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!
This week will be one month since the lay off. It has flown by. My how I have grown! 8 years ago when I faced unemployment I was ready to cash out my savings from fear that God would not provide and everyday that eeked by felt like eternity. I was so stressed I lost my hair and felt like God had abandoned me. Now my hair has been its own source of joy. When I first graduated college I was so worried about my lack of experience. I did not have the internships lined up like my peers or the savvy business connects. I felt like a fish out of water. All I had was a very expensive college degree and a call from God. Turns out that was all I needed. Actually, I didn’t even need the degree-He was enough. So now 10 years later I marvel at His hand. I marvel at His provision and how He is transforming me and writing a story I never knew I wanted written. He is now even using me to write other people’s stories. I tried so hard to box myself in. I felt boxed in that cube for 3 years and thought it would be the death of me. But I learned joy. I chose to make the best of that cube and that was what He was waiting for. So often we think we are waiting on Him. I bet you He’s waiting on you even more!
I met with my career coach and let her fine tune my resume, my cover letter and my Linked In profile. My business cards for both my professional endeavors as well as my book are on their way. It all looks so amazing and yet it doesn’t even cover all of the other professional experiences I am getting with writing in this season. Whatever God has for me is going to be phenomenal.
10 years ago I couldn’t see my future. I couldn’t see where I was going. I had a totally different view of how my life would look and who would be in it. I thought I knew myself. I had no clue I would keep changing. That much of what made me “me” back then was actually not me at all. It was brokenness, wounds, pain, and lies believed since childhood. There is still brokenness, and there is still pain, and lies, but He has made it His mission to keep making me better.
The pruning is worth it. It’s hard, but so worth it.
I finally see now that the path God creates for each of us is to bring out our best. He does not allow us to stay immature and selfish and needy. He keeps us walking by faith so that we are being developed into His image. This image for me has been long luscious locks of natural hair, a 25lb weight loss, clean eating life style, improved fashion style and a radiant dark chocolate skin tone. And that doesn’t even cover my improved character!
I thought I needed a man to make me worthy. I thought I needed a relationship to have value and be beautiful. Actually it was a relationship I needed to make me amazing. But it was a relationship with Christ.
If you are on Periscope please check out my guest spot on TriF.Y.R.E’s “Transparent Tuesdays”! I will be weighing in on the topic of “Christian Singles Being Sexy”.
I was asked recently if I would prefer to be a full time writer. I toiled over that question for about 24 hours and came to the conclusion that “No, I would not want to be a full time writer”. No diss to all the writers out there, it’s just that I realize I am wired a certain way and that way causes me to NEED to use my left brain professionally. If I spent 8-10 hours a day using only my right brain and my right brain skills then I would be ACHING to crunch some numbers and think logically and analytically. That’s when I had an epiphany. Could it be that the Lord has given me this season so that I could have the best of both worlds? As PAINFUL as it has been for me to wait for movement in my career, I think the pain has come because of my own limited understanding of how I am even wired. Disappointment always comes from expectations not being met. Did I have unrealistic expectations because I have only a glimpse of who I even am? Could it be that I was putting myself in a box when really I am multifaceted and there is no label for me? I was told I am not only a writer but an entrepreneur, a young professional and a respectable and capable young woman. Wow. Those are descriptors I would not have used to describe myself and do you know why? Because for me, it is never enough. If I go for a run and I make my goal of 2 miles, at the end of those 2 miles it’s no big deal b/c I did not run very fast. If I get an advanced degree, it is no big deal b/c all of my friends have advanced degrees and some of them have more degrees than I do. If I write and publish a book it is no big deal b/c there are so many around me who do the same thing and have bigger platforms. I compare myself and I fall short. Even when I compare myself with myself, I fall short.
I was listening to a testimony of a married couple who almost threw in the towel. They were trying to keep up with the Jones’. They had multiple businesses, multiple children, a big house, several cars, and the list goes on and on. They were running the rat race of the American Dream until they burnt themselves out and divorce entered the conversation. I could not deny, that would have been me.
God has been merciful to me to slow me down and even as I type that sentence I know that some (my mom for 1) would look at my life and think it is anything but slow. But He did. He slowed it down. And in that slowness He cultivated some things needed in me and is still cultivating. I didn’t realize that it was unique to my personality to become involved in other outlets when I did not receive fulfilment in my career. I did not realize that other personality types would not have done such a thing. While waiting on the Lord it can feel like He is against us. At least, it has felt that way to me. But now I wonder if really what I thought was Him withholding was really Him blessing. Right now I have the best of both worlds. I have time to indulge in creativity and utilize a gift I never would have had I climbed the corporate ladder (think Accountant meets Writer). At the same time I get the perks that stable jobs offer. Having that perspective aligns more with a view that we do not serve a God who is against us. But instead, a loving Father who is always standing in our corner. Cheering us on. And creating a path that will bring out our very best.
This weekend I spent time catching up with a good friend. She is a wife, mother of 4, works and is studying to be a nurse. Talk about a full plate! Our lives could not be more different and I think part of the gift of our friendship is the pleasure we take in that difference. She is definitely someone I consider a “cheerleader” in my life and I’m always reminded of the Lord’s blessings when talking with her. I caught her up on my trip to Haiti and she oo’d and ahh’d over my pics just as I had hoped. We ate at one of our favorite spots and because it was the first day of fall I indulged in pumpkin pancakes, completely ruining my 2 mile run that morning.
We played a game of back and forth, filling each other in on our lives, trying oh so hard to stretch the 2 hours we had together. This was her only free Saturday for the next few months and she needed to get back to her hubby. I was so blessed she shared her time with little old me and of course had to capture the moment with a pic.
After a quick stop at the store to pick up a few items we lingered at my car soaking up our last bits of conversation. I shared about my journey in emotional healing and how much my writing has played into that. To which she replied that my journey in healing was inspiring her in her own. I was shocked. I never think about how my actions and me just living my life is influencing those around me. I only feel my own weaknesses and the difficulty to push forward. She only sees the progress. That, again, is why I like talking to her. So often I feel I am behind or struggling and then God uses others to help me see the success and the fruit. She called me a “writer” and chastised me for downplaying my writing. I explained I don’t think of myself as a “writer” b/c it wasn’t a calling or title I was chasing after. I pursued business and therefore that was the way I assumed God would use me. Writing was birthed out of the standstill in my career. It was fruit from the waiting. But I kept her words in mind and then when another person called me a “writer” shortly thereafter I had to turn that word over in my mind a few times. Am I a writer? Doesn’t it sound silly for a published author to ask such a question? But I must ask it because there is somewhere in my heart that I have not thought of myself that way. And if I have not then that means I am not fully seeing myself as I truly am.
She and I parted ways and I went back to my fabulously full existence in this season and she went back to the grind of family, work, and school. My day was full of conversations like these with friends and family and it was so evident to me how God was bringing forth wholeness. After experiencing so many broken, unhealthy relationships ending in trauma it gets hard to believe I could have anything different. So often I feel the losses. But in the midst of those losses is the gain. The restoration. The overflow.
I have had such peace and joy since realizing I need His grace. I have been able to let go of the burden of unknowingly trying to earn my calling. I’m awakening to the truth that any gift He gives is undeserved and that is in fact the purpose of a gift. So how could I possibly work for His blessings? I can’t. He just gives them b/c of who He is.