The Journey of 2023
This year is the year of my 40th birthday. For more than a few reasons, I am very excited about what 2023 has in store for me. Although the last four years of my life have been THEE most fruitful and productive times of my life, they have also been the hardest seasons I have ever navigated.
Since 2019, I have been on a journey of deeper healing. Four years ago, I started unearthing my voice and started discovering what God intended for me to do with my words, my influence, and my storytelling. Some of you may remember that this blog got a facelift around that time and I started offering more creative writings and short stories along with my blogs on life and faith.
2019 was also the year of the panic attack that sent me running for therapy for the first time in my life. The next thirteen months of my life were filled with moments of sheer terror (anxiety really tried to end my life) as well as moments of triumphant victories. I fought my battles in therapy, prayer, community, and deliverance and I won. Conquering paralyzing anxiety attacks gave me the confidence I needed to step out into even deeper waters. I embraced my calling as a woman who leads other women into new life, healing, and wholeness, and began taking up more space online and in person.
As I learned my voice, I stepped into a deeper understanding of my identity. I started moving through the world just like the women I had always admired from afar – polished but natural, joyful, confident, fashionable, and outgoing. Because it turns out that we are equals. My old mindset had me convinced that beautiful, confident, godly women were somehow better than me. But in my healing, I realized that we had the same resources; I was simply neglecting mine. So, I began to show up in the world as my best self. I dared to do the things I had always put off as “someday” goals.
It has been a beautiful time of growth.
This does not mean there were no setbacks.
Our first home suffered a traumatizing attack of gun violence.
We moved three times within eighteen months before finally closing on our dream home.
I was navigating a career crisis (someone stole my identity and hijacked my law license) while also having the most fruitful time of my life.
It is dawning on me that the enemy intended for those years to be years of bondage for me but the Lord determined that I would experience increase and breakthrough even as I was in the fight of my life.
It reminds me of Jeremiah 29:4-14 where the Lord told the children of Israel to settle down in Babylon where they were being held captive because He would increase them in that land until He brings them back to their native home. Even though it felt like anxiety had me paralyzed in that season, I was not crippled to the point of ineffectiveness. The Lord kept sending me lifelines – people to remind me that my battle with fear and anxiety was temporary and would soon dissipate.
For me, my 40th year of life represents a new chapter in a book that feels brand new as well. I am entering my fourth decade more healed, more clear, and more excited about life than ever. I can clearly remember being 33 or 34 and absolutely petrified that I would leave my thirties with no accomplishments, no goals achieved, and nothing to show for all the long held dreams in my heart.
By God’s grace, that is not my story.
My thirties have been the best decade of my life. I have served God faithfully in this decade. I married the love of my life and birth our children in this decade. I lost friends but gained lifelong sisters in this decade. I encountered healing, deliverance, and astronomical personal growth in this decade. My standing is sure and steady for the long haul because my thirties have prepared me well. Nothing has been wasted in my thirties.
My twenties were a mixed bag, with the majority of those years spent in bondage to sin. I did not escape the clutches of hell until I turned 26.
Now, less than seven months from my next milestone and over thirteen years since I gave God a full yes, I can honestly declare that my best years are ahead of me.
In 2023, by God’s grace, I will finish my next book. I will mentor and disciple women. I will give birth to business ideas, and I will make an impact for God’s kingdom here on earth.
I will disciple my children and continue to love my husband unabashedly.
My identity has been unleashed over the last four years. I plan to take new ground as I discover more fully who God had in mind when He created me.
In 2023, I pray to be more of who I am.
I pray the same for you.
Am I ready?
Being faithful to the things God has been doing in my life required me to take my attention off the things I use to long after (love and marriage) and just pursue the things of God. There seems to be a new season in my life now where I’m being required to learn to pursue God in the midst of a relationship that pleases Him. The only question I have is directed to myself. Am I ready? Am I consistent enough to keep a dynamic prayer life and bible study and still invest time in a relationship? Am I strong enough to continue to be who I know God has called me to be in the midst of my first attempt at a relationship that glorifies God? Am I able to withstand the stress and hardship that comes with putting someone else’s needs before my own?
I have no answers to any of those questions. I’m just trying to remain as prayerful as possible, paying attention to the signs of my maturity (or lack thereof) in Christ to handle a situation like this one. My prayer is that if for any reason, I am not ready, God will grant me the grace as He did two years ago, to recognize that His will is not being done and to step away. For now, I’m praying, seeking godly counsel and paying attention to the move of the Holy Spirit and to the kinds of fruit this situation is bearing in me. Keep me in your prayers. The last thing I want to do is serve my emotions rather than serving God.
Journey through blog (2005 to 2011)
Hey people! Just wanted to give you a quick recap of your blogging journey in case you guys are gonna be reading them all. I started blogging in 2005 after a really bad break up from a dysfunctional relationship. Most of my blog entries were reflections of my dealings with men over the years. Finally stopped being a #HYPOCRITE in 2009 when God called me out of my last relationship and got my attention focused on my walk with Him. All my blogs pre September 2009 are anywhere from reflective, to angry, to lustful to down right sinful. I’m not keeping these blogs to glorify the sin I was in, simply to let you guys get a first hand view of my growth and journey in Christ over the past 6 years. Thanks for taking the journey with me. Love you all.
Whew!! This is kind of neat! I’m gonna attempt to import the last 6-7 years of my blogging life into this little space right here so if you have any tips on how exactly I can import my blog to wordpress -> SHOOT! Thanks in advance. Lots of good stuff coming!
If Anyone Be In Christ, He Is A New Creature
2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” This verse is an encouragement to anyone who walked into God’s love after years of running from it (by running to sin, flesh, worldly passions and the devil). This verse is an encouragement to me because I remember vividly the depths of my depravity. The depth of my hypocrisy still buggles my mind think back on it. Seriously?! They had me leading youth ministry, ministering with the choir and doing so much “church” but I was consumed with a lifestyle of drunkenness and lust in my personal life. Do we even need to mention the anger? The way I could hold on to a grudge for years and think nothing of it? The rebellion and disobedience? The ease with which I spat my parents wants and wishes back in their faces while I pursued a good time? The lies? What a professional I became at covering my tracks to keep my sinful life a secret? I was the worst of the worst. The worst part is that I really felt like I had a relationship with God. I was convinced that it was impossible to live a holy life so therefore, I wasn’t doing anything wrong. This duplicity in life made me do things that I had previously looked down on. It was like, someone was showing me how desperately I needed redemption. I always speak about my past in general terms, never offering specific instances of conduct because a part of me isn’t sure if these stories are for everyone or if God intended me to share them with specific people during specific times. There’s a human part of me that’s genuinely concerned about being judged if people know the in’s and out’s of my once sinful life. I remind myself that I’m not who I was. But I already know, there are people who will NOT see it that way. Since they never got to judge me while I was in my sinful lifestyle, I’m sure they would relish the opportunity to rake me over the coals now that I’m actually trying to operate in God’s purpose for my life. I need to talk to God some more about this. Are there parts of my testimony that He needs me to share but I’m keeping back because of fear? To any of my brothers and sisters in Christ that are reading, keep me in prayer. That God will give me wisdom concerning what to do with my story and if it is His will for me to share it with the viewing world, that He’ll give me the boldness to be obedient. That’s all for now…
For the past year and 4 months, I completely turned OFF any music that isn’t gospel or contemporary Christian. I did it at first because I realized how much of an impact the God-defying music had on my impact to glorify God fully with my life and I just made a decision that I didn’t want to be entertained by anything that broke God’s heart. After some time though, there are some powerful men of God who are making me think twice about giving up on ALL music that is not gospel or Christian. The argument is that not all “gospel” music promotes Christ or gives glory to God and not all “non-gospel” music glorify sin or are anti-God. That as children of God, we are to discern. And the argument makes sense to me but there is still a part of me that feels like listening to non-Christian music is a compromise on my part. I mean, truly, the reason I gave up secular music was because I was 100% focused on my relationship with God and did not want anything to take away from it. Entertaining “good” secular music seems like a step backwards. My struggle is that I want to be pleasing to God in all that I do but I do not want to be a one-dimensional human being. I want to make sure that all my interests are being explored in a way that glorifies God. So, here’s the question. Do I now start listening to secular music in order to dig through the craziness and find music outside of the gospel music industry that pleases God? Music that is not technically termed Christian or gospel but whose content does not compromise my faith but actually promotes all the goodness and godliness that God admonishes me to think on? It sounds so dangerous! Seriously, how much GARBAGE is my mind going to encounter on my search for God-pleasing, secular music? Lol, maybe I’m overly cautious or maybe i don’t trust myself to discern without imbibing the junk that some of today’s music promotes. Hmm. I’ll get back to you.
It’s been almost 6 months since my last entry and life has been moving at the speed of light. This year went by crazy fast. I started the year with a heart consumed with FIRE to serve God and to walk according to His purpose for me. My heart’s desire is much the same but everyday I have to make a conscious effort to tap into the zeal for God in my heart because otherwise the fire will easily cool and I could possibly regress to the lukewarm Christian or hypocrite I was before September 2009. Thankfully this year, I’ve had minimal contact with heartbreak. Even the one time best friends that have now gone the way of so many frenemies can no longer cause me grieve. I waffle back and forth between letting these ones go completely, with no looking back at them in any way shape or form and trying to obey God’s command to pray for ones who despitefully use me. Sometimes I don’t know what to pray. I wish them well and I want God to prosper them. But a part of me feels as if I have no right to pray that prayer for them if their lives are not in line with the will of God. But then I reflect on God’s mercies. His sovereignty that allows for Him to show mercy on whomever He pleases, regardless of how ‘unworthy’ they might seem to my human eyes. This year has brought no great love from any man. But I am more than convinced that God will not allow me the privilege of a relationship until I have fallen so far in love with Him that no other relationship can take me away. I know vividly how much I struggled with pleasing God in my past relationships. The fact of the matter is that the guy was always more important than my God. And I do not want to be that girl anymore. I want to be a woman hidden in Christ. Someone that God can trust with His word for the next generation. I’ve struggled also in the area of mentoring and discipleship for the young ladies I have brought under my wings. My heart feels so…timid and fragile and after witnessing the extent of their immaturity at different times, I don’t completely trust them not to break me. I’m asking God to equip me to do His work vibrantly, not shying away because I am endeavoring to do God’s work by my own ability. This year has not been short on challenges but the grace, mercy and wonderful provision of God has never ceased to amaze me.
That’s all for now. More musings to come.
Learning to Serve In Order to Lead
When I first heard God speaking to me about exactly what He wanted me to do with the story of my life, I thought “YES, now all I have to do is teach others what I’ve learned and they’ll avoid the pitfalls and everything will be wonderful” Yup, I seriously thought that because I was fulfilling an assignment from God, everything was going to be just joy and laughter every step of the way. And at first, it really was. I was so excited to be in the center of God’s will. I was just teaching everything He would reveal to me. My only thought was that those I was ministering to would take the Word and apply it and run with it because it was the right thing to do. It NEVER once occurred to me that I could teach them the very truth of God and they would not accept or want it. The reality smacked me in the face about a month and a half ago and it literally broke my heart. I felt like the worst teacher ever. How can I be teaching the truth of the Bible and it have no impact on the lives in my class? I felt like a complete failure. God has been working on me since then because I’ve found myself having a nonchalant attitude about my class since then. I kept thinking “why should I continue to kill myself to bring them quality Bible studies if it’s just going into one ear and out the other?”
I realize now that it was my pride that was talking. My feelings were hurt that people weren’t learning as much from ME as I once thought. I definitely have to crucify that flesh and work in the understanding that just because I don’t see immediate results of what God has called me to do, I am not justified in abandoning my work. I have to find my zeal and my passion once again. I have to humble myself and be a servant to the ministry that God is building within me. Being a leader isn’t about being the boss, it’s about doing what is best for everyone and I can’t possibly know what that is if I don’t leave myself available for God to use me as He sees fit. Even if it means enduring some disrespectful behavior or ungratefulness or bad attitudes, I’ve got to do what God has called me to do. No questions asked.
Called Out….It’s Lonely At the Center
2 Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. The verse fits so perfectly with my state of mind right now. Over the past few weeks and maybe even months, the distance has grown between me and pretty much everyone I once held dear to my heart. The last few weeks, I’ve found myself trying to get the closeness back. Trying to touch bases with everyone and maintain those relationships. But the intimacy was gone. I was a little disappointed and I didn’t quite understand why I was feeling so alone. Over the last 9 months, it seems like the closer I draw to God, the further away I draw from everyone else. Especially when the person seems to be traveling in a different direction than the one God is calling me to. I didn’t understand the loneliness but this verse is ministering to me. For years, I’ve been a part of the crowd, but the crowd was not building my faith in God, the crowd was not edifying to my spirit and the crowd did not challenge me to reach a new level in my walk with Christ. So, when I felt that call last year, I developed tunnel vision. I became engulfed and engrossed in the Cross and what Christ did on it. I was so focused on pouring out my life as an offering that I didn’t notice anyone or anything else. As I continued in my walk of faith, the fire went from an all-consuming fire to glowing ambers and I was once again able to pay attention to the things and the people around me. What I found was disappointing. In the time that I’ve been basking in the glow of God’s glory and presence, all the people I love have been chillin. They were still exactly where they were a year ago, some even further back. I had grown and they had stayed the same. The distance between us felt like lightyears. Trying to get that closeness back requires me to compromise to their level since they were not willing to come to mine. Trying to challenge them to answer the call to holiness bred resentment. It seemed the easiest way to go from being cherished to being completely despised is to tell the ones I love that God has a purpose for them that is MUCH bigger than the life they were currently living. Trust me, I tried a few times. Each time was worse than the last. At this point, I’m keeping my distance and praying for everyone. I can’t let anyone else’s unwillingness to change steal the joy and peace that God has so richly blessed me with. I wish I could do more. I wish there was a way to SHOW them exactly how much God loves them and how His heart breaks when they chose to satisfy the flesh instead of living according to His word. It’s been so hard for me too over the past month. I’ve been ebbing and flowing – going back and forth – in my relationship with God. I’ve been neglecting my quiet time and bible study at home when these were the very things God has used and is using to speak to me and minister me. But, every day I make the decision to live solely for Christ and to do whatever is possible to bring Him glory. And it seems that with each day that I make that decision, I get further and further away from the people I love. God called me out from among them, and now they absolutely do NOT get me.