JESUS JOY

Happy New Year!!!

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JESUS JOY

I am not going to blog or write about my expectations for 2020. Yes, even my daughters were shocked.

I have my goals and what I want out of 2020, but I am choosing to move silently, allowing GOD to direct my path. Anything God has for me, I am ready to receive.

However, our prayer focus for this morning was perfect, and God placed it upon my heart to share my journey to JESUS JOY.

If you have not read my post over the past 4 years or my blog, I lost my late husband in October of 2016. I suffered from depression, suicidal thoughts, feelings of worthlessness, I was an understandable mess. But God was not having it, and honestly, neither was I!

I have moved forward with my life and I have so much JOY and genuine happiness in my life!

I had to dig deep to find the Joy that God had placed in me when he formed me before I was placed in my mother’s womb. It was JESUS JOY

It is something that has carried me for the past 3 years going in my 4th year.

Year 1 Restoration
Year 2 Renewal
Year 3 Rejuvenation
Year 4 Discovery.
(I will write about these at a later date)

Joy, true JESUS JOY is rooted deep within our soul, and only Jesus can give us that pure Joy!

NO ONE can be truly happy without JESUS JOY.

I can tell you, I am a living witness… it is a facade, it is fake happiness.

The Lord saved me from my dark place, and I am not the person I was three years ago. HIS JOY was, and is definitely my strength!

Happiness in a surface emotion, but the true JESUS JOY that comes from the LORD is deeper.

It requires something from us…
It requires us to take some action…
It requires us to have something…
It requires us to be somewhere

What does it require? 

It requires us to have something… FAITH

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My faith is a foundation on which I have always stood, so holding on to my faith was not hard. I just needed to be reminded of and remind myself that God is still with me no matter what! Faith is something that does not just happen faith some after you have been through some things, and we have sought God, and he has been there. Faith is not in the CHURCH faith is IN GOD and only GOD!

It requires us to take some action… pray, petition, and or (if needed) seek therapy

We have to want Joy in our lives. I know for me I did not want to feel depressed, I knew that deep down I did not want to commit suicide, but I also knew that I had to do something about the thoughts that were tormenting my mind. I had to pray, and others were praying for me. I mention the prayer focus above that comes from a prayer line where we get together Monday through Friday morning to pray for each other, our community, and this country. The saints on that prayer line and others prayed me out of the darkness, and God let me to therapy. Believe me, both were desperately needed.

It requires something from us… total surrender

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We cannot give something over to God and keep picking it up. Ether, we give it to him and let it go, or we keep worrying about it.

Worrying will prevent you from having JESUS JOY.

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It requires us to be somewhere… In a position to receive

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JESUS JOY just won’t come and perch its self on you. It requires you to be in a position to receive it. After you have kept the faith, prayed, and given over whatever is keeping you from God’s Joy, then you are in a position to receive true JESUS JOY. It will not be easy because the enemy will try to convince us that happiness and Joy are the same things. THEY ARE NOT! He will try to convince us that we do not need JESUS JOY.

I believe we were created and born with Jesus Joy, but life circumstances will cause us to suppress it. Think about a child they are joyful. Think about a baby’s belly laugh; it will bring a smile to our face and warmth to our heart. They are experiencing pure and true JESUS JOY. It is the strength that sustains us.

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I am the poster child for choosing Joy regardless of my circumstances. I refuse to give the enemy any joy, kudos, or accolades over my life. God has been way too good for me to allow this to happen.

If I am declaring and promoting anything publicly for 2020, I am declaring that I continue I choose and promote that I still choose to have JESUS JOY over anything.

When you think about Jesus Joy, it’s clear and straightforward…

The Joy of the Lord is your strength.
(Nehemiah 8:10)

Day 10 – 10 Day Walk Out of the Valley of Darkness: No Regrets

Day 10

No Regrets

October 25, 2019

On Day 10, three years ago, on a beautiful crisp sunny Tuesday afternoon, I said goodbye to the central part of my heart. The tumor in his lung had covered his bronchial airways, and he could no longer breath on his own. He was surrounded by those who loved us. We sang his favorite songs (we struggled with some of the words lol), we read scriptures and prayed, we worshiped, and we still hoped for a miracle.

But it was God’s will to bring Michael home.

The ICU was very cold all the time. During the night, I would sleep with my coat on and warm blankets from the nurses. That afternoon there were about 20 people in the room. Most days, we had many visitors come through, and the nursing staff was always gracious to allow us to be over capacity. However, that particular morning, God was indeed in control of everything, including our environment. On that afternoon, we experienced a real miracle.
From the time we started praying, singing, and reading scripture, that room was so warm and cozy. (Remember this) We worshiped for about an hour before the signal was given to the hospice nurse to remove the respirator. Michael seemed to breathe on his own at first; then, he started to struggle… I want to yell at them to put him back on the machine, but I knew it was time for me to let him go… this is what I saw play out in my spirit…

Jesus entered the room when we started our worship. When we genuinely worship, there is always a shift in the atmosphere, and when Jesus entered, the room was warm. I believe as Michael started to struggle to breathe, the Lord was telling him it was time. He stood at the brink between going with the Lord and staying with us. I believed he looked back at us and backed at Jesus did not know what to do. I laid my head on his chest and told him that I loved him, and I was so proud of him. He fought long and hard and that he could let go because we would be fine. In the next few moments, he let go and took the hand of Jesus and when home. At that moment, the presence of the Lord was still in the room, but all of the warmth left the room with Jesus and Michael.

It is a moment that I think most of us in that room will never forget. Heaven is real, and Michael and many of our other loved ones are celebrating the day he returned home.
On Day 10, October 25, Year anytime, will always pierce my heart, and there will always be moments of sadness.

Today, I refuse to be sad and cry.
Today, I am walking out of the valley of darkness, and I am not looking back!
Today, I have a hope and a future to look forward to.
Today, I live my life with no regrets.
Today, I am allowing God to direct my path.
Today, I am attempting to live my life to the fullest.
Today, I am loved, and I do love.
Today, I continue to survive and live.
Today, I think about the happy times.
Today, I will not allow obstacles, people, situations, or circumstances to get in my way.
Today, I am living my life with no explanations to anyone

Today, God has NOT given me a spirit of fear but of love, peace, and of a sound mind!

My life is far from perfect, but my daughters and I are living life one moment at a time. We have the favor of the Lord, and we are living with no regrets.
Remember, we are not promised tomorrow.
Life is so precious and SHORT. Keep those that you love close and never fail to tell them how much you love them.

I love you all, and thank you for keeping me in your prayers!

Day 9 – 10 Day Walk Out of the Valley of Darkness: Dreams Deferred

Day 9

October 24, 2019

Dreams Deferred

On Day 9, three years ago, I can vividly remember the early morning watching the sun come up, sitting in ICU at Providence Hospital Room 108, thinking about shattered dreams. Thinking about how many dreams would not be realized, would not happen, would not be experienced, and would not be celebrated.

Dreams are our thoughts, imaginings, ideas, visions, and aspirations. They are also our hopes, ambitions, and desires. Dreams are what YOU WANT of your life or your future. Dreams are good to have.
But…

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
Like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?
-Langston Hughes

This is what I was feeling…

Dreams are not always necessarily your reality. At least mine was not.
I felt like my dreams exploded.
My dreams “sagged like a heavy load.”

However, thank GOD, it did not stay that way. I have learned some valuable lessons over these past two years and 364 days.

My dreams were not GOD’s plan.

OUR dreams are not always GOD’s plan.

I had to learn to be at peace with this revelation in my life. As I sat in the room with life holding medical machines beeping, I thought that for me, my life was over.

However, life was beginning for the both of us. This chapter was painfully coming to an end, and for the first time and only time in 29 years, we were headed into different directions.

As much as we were still praying for a miracle, had to take in consideration that Michael could be ending his journey on earth and entering into his eternal life with Jesus. I was getting ready to enter into chapter 2 of my life reluctantly.

That morning as I looked on as a beautiful life was coming to an end, at the moment, I did not know if I would survive. I did not know what to expect, and I was terrified! It would be the first time in 29 years that I would be alone. You don’t know how that feels until you have experienced it for yourself. I pray that you DON’T!

It is the loneliest feeling is to feel alone in a room full of people.

This was my reality.

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.” -Psalm 34:18

However, today, I am surviving and thriving, despite every trick, every word of discouragement, every feeling of despair, every suicidal thought, every act of bondage the enemy and his minions tried to throw at my family and me.

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He thought he had me! (ha!) THAT FOOL!

I am conquering!
I am winning!
I am victorious!
I am dreaming!
I am because HE is I AM!
I am because HE is I AM!
“I am who I am.”
-Exodus 3:14

The enemy did not know that even though I could not fight, and did not know where to begin, the “I AM” in me was bigger than anything he could throw at me. I knew that GOD would not let me be defeated!

I had to do my part. I had to go through some things, pray over and on many things, liberate myself of many stigmas.
I had to surrendered a lot, and allow GOD to intervene in my life.

I now have a sense of renewal and restoration in this season of my life.

New and wonderful journeys are on the horizon, and I can dream once again.

Day 9 permits me to HOPE.

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Day 8.1 – 10 Day Walk Out of the Valley of Darkness Memories (The Way We Were)

Day 8.1

October 24, 2019

Memories (The Way We Were)

Why day 8.1? Because Day 1 three years ago was really (ground zero) day 0.
Day 8.1 is all about memories. I have been thinking a lot about memories. When memories are all that you have left, you want to remember the important significant things. You don’t remember petty differences or disagreements. We all have good and bad memories of our lives. When I looked back on the past 29 years of life together, I remember many wonderful memories.

Memories are the historical accounts of our lives.
Memories, good or bad are lessons that teach.
Memories are moments from our past that will forever shape our life and our future life.
Memories are beautiful and painful.
Memories are happy and sad.
Memories are joy and pain.
Memories are sweet and sour.

There are:
Memories of the past that I want to forget.
Memories of total and complete sadness and despair.
(These are the memories, although painful, are the ones that shaped my character and created who I am today.)

Memories that I choose to remember and hold in my heart are good and pleasant:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Memories that made me laugh and created joy.
Memories of all the wonderful places I have gone.
Memories of people that had a significant impact on my life.
Memories that made me reconsider a path I was taking.
Memories that are praiseworthy!

There was a song I loved in high school called “Way We Were” by Barbra Streisand:

Memories light the corners of my mind
Misty water-colored memories of the way we were

Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind,
Smiles we gave to one another for the way we were

Can it be that it was all so simple then
Or has time rewritten every line
If we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me, would we?
Could we?

Memories may be beautiful and yet
What’s too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget

So it’s the laughter we will remember
Whenever we remember…. The way we were…

Memories are also very present,
I am still in the process of making very wonderful memories.
I am still a work in progress…

Day 8 – 10 Day Walk Out of the Valley of Darkness Survival (continued existence)

Day 8

October 23, 2019

Survival (continued existence)

On Day 8, three years ago, as I sat and watched a beautiful, well-lived life diminish from this reality, I could not help but think about my own existence. When you are faced with someone else’s mortality, you can’t help but think about your own.

However, on day 8 today, we are faced with another life gone too soon by their own hands. Another mother, father, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends left in the aftermath. I have always been very intentional and upfront about my own experiences with suicide and depression, and I have promised that I will tell my testimony when it is needed and requested.

I am so glad that on the night I was home alone and I was faced with the agonizing decision if I wanted to end my life that Lord inserted into my head visions of my babies, and not just my babies I gave birth to. Still, my babies, I have adopted into my life over the years.

What would life be for them if I took my own life?

Would my daughters survive my death after their father’s death?

How could I have preached and taught that the love of Christ is there for everyone who accepts it, and I did not?

How could I have said all these years, God can get you through anything if you only trust him, and I did not?

”The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” (John: 10:10)

That night I had the potential to burst every dream, turn hope into despair, betray love, and turn trust into doubt in the minds of young people God had allowed into my life. God trusted me with their minds, hearts, and souls, and I was about to betray them and the LORD. I cried and cried that night and then the next day when I went to Munson Army Health Center, for a doctor’s appointment. I checked the, “Yes, I have thoughts of suicide in the past months” That statement was not looked over, actions were taken that day, and I was sitting before a clinical social worker to get evaluated. Within the next few weeks, God led me to an excellent Christian therapist.

Disclaimer: (as I have said many times)

I do not doubt that God can and will get you through anything, even suicide. HOWEVER, for me, my heart and my mind is so clouded with sadness, anger, and hurt, I could not hear from God. I was in a deep depression.

But, he heard me, and he pulled me through darkness into His light. Once I was able to deal with my depression, I was able to handle the guilt, sadness, hurt, and anger. I was then able to hear from God clearly.

Depression is not a fad that will go away. Depression is real and very prevalent in our society, including young people and the African American community, whether they want to admit to it or not!

We can no longer sit idly by and say they are too young to have those feelings or thoughts or black people don’t go to therapy, or you are weak if you go to therapy!

IT HAS TO STOP!!

We are losing too many of our young people to suicides!!

If you are having feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or worthlessness

If you are feeling angry, of frustrated of small things

If you are having a loss of interest in your normal activates

If you lack energy or you are tired all the time

IF YOU ARE HAVING THOUGHTS OF DEATH AND SUICIDAL THOUGHTS

I BEG YOU… PLEASE SEEK HELP

See your family doctor, clinic of a mental health professional as soon as possible!

If you are reluctant, see any of the above. PLEASE talk to a friend, loved one, your pastor, or anyone you can trust!

Call the suicide hotline number:

‪1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)‬

IF you are a VETERAN use that same number and press “1” to reach the Veterans Crisis Line

FRIENDS, FAMILY, and LOVED ONES:

If someone tells you they are contemplating suicide if they say they are hurting and the pain won’t go away, PLEASE take them seriously!

Stay with them until you can get them to a mental health professional, the ER, if you can’t, do not hesitate or call ‪911‬.

We need you!

The world needs you!

I chose to live, and so can YOU!

I love you all with all the love that Jesus has for you!

😘♥️😘

Day 7 – 10 Day Walk Out of the Valley of Darkness: GOD’s Way

Day 7

October 22, 2019

GOD’s Way

Day 7, on this day three years ago, after we heard all of the doctors, specialists, palliative care representatives, and chaplains, and after much prayer discussion, anger, sadness, and crying, we finally had to put our unwavering trust in the LORD.

I did not understand and …
I still don’t understand the reason why my life took such a turn.
I did not understand why I left with such devastation in destruction.
I did not understand why I was left to pick up so many broken pieces of my life.
I could not fathom why I was left to mend my heart broken into a million pieces
I could not comprehend why I was left to console our beautiful daughters.
I could not figure out why I was left alone to parent our daughters.
I could not decipher why I was abandoned and left alone…
I could not understand why my life, like a discarded sitcom, without warning, reasoning, or goodbye…
I could not understand why my life was canceled…

GOD, I don’t understand why things are happening the way they are in my life right now, but I do understand that your ways are better than mine.
I trust you, GOD!
AMEN!

For me, it was GOD’S Way or NO WAY!

When all those circumstances above made no sense, I had to trust GOD’s Way.

When I wanted to do it my way, I had to trust GOD’s Way.

I never gave up hope because I decided to trust GOD’s Way.

I had to trust my life and the life of my children to GOD’S Way.

Even when I was alone and sinking deep in depression, I had to trust GOD’s Way.

Even when I was screaming and crying on the inside but keeping a brave face on the outside, I had to trust GOD’s Way.

Even when the voices in my head were spouting words of condemnation, that I could not trust GOD, that HE had abandoned my family and me that we had done something wrong, that I was not worth anything, I trusted GOD’S Way.

Not my will LORD, but YOUR will be done!
Luke: ‪22:42‬

Because I know…
“There is NO CONDEMNATION for those that are in CHRIST JESUS!”
Romans 8:1

From the moment of the first “Ground Truth Testimony” to my first post/blog, I have placed my faith and trust in GOD’S Way. No matter how painful, no matter what the doctors and specialist said, no matter what anyone else said, and no matter what my thoughts were, I had to trust in GOD’s Way. It was/is the only thing I had left!

We just prayed, sat, watched, and waited for God’s answer.

“FATHER, not my will, but what YOU will!”
(Mark 14:36)

Day 6 – 10 Day Walk Out of the Valley of Darkness: Reflection

Day 6

October 21, 2019

Reflection

Early this morning, on Day 6, when I should have been doing homework, I was reflecting on my life. I thought about what I thought I have done wrong in my life, or what I could have done differently, and if that would have made a difference.
I know that GOD is purposeful in all that he does, and he does not make any mistakes. GOD does not operate in the what-ifs, I believe HE operates in the here, now, and for our good in our future.

“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”
Isiah 6:13

So instead of thinking about what I could have done differently in my past, I have chosen to focus on what I have done right and what GOD has done and is doing in my life.

I have chosen to focus on my future and what GOD has in store for my future.
I have chosen to embrace this new life I have been given instead of fighting it.
I have chosen to let go and let GOD reign and rule in my life.
I have chosen to love instead of allowing hurt, anger, and sadness to rule my life.
I have chosen beauty instead of ashes.
I have chosen the oil of joy instead of mourning
I have chosen the garment of praise instead of the spirit of heaviness.
Even though there may still be some tough days ahead, but…
I will try to smile instead of frown.
I will try to laugh instead of cry.
I will think of things up above instead of what is in front of my face.
I will think of whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.
I will think about anything excellent or praiseworthy!
But no matter what… I will praise GOD!