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.
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.
In all of our ups and downs, trials and tribulations, good and bad, God never failed us. He is a faithful GOD!! God can do everything but fail! He is all Knowing! He is all Consuming! He is all Powerful! He is Amazing! He is the Alpha and Omega! HE is my Beginning and my End! We all make mistakes, and God will forgive every last one of us, but we have to put in the work, put forth the effort we have to put our total faith, trust, and hope in GOD.
He is the only one that will never fail us!
Psalm 23 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. In JESUS NAME AMEN!!
Expectations is a belief that someone will or should achieve something
I did not get a chance to snap a picture of my soon to be 2021 graduate, Morgan when she left to head back for her senior year. If you know Morgan, I should not expect that she will send me a picture! Lol
Her Senior year in Highschool was not what we expected, but we made the best of it.
I can’t help but think back to this picture when Michael, ShaRonda, and I dropped her off for her freshman year in August 2016. We were excited for her and hopeful for her future and our future as a family. We tried our best to make that day just as exciting and memorable as we could.
That year quickly changed into something that we could not fathom. We had such high expectations for this year…
But God does have a powerful way of taking you reluctantly through your trials, whether you want to go or not.
Is the life that I am living what I expected? Nope…
Did the expectations of our lives crush our goals, hopes, and dreams? Yep, for a moment…
Do I still live my life in excitedly in expectation? By the grace of GOD, yes, I do!
You see, I TOLD pits of HELL, NO, 4 years ago it couldn’t have my daughters or me!!
God took the hopeless despair and disbelief in my life and turned it into high expectation!
I was reminded to today when I woke up in funk…. Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. (James 1:2-3)
I was also reminded of a few of the many promise that GOD has for me when I was hopeless!
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off. (Proverbs 23:18)
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. (Psalm 62:5)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6)
Call to me and I will answer you and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. (Jeremiah 33:3)
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.(Ephesians 3:20)
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)
I am very proud of Morgan’s perseverance through the years. God has blessed her, and she is a survivor!
As I look back on the last four years, what could have killed us, GOD thrived us!
What could have destroyed us, GOD, restored us!
What should have left us in despair, GOD left us expecting HIS GREAT! THANK YOU, JESUS,!!
I am here to tell you that GOD has a plan. It may not be the plan we laid out for ourselves, but just know all you need to do is to continue to trust in HIM. IF you don’t know The GOD I am talking about, I highly suggest that you get to know HIM today. We are living in uncertain times…but we DO NOT have an uncertain GOD!
God is always right on time!
My prayers are with all of us parents sending children back to school, virtually, or to a brick and mortar building. I pray for our children, their teachers, staff, school administrators and city, state, national officials for the tough decisions that have been made and those that have yet to be made. I pray that the love, grace, and mercy of GOD covers us all. I love you, LORD, in JESUS name, AMEN!
Let me let you in on a little something… always be aware of who is in your prayer circle and who are praying for you. My people know not only my heart, they know my spirit, and they are quick to set me straight and guide me. That’s what real spiritual mentors do, and I have the best!
I have thought a lot about what has been consuming my mind. I have realized that over the last couple of months, I have let some things totally consume my mind. Sometimes you cannot see things through your own eyes because the enemy is blocking your view. He is very conniving and seeks to destroy anyone that God loves, and I don’t want to give him any of my joy. PERIOD! I have a prayer circle and spiritual mentors that have been in my life for years. They have seen, prayed, and helped me and my family thought some of the darkest moments of my life!
I think that once you go through a massive loss followed by deep depression, your emotions are triggered easily. When I see injustice, my first instinct is to fight for who is being wronged or what is wrong. Which I have always done, and Yes, that is the right thing to do. However, it is not if I fight; it is HOW I fight. If we are fighting in such a manner that will pull us away from CHRIST, then is it a fight worth fighting? Is the fight worth that sacrifice? The Bible tells us, “What would it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul.” (Mark 8:36)
Can we make change happen, of course, we can! As I said, it is not when or if it is HOW. Can I invoke you to change if I alienate you? NOPE!
If you will please PRAY for me and I will PRAY for you!
On the prayer line this morning, we talked about praying for each other.
I Thessalonians states, “Now may the peace of himself sanctify you completely and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. Brothers pray for us.” (5:23-25)
When we Pray for each other, things happen.
GOD will Answer our Prayers
When we pray for each other, the windows of Heaven pour down blessings upon us!
GOD will heal us
When we pray for each other, God’s healing power is activated, and miracles take place!
GOD will open doors for us to be used
When we pray for each other, God will use us in ways that we never would imagine!
GOD will grow us
When we pray for each other, God will grow us into who HE destines us to become!
GOD will lift our burdens
When we pray for each other, God will bear our burdens so and give us undeniable peace!
GOD will humble us
When we pray for each other, God will find our JOY in JESUS and HIM alone.
GOD will help us to overcome
When we pray for each other, God will keep our minds on HIM and our situation.
Let’s continue to keep our world and each other lifted in prayer and covered in the WORD of GOD.