The book of James tells us, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).
I can testify that in my lifetime, my faith has been tested many times. Sometimes I have passed, and sometimes I had a lesson I needed to learn. On-time I was utterly destroyed, but yet I still stand. The lesson I learned from this test was that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).
It was never my fear that controlled anything good in my life.
It was the Joy of the Lord that was deeply embedded in my soul.
It is the Sound Mind that God has given me.
It is the His Power that I will draw from when I am in despair
It is the Love of the special people in my life that will see me through.
But most of all, it is my faith in God that no matter what is happening around me, in my life, or this world, HE will always be with me.
Even as the enemy tries to drag me back to the brinks of depression, I know that the light of the Lord is a bubble of protection around me, and I will NOT be afraid.
He keeps me protected
He keeps me in my right mind
He keeps me surrounded in love
Even with what I am facing, My God is still a Way Maker
He is still a Miracle Worker
He is still a Promise Keeper
He is still the Light in the darkness
That’s who my GOD is! (Way Maker)
My God is the Joy of my soul, and I will continue to trust Him in all things
My dear hearts, I pray that you also continue to trust GOD in every area of your life. No matter what the circumstances are, above all, trust HIM. Never Never, Never give up!!
The Lord has told me it is time for me to adjust my focus. I know I talk a lot about my journey with grief and depression, but I want to adjust my focus. While those issues are still at the forefront of my mind, for me to continue telling you how I survived, how I have overcome, and how I am not just alive but living, there is more.
In previous blog posts, I have talked about purging my life.
My home, my mental health, and now it is time for my physical health.
Yes, I have accomplished some hard things, but there is so much more! In our journey of mental health wellness, we cannot forget about our physical health. I knew that I could not do anything about my physical health until I handle the things that were going on in my head. Now that I am doing well in that area, it is time to move forward.
I received some numbers from my doctor that I did not like. It has taken me two years and a global pandemic to face that diagnosis. I was told that my blood sugar levels were elevated. I knew that I need to take action to bring those numbers back down so that I don’t develop diabetes. Whenever I went to the doctor, my numbers have always been perfect, so I was in shock. In all honesty, I shouldn’t be shocked. I did not have the best diet, and I did not stick to an exercise program long enough to make a difference, not to mention that I was grieving a significant loss and COVID-19 25. (I equate this to the Freshman 15).
I can do hard things!
I do not want to end up with diabetes, so I decided to take charge of my physical health, make significant changes, and fight against it. I knew that I needed to change my diet, but I also needed some physical exercise. I decided to invest in myself and made a mini gym in my home, including the little bike that goes nowhere, a Peloton Bike. It is nothing fancy, but I can get up every morning and work out for at least 30-45 minutes and again in the evening.
No, when I first received my bike, it sat for a while unused. I kept thinking about what I have gotten myself into! I completed my first ride, and my behind was sore. I was breathing breaths I have never breathed before. I had to call on the name of JESUS to finish that ride! Then I stopped for a few more weeks thinking, what in the world are you doing!!! LOL. I eventually got back in the sandal and found some wonderful support groups through Facebook, and I have completed 65 bike rides and a few boot camps!
I can do hard things!
Now I have started to attack my diet. I needed to make some significant changes because any fitness and nutrition expert will tell you that you cannot out-exercise a bad diet. So, it did not matter how many miles I rode, how high my cadence, or the level of my resistances; I was never going to be successful without changing what goes into my mouth. So, this where I am now in this next phase of my journey. I will keep you posted about my progress.
Just know that GOD is GOOD, and he has equipped us to do the hard things!
Have faith in God and then have Faith in yourself.
My graduate studies are winding down as I work on my thesis project. I have had some time to reflect on my last 5 years. I look at the woman that I am now versus the woman that I was then, and I realized that I not only like her, but I also love her. But at one time, I did not like her, and I even hated her. I went through all the what-ifs…
If I had done this or that…
If I was better prepared…
If… If… IF!
People tell me I have changed. I don’t think that I have changed; I believe that THEIR attitudes and perceptions of me have changed. I know some people don’t like who I have become. Their problem, not mine….
Okay, to be honest, I guess I have changed. I mean, how could I have not changed? I lost and have gone through so much over the past 5 years. That type of grief, depression, and loss will change anyone know. However, I have gained and learn so much more. I have become stronger, a little wiser, and more independent. I have gained confidence in who I am as a woman, my purpose, and I have learned to put my trust more in God and not people. God will never disappoint me. NEVER!
I have learned that I can do some hard things, and if I can do them, so can YOU!!
No one and I do mean NO ONE gets to tell you what you can and can’t do with your life.
At the age of 50, after going through a devastating loss, I still managed to finish my Bachelor’s Degree less than a year later, and if I can do it, so can YOU!
At the age of 51, I was granted membership into the illustrious sisterhood of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, a goal of mine for over 30 years. If I can do it, so can YOU!
I was not a very good student in high school, and I struggled to get a C. Now I am working on finishing my Master’s Degree while holding a 3.8 GPA, working a full-time job, serving in church, community, and sorority obligations.
IF I CAN… SO CAN YOU!
However, none of the accomplishments above or anything in my future would be possible with my Daddy GOD. He saw something in me that I could not see in myself!
When God told me that I still had a purpose, it was up to me to do the hard thing, step out on faith, and trust God to lead and guide me.
Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
I also believe that God will give you the desires of your heart when your desires line up with the purpose He created you to accomplish.
If you are unsure of your purpose or your next move, pray to the Lord for guidance and then watch and listen for an answer.
Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
Strength through Christ will enable you to do the hard things. Trust me. He has already equipped you to do hard things.
I challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone and take charge of your hopes and dreams.
IF you are afraid… do it anyway!!
My sister and brother, you can do this! Let’s live a life full of regrets.
Accomplish your Goals
Yes, it will not be easy, but anything worth having is worth the work and fighting for.
YOU CAN ACCOMPLISH HARD THINGS!
Now, let’s not get it twisted; my life is far from perfect, and God is continually working on me and my imperfections. But my imperfections make me the woman I am today, and I love her and am very proud of her.
Late night thoughts… Lately, when I can’t sleep (which has been most nights), I write. I write when I have a lot on my mind. I have been thinking about purpose. I always thought that my purpose was to be a good wife, mother, sister, niece, and friend. I think I did a pretty good job. LOL. I had a successful marriage and raised two beautiful, intelligent women of God. So, I know how to love, be faithful, understanding, share Christ, and listen to others. I am far from perfect, and I know I have made many mistakes during my 54 years on this earth, and I am sure I will make a few more.
My world has been shaken to its core more than once, but I survived!
I have let others steal my joy and gave them power over my life, yet I am still here!
I had to learn to tackle situations and problems on my own with fewer resources, but I am making it work!
I have learned the hard way that sometimes certain circumstances, situations, and people in our lives are not always what they seem.
Why am I here? What am I supposed to do, JESUS WHY ME!?
All this brings me back to my original thought… God, what is my purpose now?
Merriam-Webster describes purpose as something to be attained, resolution, determination, and something that one hopes to accomplish.
God tells me:
Jeremiah 29:11: I know the plans I have for you.
Proverbs 16:4:The Lord has made everything for its purpose
I Peter 2:9: tells us that we are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation
I Peter 4:10: As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.
Once I figured out that I had to survive and learn how to live my life in a new normal that I did not want, I had to rethink things. Almost 5 years later (WOW, 5 years!) I know that I am still on this earth, living and breathing for a purpose. The devil has a way of putting us into certain situations to break us and eventually destroy us and leave us to live an eternity without GOD. That would be my worst life scenario, to live an eternity without GOD!
However, after much prayer, an alter prayer of release on Sunday, and a conversation with someone who loves me for who I am, I know that God has equipped me for this phase of my life.
“In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will.” (Ephesians 1:11)
We are supposed to be forever students, constantly seeking knowledge and wisdom.
I can’t believe I was the young girl who never enjoyed school would say: I enjoy learning, I enjoy my classes, even the ones I complained about. LOL
I want to learn more, do better, and use everything I know to help others. Any gifts, talents, skills, lessons all belong to God. After my alter prayer and conversation, the verse of the day was enough confirmation for me.
“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16 )
I encourage you to seek God in prayer, His word, in wise counsel, talking with those who love you if you are questioning your own purpose. God has a plan for ALL of us and our job is to stay close to Him, press on, and walk in our purpose. Don’t let nothing or NO one hold you back.
I could not sleep tonight, so I am evaluating my life and my choices. You know the, Did I do this or that right? What if I could change something, even one thing? Would it make a difference?
We often ask each other, “What would you change if you could go back in the past?” Like most of us, I always have a laundry list of things I would change like, school and career choices, financial decisions, and places of residence.
At what cost would those changes come?
Would that change who my daughters are and who they are supposed to become?
Would that change mean changing the people who have planted seeds in my life?
Would that change the people who have touched my heart and I have touched theirs?
Would that change who God means for me to become?
Regardless of the hard, sad, painful, and tragic events of my life, I would not change one thing.
The Lord said in Isaiah not to remember the former things or things of the past. He also told me to listen carefully. I am about to do a new thing, and it will spring forth, and I will not be aware of it. He will even put a road in the wilderness. (Isaiah 43:18-19)
There is a joy that God will instill in you that will allow you to withstand any storm that life brings to you. God has taken the events of my life and weaved and molded them into who I am today. The pain, joy, laughter, and tears have led me to this moment and this season of my life. Healing from God is more than physical illness. God has healed my heart, my mind, and my soul. The hard times in my life have forever changed me. They have made me stronger, resilient, and knowing that all things are possible if I trust in GOD.
“GOD, pick up the pieces.
Put me back together again.
YOU ARE MY PRAISE!” (Jeremiah 17:14)
It is my prayer every day that if God takes everything that I have been through and uses it to help others, it will all be worth it.
It has been a while since I have written in the blog. Trust me, I have been writing, finishing up my master’s program, and this last class was challenging!
I had an enjoyably week off and now on to my next class. (YEAH) Three more and then I am done!
In the past year we have had over 500,000 deaths from Covid-19, and a lot of people, especially spouses, have joined the club that I never wanted to join. They are widows or widowers. This road will not be an easy one for them to travel, nor for any one grieving a loss. They will need the support of family and friends as much as possible with our current state. When my late husband passed, I was blessed that I was able to physically say goodbye and receive the visits, hugs, love, and support from my family and friends. Support from your family and friends should never stop.
Family and friends, I implore you to check on those who are grieving. Even if they say, “I’m okay or look okay, please make the phone call or send the text message, most importantly, PRAY for them.
Trust me. They need you.
I also have a message to those who are grieving. I KNOW this is hard, unfair, and unbearable. I know that you are sad, angry, hurt, and confuse. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your family, friends, or a mental health specialist.
PLEASE DON’T BE ASHAMED! Your life could depend on it.
Just the notion of people making fun of downplaying someone who says they were suicidal makes me angry.
LISTEN TO ME:
I don’t care who they are or how much money a person has, depression does not have favorites, and it will descend upon ANYONE! It does not matter if you are famous or wealthy.
This horrible attitude towards mental health is why people don’t come forth, which is why suicide rates are so high! The insensitivity is appalling!
THIS MUST STOP!!
I almost took my own life pretending I was fine, that everything was fine. I was laughing when I wanted to cry—keeping silent when I wanted to scream. Just so those around me would not be uncomfortable. This way of thinking almost ended my life and would have destroyed my daughters.
When I tell you about the realness of GOD…
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18
Yes, I sought therapy, and I still see my therapist, and I am not ashamed to admit it. I was angry at GOD for weeks and months, and I was not allowing Him to speak to me. He never left me because, when I was in my darkest pit, I said that tonight was it, I am done, GOD said NO! HE pulled me out and sent me to the right person to help me clear my head. I was lucky, NO, I was blessed that I had previously established a foundation that allowed God in my headspace, even if it was for a moment to make me stop.
If you don’t have that relationship with GOD and you would like to establish your relationship with God, contact me and allow me to introduce you to my Daddy.
Even if you are doing have the relationship that I have with God, I need you to know that help is still available, and you can seek the help you need. Allow those who care to help you.
Please don’t think that if you end your life, everything would be alright. You have family and friends that you are leaving behind who will be devastated by your actions.
You have a life that must be lived.
You have a life that will bless people that only YOU can bless.
You have a life that is of value.
YOU are needed and wanted!
Talk to your pastor
Talk to a friend
IF you are anyone you know are having thoughts of suicide, please call the suicide hotline. Listed below is the number for the Veterans Crisis Line.
Remember you are not on this journey alone. Someone will always walk with you.
Jesus is the reason for the season. Yes, many of us know, feel, and honestly believe this. But it does not mean that people may not be feeling the Christmas spirit this year.
So, wait and read what I have to say.
My girls and I always have a house full of people during the holidays. After my late husband’s death, it has been incredibly comforting to have those closest to us helping us celebrate the holidays. We ate, played games, and sang our hearts out. I know for me, it took my mind of the grieving process and placed my focus on the season, family, and friends. This year was different. This year it was my duty to keep my family safe, so the decision was made not to have our usual celebration. Instead, we were responsible and opted for a quiet day at home.
I know many of us went into the Christmas season with a sense of dread. Many of us are without employment, or you are still working from home if you are lucky. We are socially distancing with no real gatherings of family and friends. Many of us canceled trips to family and friends, vacations, and other social traditions of the season to stay healthy.
So, I also felt a little depressed this year and had a sad moment. There are so many people in distress and grieving this Christmas. In a way, I know how these families are feeling. My family knows their pain. However, now people must deal with their grief and or depression alone, but they are also battling, avoiding, and standing against a horrible virus. Many are spending their first holiday alone without a loved one or two, and many may not have families surrounding them. It is okay to feel whatever you are feeling.
There is no cookie-cutter method for dealing with grief, depression, and sadness during this time. I have had people tell me how I should be feeling and when I should be feeling it. Really?? No one and I repeat NO ONE, can tell you how to express your feeling, when to express your thoughts, or why or where you should be at this current time in your life. Only you and God can know that, and HE is walking this road with us. If you have people who are doing this in your life, it may be time to delete those type of people from your life who “support” you.
Family and friends that support you will understand that what you are going through will not go away overnight, nor will you “get over” it.
IF YOU ARE SAYING THIS TO PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE, PLEASE STOP!!
The Bible tells us, “To everything, there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Whenever you and God decide that you are ready to move forward, that’s when you move and not a moment sooner. I have learned that when must allow God into every aspect of our lives. Our grief and depression process, our therapy, our recovery, and our overall life every day. I know that only GOD saw me through the last 4 years, 2020, and HE will continue to see us all through every day.
When I think of Christmas, and through Easter, I am grateful for the wonderful sacrifice God has made for us all. From the birth, crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Even in the midst of this storm, I can still find the blessings of the miracle of Jesus and HIS unfailing love for us all. My prayer for you is that you will find your Blessings in the Middle of the Storm.
I know that many of us are trying to hold on to what sanity and joy they have left. I have talked to many people that they are trying to find joy in this season. We are restricted due to an out-of-control pandemic, we have had months of civil unrest, political difference continues, and now we are left to “celebrate” the holidays. Due to the pandemic, many of us will skip traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions for a smaller scale and fewer people celebrations. This morning I found myself feeling down, and you know, the conniving devil he was trying to pull me down that familiar dark road that leads to that pit. As I sit typing this with tears in my eyes, I want to tell you this: I AM NOT HAVING IT!!!
Shake it OFF!
Don’t fall for it!
DON’T LOSE HOPE!
THERE IS STILL JOY!
You may need to reach deep inside and borrow from your reserve joy. We all have it! Trust me. I have borrowed from my reserve joy many times over the years. Reserve joy is the joy that Jesus has rooted deep in your soul.
It’s the moments that you smile in the midst of tears, or you laugh stead of screaming.
For me, it is knowing that no matter how I hurt, feel, or think at that time, GOD is always with me, surrounding me, and if no one else loved me, I knew that GOD loved me!
It’s knowing that I am never alone because HE is with me.
It is knowing that whatever I am going through in my life, there is Joy!
There is always a blessing in the storm.
No matter how bleak it may seem
No matter how hard it gets
No matter who says what… HE IS THERE, the GREAT I AM!
Do what will make you happy!
IF it brings you joy, put up your Christmas decorations early… but put them up!
Cook your favorite foods on the holidays and have a Zoom or FaceTime dinner and games with family and friends. I know that we are Zoomed out, but it is only for a SEASON.
This too shall pass.
I want you to dig into your reserve joy; it’s there! Dig deep! I want you to bring back the sparkle in your eyes and your soul. I want you to encourage your family members and friends to do the same.
We will get through this, and we will survive and thrive! Call or contact me. I have some reserve Joy that I am willing to share!
I don’t have it all together. Trust me, I have my days and moments, but I refuse to give in to anything the enemy is trying to execute! Even my own thoughts!
I lived in a dark hole. In a pit with my 3 D’s, desperation, depression, and despair.
A voice stifled…
I often think of all the little girls and boys who had their voices stifled at a young age.
Our innocents are stolen and taken away.
Our souls are broken and shattered.
Our spirits are tainted and corrupted.
Our lives are marked for destruction.
Our relationships are compromised before they start.
Our happiness is fake.
Our joy is nonexistent.
We had to learn how to survive.
We had to learn how to live.
Our lives were literally put on hold.
But there is hope… and that hope is JESUS.
Viola Davis said, “The two most important days in your life is the day you were born and the day you discovered why you were born” To those of us that have been abused, bullied, talked about, and or mistreated, finding a reason to live or to go on is difficult.
When construction on a house starts most times, a hole is dug to pour the concrete for the foundation. This step is crucial because if you have a week foundation, your house or building could fall or crumble.
“He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation of the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built” (Luke6:48).
When I was young, my Uncle Homer and Auntie Perk took me to church and introduced me to GOD. I did not know that their actions would not only change my life; it would one day save the life of my family. Their efforts purchased the plot for my foundation.
I went to church, Sunday school, Bible study, choir rehearsal, Junior Usher Board practice, and I still did not completely understand what or who God was in my life. Baptized at the age of 12, I believe this is where my foundation was poured; God filled my dark pit. Now, change was not sudden and definitely did not happen overnight. As a matter of fact, it took years of mistakes and bad decisions. However, as I started to build my house no matter what happened, my foundation stood firm and withstood the test of time.
I have had many trials and hardships in my life that continued to test this foundation. Over the years, I have strengthened my relationship with the Lord, thus fortifying my foundation. Many of my houses have fallen and crumbled, but because of my firm foundation, I was able to build, rebuild, and rebuild. This last trial almost took my life and shook my foundation to the core. As I wanted to die and crawl under my foundation, as I thought my foundation would be blown away, as I thought my foundation would crumble, it stood firm.
“But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come, and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash” (Matthew 7:26-27)
It stood strong because it was fortified by the Blood of JESUS CHRIST.
I have screamed…
I have gotten angry…
I have cried…
I wanted to give up…
But my GOD remained steadfast and loyal to me, and for some reason, HE would not let me go!
As my oldest daughter and I quietly celebrated my late husband’s life without many tears and anguish, I realized that I have grown. I have accepted the will of GOD, and I have learned to live and move forward. Yes, my therapy played a tremendous role in my progression, but without the grace of GOD, I would still be in my pit of the 3D’s that the devil planned for me. Because of JESUS, I went from living in a pit of desperation, depression, and despair to standing on the firm foundation that the LORD has planned for me. I will continue to set my mind on the things above.
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not things on earth” (Colossians 3:1-2)
I am far from perfect, and I know I will have many more trials ahead. However, I take hope in knowing that my strength lies solely with the LORD and his plans for me and my life.
My Wednesday night Facebook prayer group prayed about the healing and restoration power of Jesus.
There was a time in my life that I did not know where I was going. I did not know if I would make it through the next second, let alone the next day.
I did not know how my daughters or I would survive.
I did not know to sleep without crying myself to sleep.
I did not know what to do when people who loved me turned their backs on me.
I did not know what happened to my future, my promises, my hopes, my dreams.
I did not know how to get up out of the pit the devil created for me.
All I did know was fear, doubt, anger, disbelief, sadness, pain, and sorrow.
I may have forgotten where comes my help.
I may have for a moment forgotten who I belong to…
But I know a Healer! I know my Provider! I know my Deliver! I know my Waymaker! I know my Provider! I know my Ultimate Friend! I know my Miracle Maker I know my Comforter! I know my Promise Keeper I know WHO holds my future! I know the GREAT I AM! I know JESUS!!
Thank you, JESUS, because… I know that HE healed my broken spirit and my soul!
Thank you, JESUS, because… I know that HE healed my broken heart!
Thank you, JESUS, because… I know HE made a way when I could not see it!
Thank you, JESUS, because… I know that HE yanked me out of my pit!
Thank you, JESUS, because… I know that HE can do the same for you!
I know that you NEED to trust HIM! I know that you allow HIM to love on you!
I know that GOD has a purpose and a plan for your life!
I know that you need to let HIM into your life!
I know that HE will bless your life! I know that JESUS loves you with agape love!
I know that there is NOTHING that you can do to keep HIM from love you!
I need you to know that GOD is waiting to welcome you with open arms!
I need you to know that HE is ready to forgive you!
I know that if I did not have that foundation built on the blood of JESUS, I would have never survived the darkest moment of my life. All you need to do is call out to HIM and ask HIM into your life. Allow JESUS to heal and bless you. I promise you… you will NEVER be the same.
If you would like to join us on Wednesday nights, please let me know!