to shed light on this topic to help them become more successful. I realize that is what God is doing with me.
He is debunking my myths.
I believe there are lies we all believe and depending on your journey, your family history, your DNA, your “wiring” so to speak, you may have more false beliefs than others. Or may have those false beliefs in certain areas of life. For me, I have struggled with trusting God and others. And I have had limitations on that trust.
I did not realize that the reason I did not have peace when my friend asked me that day was because I did not believe wholeheartedly that He was for me. I did not believe that ‘He would withhold no good thing from me.’ I believed that I was missing out on something good. In some far off way I did believe He had something better, but at this point in my journey, I would take the good. I thought that was a reasonable request after all I had experienced. Little did I know, it may have been good for someone. But it would not be good for me…
Now I see His ways are for us, even when they are hard. Even when they are long. Even when they are not the “ideal” of what we think our life should be, or what other people’s lives are. He knows us intimately and He knows what is best for each us. That realization has given me peace.
I now have peace.
I am so grateful He has given me peace and He has exposed the lie. I have not felt this trust in so long, it is a wonder to me that it is here so freely. We are all wired uniquely and He leads us on the path that will bring out our transformation of our true eternal selves to be manifest in the earth. He takes the good and the bad and somehow uses it all for His end purpose. It is truly amazing.
I pray the Father reveals to you your false beliefs, and keeps leading you along His path of righteousness.
After the storm…
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…