Mirror, mirror on the wall…of lies.

Photo by Drigo Diniz on Pexels.com

Ever look in the mirror and gag at what you’re looking at. Or you could be one of those people who look in the mirror and not be mad at what you’re looking at. There is a mirror I have hanging on the wall in my bedroom and then my bathroom mirror is pretty big. Last night, I was convinced the one that hangs on my wall is a trick mirror.

About three years ago, the Lord put me on a path to learn about myself. Some of it I didn’t like but the majority of what I learned about myself is that I am pretty cool! I will admit that looking in the mirror and being okay with what I saw was probably the hardest hurdle I had to jump. As a woman, I’ve come to the conclusion that we are judgmental about ourselves. I had a conversation with a friend not that long ago and when I tell you she is the cutest little thing ever.. Anyways, we were talking and she told me that when she looks in the mirror all she see’s is this big fat blob but when other people see her they tell her how adorable she is. She couldn’t comprehend why people would tell her that because she can’t see what we see.

Fast forward to last night, I took a shower, put on my night clothes and then as I turned to walk out of my bathroom I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror that hangs on the wall in my bedroom. All I could see is this big fat blob… But when I turned to look in the mirror in my bathroom the image was different. I went back & forth between the two mirrors. Which one was telling me the truth? Was it the mirror on my wall that from a distance I looked gross or the one in my bathroom that didn’t look near as bad.

Then I realized there was a lesson there somewhere. I went back to the beginning when Eve was in the garden. There she was minding her own business when that tricky serpent came about and convinced her that if she ate the fruit she wouldn’t die. In fact, if she ate the fruit then she would have knowledge of good & evil and would be like God. If you want my honest opinion, if Eve would have kept minding her own business then we would all still be living in paradise but unfortunately she took a bite. Not only did she take a bite but then she convinced Adam to do it as well. Though they did not die, the perfect world they lived in did.

I’ve also learned on my walk with the Lord that sometimes the devil makes life look appealing. He too can put things in our path that we can think is blessing from God. For example, look at this shiny new truck with tinted windows, upgraded sound system, big tires and smooth leather bucket seats. Oh thank you Lord for this new truck, it’s so pretty and just what I wanted. But wait! Here is the $900 monthly payment that will force you to have to live in that truck. If it was from God then that payment would be budget friendly and even though it may not be all decked out, it would serve a purpose in your life and get you where you need to go. (Don’t worry, I don’t own a truck or have a $900 monthly payment lol)

That lesson came to me last night as I looked in both mirrors trying to figure out which one was right. Do I go with the image that I feel is correct or the one that made me look like a mess. I know I’m all over the place but try to bear with me as I try to make sense of this for you and mostly for myself. I chose the mirror that made me look like a mess. Why? From a distance, the image was horrible but when I got closer to it the realization quickly overcame me that it wasn’t as bad as I thought. The mirror that was up close looked better but if I kept walking towards it then the image would get distorted.

I’ve stood from a distance looking down the road I call life and would see nothing but hurdles. Those hurdles looked way too big to jump over but the closer I got to them, they weren’t so bad. God gave me the strength to jump over them and I came out better on the other side. Even though I had more to jump over, the Lord made it easier because he got me over the first one. I have no idea if any of this is making sense to you but what I do know is this.

Proverbs 3:5-6 tells me this, “Trust the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

Even though I didn’t like what I saw in that mirror, the image wasn’t nearly as bad as the one that portrayed a perfect image. The perfect image was a complete lie and as I walked closer towards the mess, having the Lord with me made it look beautiful. So know this.. no matter how bad you think it looks, with God in your heart that mess turns into strength. Sometimes we want the easy way out, but there isn’t one. You can’t pray for strength if you’re not willing to work for it.

Once again, I reference that to Proverbs where it tells me in chapter 16 verse 3, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”

It’s all going to be okay…

In the waiting..

Do you know what it means to be in the waiting? I’ve been here before but this time it’s different. Before I continue, let me try to explain what it means to be in the waiting.

Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.”

Me being the person that I am, I wanted to dig a little deeper into what this verse means and this is what I found… When David wrote this psalm, he could have been writing it for his soldiers who were becoming impatient. David could have been encouraging them to just be patient and wait. He could have also been writing this for himself, there could have been a trial he was going through where he realized that God’s timing is different from his time. Regardless of who he wrote this for, it pertains to my situation in this moment. I have to wait for the Lord.

The first time I found myself in the waiting, I had no idea that I was actually waiting. Because I was a new Christian and trying to learn what all of this Christian lingo meant… trying to read the bible was a task for me, I would read, “In the beginning..” and then completely lose focus. The more my relationship with God was growing, the more I turn to scripture to search for the answers I so desperately seek.

God’s timing is not the same as our timing. When we think things should happen, the Lord has a bigger plan waiting. In that waiting that is where we become impatient.. We want what we want when we want it. In the waiting is where the “mistakes” happen. I’ve lived my life thinking I knew what was best, then it gets messed up so I go running back to God asking him to fix it. Just to turn around and make the same choices.. It’s a cycle that can only be broken by not growing impatient.

So, what’s wrong now you ask? Well let me tell you.. I’ve been blogging about different situations that have happened throughout my life because the Lord told me to be transparent. I’ve come this far with telling you all the truth so what’s a little more. I’ve been married three times and divorced three times. Two of those divorces have happened in a time frame of three years. My first marriage I really don’t count because I married him more for convenience than love. The second marriage my entire heart & soul went into it, but I only came out of it more broken. The third one… well let’s just say it was short lived. It started with good intentions but was quickly discovered we knew nothing about each other.

I have completely beaten myself up over this for months. My journey with God brought me to such a good place and in that waiting I became impatient. I was saved, I was fixed and I was right with the Lord so that just meant I was ready to conquer the world again. I did what I do best, went and found a man to be a wife to. The finding of a man is the easy part, you wade through the dating pool until you land on something you think is solid and you start building your foundation. The foundation of this relationship started off very strong and had great bones but where the mistake fell is that we both rushed into a marriage that was doomed because God wasn’t in the middle of it.

Not only does my heart hurt, but so does his… Two people got hurt in this situation. That makes me even more mad. I’m mad because I knew better. Out of the two of us, my relationship with the Lord was stronger so I carried all of the weight of being the leader. I didn’t carry that weight because the man I was going to marry wanted me to, I just took the reins until he was ready to lead. I did it without even knowing how he felt about it. He loved me and I loved him right back… so nothing you said to me was going to make a difference because I obviously knew what I was doing… It was in that waiting period that the Lord had me in where I became the boss of my life.

After we split, I thought I was okay with it. I carried on like nothing bothered me because that’s what I do. I lie… mostly to myself. Thinking that I was clinging onto the Lord turned into even a bigger lie because I wasn’t listening to a thing God was trying to tell me. Blocking out his voice just meant I didn’t have to hear the truth. What is different now is that Jesus is in my heart and no matter how hard you try to hide from the Lord, he is always going to get your attention. In this case, he put me on my face and made me listen to him. He’s asked me to step away from things that matter the most to me because he needs my uninterrupted attention. So, two things can happen here. I can either cling onto the free will the Lord gave me to walk a path listening to my flesh or I can listen to him and come out stronger on the other side. I choose God.. In the forty two years I’ve had breath, I’ve repeated the same patterns over and over. It gets me no where so I am surrendering to God’s will and I’m not moving until he tells me to.

I’ve been on my Christian walk for six years now and everyday I learn something new. Just when I think I know all I need to know, something else comes flying at me and I realize I’m not prepared for it. If Jesus came back right now, I’m afraid he would look at me and tell me he doesn’t know me. I’ve put myself into some scary situations before but thinking about standing before the Lord and he tells me he doesn’t know me is by far the scariest.

So, what happens next? Well, I have no idea.. and to be frank, I really don’t want to know until Jesus tells me it’s time to know. I’m going to be still in this waiting season.

Romans 12:12 tells me, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

Everything I need to know is right there in God’s word. The Lord has given me so much grace these past few months. I’ve felt freedom that is indescribable. My intentions for this blog isn’t to lead on to the fact that I’m sad or that my life is just over and all I can do now is cover it up with click flicks & junk food. I’ve gone through all sorts of emotions and the Lord has made me feel every single one of them. In the brokenness is where the healing begins. The power is in our testimonies and through my testimony my prayer is that it empowers you to be more bold on your walk with God.

Sharing your personal life with strangers is not an easy thing to do. Along with transparency comes judgment and unneeded advice. The oh you should do this from now on or the maybe you should try this. Or my personal favorite, well I told you so… Good thing for me I don’t care what anyone has to say because the only voice I listen to is God’s.

There is power in the name of Jesus!

Happy Anniversary Jesus!

My mom’s cross

I know I’ve written about this before but today is the five year anniversary of when I heard God’s voice for the first time. Just bare with me as I go back through the story as some of you may not know this! It was April 29, 2017. That particular evening, I was sitting in my garage. A fight had broke out between me & the man I was about to marry soon so, I had gone outside to work on some gifts for the people who were helping me plan my wedding. I was actually making a cross for my mom that night.

Up until this point, my music choice was still secular but I was slowly transitioning into listening to more Christian based music. My favorite song at the time was Holy Spirit. My heart was so heavy that night and my brain was trying to process the stupidity that had gone down earlier. My ear buds were placed firmly in my ears with the volume turned up loud. Holy Spirit had started to play and my eyes instantly filled up with tears. As I closed my eyes, I started to feel this overwhelming sensation that I wasn’t alone. My words to describe what I was feeling at this point is indescribable.

About half way through the song something behind grabbed my attention and when I turned around I saw my soon to be husband standing in the doorway. On a normal day he would have come out there to keep harassing me to keep the fight going but for some reason he stood there very quietly just watching me. After a minute he shut the door back and left me alone. It was almost as if God shut the door in his face and told him to go away. I started back to working on my mom’s cross and Holy Spirit started to play again!!!!

This time, I got up and turned the light off in the garage. I sat back down in my chair, closed my eyes again. That feeling came back… this time it was stronger so much that it took my breath away. The wind started to move around me and even though my eyes were closed, I could see this light.. It was about 9:30 at night, my light was off in the garage and the street lights on my end of the street were out so it was pitch black dark. But I could still see this light…

The presence got stronger and stronger, the arms of Jesus were wrapped around me and I could feel every bit of his love. Then all of a sudden my thoughts emptied out and I felt like I was floating above myself. I knew something big was about to happen.. Then this audible voice spoke, said one word… “write”… That was it.. I opened my eyes to scan the room to see if someone was there with me. No one was there, it was just me sitting in the dark.

Then my brain turned back on and the thoughts started to flood back through. Write? Write what? That’s all I get? I grabbed my phone and opened my note app. I wrote down what the Lord had said. To this day, I still have that note in my phone. (screen shot attached) A few weeks had passed and my brain was still pondering what he meant by writing. A little background on me, during my high school days, I use to write a lot. Poems, short stories, songs and a lot of journal entries. When my grand ma passed away I stopped. Never thought another thing about it, being a writer wasn’t something I wanted to pursue.

It wasn’t until exactly 30 days later on May 29, 2017 that God gave me the answer I kept asking for. He gave me the idea to write blogs. I remember that night like it was yesterday, I was right in the middle of eating dinner. As I sat shoveling food into my mouth watching TV the Lord thumped me on my head and all these ideas poured out. I couldn’t write them down fast enough… I left my plate of food and grabbed my lap top, I made one of those free websites and wrote my first blog. Then I wrote another one and then another one and then another one… well you get my point.

When my married crashed and burned I wrote a few and then stopped. Then tiktok became a thing and well let’s just say I fell right into that trend! Other than yesterday, it’s probably been well over a year since I’ve written anything. This morning as I opened Facebook, my memories popped up and a picture of the cross I made my mom that night came up. Instantly, my eyes went to the date and I realized what today was.

Jesus has truly changed my life in so many ways that I would need years to write it all down. When my heart opened up to the possibly that life could be better, Jesus took that small slit I made in my heart and opened it up to receive blessing after blessing after blessing. He’s placed so many people in my path that I now call friends, he’s put people in my life that I could minister to and he’s given me true genuine love. He’s given me hope in a hopeless world. Jesus gave me the ability to trust and most important he gave me his friendship.

The Lord is truly my best friend. Even though at times I’ve turned my back on him and forgot he was there, he never left me. Even when I’m curled up on the floor crying my eyeballs out of my head, he sits right next to me and says, “Hey.. I love you and it’s going to be okay.” Then he talks to me and reminds me that my problem is not an ocean, it’s only a puddle. Not even a puddle..

I’ve made a lot of bad choices in my life but the day I chose Christ made all those horrible choices worth it. Jesus makes living in this world worth it.. because no matter what comes at me or where I’m at, Jesus always has my back. I love you Lord, thank you for loving me back…

Isaiah 41:13, “For I am Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says Do not fear, I will help you…”

Well..Here I am!

Being a transparent person isn’t an easy task. Putting your life out there for complete strangers to read isn’t something people willingly want to do. God gave me the calling to write quite a few years ago and since then I’ve written a few blogs or I’ve posted little snippets on social media. I’ve found the best way to express my testimony is through worship.

I’ve always been a pretty open person to anyone that wanted to know, sometimes I feel like I’m too open. I’ve found that in my writings people have expressed their gratitude because it makes them feel less alone in their struggles. So, that gave me the motivation to keep going. I’ve gone through seasons where I didn’t want to say anything at all and I’ve gone through seasons where I have expressed more than I should have.

Lately, I’ve feel like I’m just whining… oh poor me. Here I am struggling again and there is no hope for me. Here comes Leah with the same ole song and dance, let’s just pat her on the back tell her it will be okay and maybe she will shut up. It really sucks feeling that way.. It sucks to try to relay your issues and feel unheard. Someone like me who can care less what people think of me, why all of a sudden do I care to be heard? It is because we have to let out our junk so it doesn’t building up inside and drive us to the point of breaking.

I’ve always talked about the stuff people have done to me but I don’t think I’ve truly expressed my role in the way my life has played out. I’ve been going to church for about six years and in that time frame I’ve come from wanting to hide in the background to being all over the place for anyone to see. God really brought me out of my shell, the more I studied his word and got to know who the Lord really is.. the more I started letting people get to know the real me.

I wasn’t the type of person that was ever addicted to drugs or alcohol and it wasn’t until about twelve hours ago that I realized what it is I am addicted to. It’s relationships… The need to not be alone and share life with someone who can appreciate the little things like I do. My previous marriage was filled with so much darkness that I completely checked out of life. (I’ve written many blogs about that already). A few years were spent trying to get to know who I was, be okay with who I was and know that I was divine creation from God. Who am I to question his master piece? My attitude towards life started to change, I felt free and happiness was my new thing. Didn’t matter where I was or who I was with, joy over came in a way I’ve never experienced before. Jesus was the reason for that. I wasn’t seeking my validation from the world because the constant reminders my sweet Lord kept giving me was all I needed.

The fact that I was a horrible mother to my kids didn’t matter anymore. The fact that I went through men like they were chew toys didn’t matter anymore. The fact that I would seek out attention from outlets that did nothing but make my rejection issues worse didn’t matter anymore. God restored me right where I stood and he loved me through all the crap I put myself and my family through. That is the Lord I try to serve… he knows my heart and gave me all the validation that I desperately searched for my whole life.

It wasn’t anyone’s fault but my own for the way my life played out, the choices I kept making not only affected me but my children. I dragged them around with me while I kept making mistake after mistake. On my walk with Jesus, I had those hard conversations with both of my kids and I told them how sorry I was that they were stuck with someone like me. I was selfish and in constant need of filling a void that could have only been filled by the Lord. At a crucial point in their lives where they really needed me as their mother, I checked out of life. Now I see the both of them and I feel completely responsible for where they are in their lives. Even though I forgave myself for the person I was, I wasn’t truly convinced they have forgiven me. By the grace of God, both of them have not only forgiven me but they understood. As children they didn’t really understand, I mean what kid would… but as adults they know I did the best I could. There is nothing more freeing than knowing that through all the horrible, horrible, horrible choices I made in life that both of my kids know that I love them more than my own self. As bad as I thought I was as a mom, they still grew up to be great kids and are learning to make more responsible choices on this adventure we call life.

Now back to my addiction, I use to think it was because I just needed a man and have that picture perfect family life. Someone to cook for, someone to take care of, someone to show everyday how much love I have and someone to just snuggle up with that would make my bad days good days. The harder I tried the more it would fall apart. It’s me right? What’s wrong with me? Why does everything I touch break… why am I like this? Why does my brain fill up with some much nonsense that I can’t function? So many questions and no answers.

Why Lord why? Why do I need a warm body to be next to? Is it because I know what I can bring to the table without even considering the other person’s feelings. They will see how great am, it will make them better inside and we can be the power couple that can conquer the world. Negative… that is not how life works. I use to think it was because I had a fear of being alone but I’m starting to realize that’s not it. I am perfectly content with being on my own, I know how to entertain myself and I’m pretty self sufficient. There isn’t a whole lot that I can’t figure out how to do myself, just as long as it isn’t having to put air in my tire because I have a fear that it will explode in my face. (face palm)

My problem is, that I will carry your burdens. Give it all to me because I’m use to being hurt and feeling pain. I can handle it… then it gets to the point where I am carrying way too much and then I turn into a completely different person. I am a natural at hiding what I’m feeling, unless you know me there isn’t any way you would know I’m dying inside unless I came out and told you. So, while I’m carrying around my luggage, I’m carrying yours around too. I can feel what you are feeling and I can read your thoughts by the crinkles your face makes when something isn’t right. I should have a top degree in body language and a degree in playing stupid. Because I have a natural instinct on being protective and I am a good problem solver, I will try to take your problems & make them my own.

Am I making any sense at all? I feel like at this point I’m just rambling and all over the place.. Who can find someone that doesn’t have any baggage? Do those people really exist? Not at all… Knowing that it’s not my job to fix you so in return you can fix me is my biggest problem. God reminded me in all of this that I don’t need to be fixed because he has already delivered me from a lot of baggage I carry around. Old habits die hard I suppose… It’s the only way I know how to live because up until this point, it’s all I’ve done. I’m feeling myself falling into my old patterns of self loathing, giving myself a pity party and seeking validation from flesh instead of from God.

Romans 8:8 says, “Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.” Galatians 5:16, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Galatians 6:8, “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”

There is scripture after scripture screaming at me that the choices I am making is only fueling my addiction. By no means, am I sitting here right now claiming to be this holier than thou devoted Christian. I strive to be a good person and live right by God, but lately I’ve questioned if I’m even doing that. Turning to God only when I’m in trouble and leaving him sitting there when I think things are good isn’t satisfying my Spirit…or pleasing to the Lord. I’m letting this world control my actions. What I think feels good only feels good for a minute and then there I am yet again picking up the pieces. Then I’m back to putting up this front so everyone around me thinks I’m great. It’s a load of crap…

So, here I am writing this blog and repenting to you that I am once again responsible for my downfall. But the difference this time is that I am clinging onto the Lord. I’m turning to those that will speak truth into me, I’m seeking the Lord in my words and my choices. I’m not hiding under the covers and crying it away. And… I’m not looking for a back up plan. I’ve always had a back up plan. I am Leah Marie Deslandes, and I sit here before you told telling you that I choose God. He is my everything, he is my heart, my joy, my provider, my healer, my deliverer and my reason to carry on through this storm.

I love your face!

Psalm 73:26, “My flesh and my heart my fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

Let go & Let God!

Photo by Leah Riffe

Isaiah 43:18-19 says, “But forget all that- it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”

If you read my blog, “The truth has set me free”, then you already know that I left an unhealthy marriage and am now living on my own. God has given me so many ideas on what to write about but I was holding back. Finally, I decided that enough was enough and I wrote the truth. Now I’m writing about life after the fact. What it’s like to live on my own, how the healing process took place and how I’ve learned to do simple things like grocery shop for myself. There has been so much that has happened over the past year and now is the time to share all of this with you.

The first week of living on my own was filled with a lot of tears and emotions. My brain was processing all that had taken place and I kept asking the Lord if this was what I was supposed to be doing. He basically told me to shut up and just sit there until he told me to move. Okay… he didn’t really tell me to shut up, but he told me, “just be still.” On my journey with the Lord, the words “be still” came up a lot. Well, I have a severe case of ADHD and being still isn’t an option for me unless I’m asleep. So that’s what I did, I slept… a lot. I pulled the covers over my head and I stared at the back of my eyelids. When I wasn’t asleep, I was crying. So, sleeping was just easier. The Lord let me rest, he covered me with his peace and with his love. He kept me warm and he would sing peaceful lullabies.

The first week was a blur but by week two, slowly but surely I was starting to feel like a human. The walls of my new apartment were bare. I would say my floors were covered in boxes but God blessed me with great friends. A girlfriend of mine came over and unpacked my kitchen. She also unpacked all of the boxes that were piled up in my dining room. God told me to be still and he sent his army to come help take some of the stress away.

Here’s the thing… God knows what is going to happen before you do. He placed all these women in my path. He made those connections for me because he knew they would all be faithful to him and would be there for me. I cannot stress enough the importance in having people in your life that are uplifting and speak truth into you. If you don’t have that person in your life, message me. I got you! That has been the biggest blessing for me through all of this, having those women be there for me.

My cross wall!

God guided me through all of this step by step and I didn’t even realize he was doing it. My brain was downloading new information and the download speed wasn’t very fast at that time. You can’t convince me in a million years that it wasn’t God that took my hands to hang pictures on the wall or place my decorations throughout my new apartment. He knows I’m a visual person and being able to walk through a nicely decorated place just makes me feel good. He hung all those pictures & crosses on the wall for me. By the picture, you can see that crosses are my thing. That isn’t even all of them! They just wouldn’t all fit on that wall.

So now that my apartment was decorated, it was time to fill up my refrigerator. Who knew a task so simple would be so hard? A few days after I moved in, I went grocery shopping. Everything in my cart ended up getting wasted because for one, I wasn’t eating anything and two, all that food was what my family ate. My shopping list was my married with a family list – not a “you’re now a single woman” list. My daughter was living with me but she was a senior in High School and was never home. Week one on being a single woman was a blur, but like I previously stated, by week two I had started feeling human again, so I tried the grocery shopping thing again. It was so stressful for me! My anxiety went through the roof and I seriously almost had a full blown mental breakdown right in the middle of Walmart. I had no idea what to buy, or how to cook for myself. I know this sounds so dumb but my brain was programmed to think only one way – how to please my husband. It wasn’t programmed on how to provide for myself. There is this app that I talk to my friends on, it’s like a visual walkie-talkie app. I got on there and said, “I have no idea what to buy? Why is this so hard?” My friend replied, “Buy stuff you like!” Well duh… but what do I like??

I had no idea what I liked to eat. How can I not know what foods I like? So, I kept walking up and down the aisles until my cart was full with food that I liked. Most of it was frozen food because my appetite wasn’t really there and fresh produce would just get wasted. I bought my food, went home, unloaded it all and I realized what an accomplishment I just made. Again, this sounds so silly but making my own decisions was new to me and I had to learn how to take care of myself.

So there I was, a nicely decorated apartment and a freezer full of food. Now what Lord? What’s next? What do I do now? He told me to just keep doing what I was doing. So I did. I went to work and I went home. I went to church and then I’d go home. Keeping myself busy was the only thing that kept my mind off things. Keeping myself busy kept the enemy out of my ear. Eventually, I had to slow down and the loneliness set in. Missing my husband started to consume me and ignoring him forever wasn’t going to happen. My need to take care of him and making sure he was okay was more powerful than taking care of myself. Why did I care so much?! Because that’s who I was and that’s what I do. Even though I left him, I was still married to him. That control still hovered over me.

God knew all of this and he protected me through it all. At the end of my first month of living on my own, I started to realize that I could do this and my brain was now processing the information it was downloading. It was all starting to calm down and it all started to make sense to me. I just got of an abusive relationship. I was being abused and taken advantage of. Those words were very hard for me to say out loud. Those words were very hard for me to process. I asked the Lord to reveal myself to me and that was the first thing he revealed to me. We think of abuse as a physical aspect but men abuse their women in many ways. The abuse I endured was mental and emotional, it wore me down. When you can’t even pick out your own food to eat you know you have a problem.

It wasn’t an easy process at all. It took time, a lot of tears and snacks to get me through some of it. But most of all, it took God to help me through it all. The Lord stayed by my side the entire time and as I write these words, I feel him next to me now. It’s confirmation that I’m doing something right.

There is a lot I plan to write about that has happened over the past year. This was just the beginning of what took place. I’m going to close with this verse and remind you once again that the Lord is so faithful. You just have to let go and let God. Believe in him, let him have just a piece of your heart. That’s all he needs to start working within you.

Isaiah 25:1 says, “Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.”

#justsayJesus

The truth has set me free

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2 Corinthians 12:9 says, Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with a girlfriend of mine. We were praising God for the work he has done in both of our lives. We met at a rock concert in Charlotte almost 11 years ago. I won tickets off of a radio station and she had gotten tickets from a friend. Just so happens her seat was right next to me and in conversation we discovered we were both from the same city. We were both just as lost as could be and now we are head over heels in love with Jesus. It’s amazing the people God places in your life during a time you don’t even realize he’s moving. I’ve been told a million times, “It’s all in God’s timing.” It took a million times hearing it to realize exactly what those words truly meant.

As we were talking on the phone, I shared with her how my writing came to a dead stop. God was dropping things on my heart but I wouldn’t do anything with it. Because he wanted me to be bold, tell the truth and don’t hold back. The problem was, the word he was giving me to share was hard to share. He wants me to give you the raw truth and that is something I didn’t think I was ready to do… until now.

I have a note pad app on my phone and every time God gives me something to write about, I open my app, I write it down and then walk away from it. As I was scrolling through the million notes I’ve made, I saw one for 2 Corinthians 12:9 and I immediately opened up my bible to read the scripture. Boom! There it was.. It was confirmation. I’m holding back in fear of hurting myself & other people, but by writing and telling the truth means I will have freedom. I can boast about my weaknesses because it isn’t my weakness anymore! I’ve been delivered from it.

Men were my addiction. Not because of sex, but because I wanted to feel safe and loved. I know telling you that isn’t anything new but the way I’m going to share it with you today is the real version. From the time I turned seventeen until May of 2019, I’ve been in a relationship. Two of those relationships have been marriages. Both crashed & burned but only one of them brought me to God. On my career of being a professional man hunter, I got pregnant four times. Only two of them I birthed and the other two were abortions. Having two kids by two different men, being alone, no job, no self dignity made the choice not to give birth again easy. The fact that I was not emotionally connecting to anything or anyone also made it an easy choice. The guilt ate me alive and so I did what I do best. I pushed it way down deep and made myself get over it. The problem is I never got over it and yet I just kept going.

My first abortion was sometime in 2002, I have no idea what month it was but all I can remember about that day is that it was snowing outside, I walked inside of a building pregnant and came out not pregnant. The truth is, I was sleeping with two different men at that time. Neither one of them wanted any kind of real relationship but I hoped that if I just did what they wanted then one of them would be “the man of my dreams.” My life revolved around trying to feel something and the end result was always me getting hurt. The second time I had an abortion was 2006. Again, I don’t remember what month it was but it was during the summer months. Once again, I found myself pregnant by a man that I was in a relationship with but he didn’t want anymore kids. And once again… the fact that I had no emotional connection to anything made the choice to have another abortion easy for me. The memory of it was pushed way down deep with all the other horrible memories.

I was selfish and I willingly gave God two human lives. There is absolutely no excuse for my actions and there isn’t one word I can say to justify the horrible thing I did not once but twice. Though I pushed it way down deep inside, I carried it around with me everyday of my life. Picturing if those babies would be boys or girls, what their names would be, what they would be like and what they would look like. God’s grace has covered me and has confirmed that if I choose him, then I will be able to meet them one day. It’s God’s love & grace that helped me with forgiving myself for the horrible thing I’ve done.

When I was twenty-nine, I met a man that later became my second husband. That was the beginning of my journey of finding out who God really is. That relationship was so dark & sadistic that it made me hit my bottom and I had no choice but to either kill myself or cry out to Jesus. The thoughts of just going to sleep and never waking up consumed me because living in hell was a lot better than living the reality I found myself in. I remember the first time I ever laid eyes on him, the look on his face made my heart cry out. He was so lost, so hurt, so used up in his own hell that he probably didn’t know what direction was up or down. The need to fix him over powered me and he took full advantage of that. My heart poured out onto him in so many ways, I was determined and I do mean determined to make it work no matter what. I gave him my heart and soul on a silver platter right off the bat. All my walls came tumbling down and all my defenses went packing. I left myself wide open and vulnerable… on purpose. If I walked into that relationship carrying every hurt & scar from my life, there was no way it would ever work.

The very beginning, he sucked me in with his need to please me. He was cute, charming and full of crap. The amount of times I caught him cheating on me should place me in the Guinness Book of World records. I already know what you’re thinking… Why stay? Why keep putting up with it? Because my life up until that point was filled with this mess. And it was obviously what I deserved.. It was obvious that my life was one big poop storm so this was what I got for living the way I have for so long. There was no other option but to make it work. There wasn’t one ounce of self worth inside of me and all I’ve ever known was hurt & rejection. Don’t forget, I was unable to emotionally connect to anyone, so I just kept taking it and pushing it way down deep.

The honeymoon phase of our relationship lasted about a year. After that year, we were basically living together and then things made a turn for the worse. He had an addiction to women, beer & drugs, the effects of all of that came right back onto me. When nobody was looking, I turned into his emotional punching bag. The “I’m sorry buts” were followed with excuses of why it was all my fault. If you didn’t do that or if you did more of this started to root inside of my mind. The more I heard it the, more I started to believe it. The more I started to believe, the more it became my truth. Something as simple as not doing laundry quickly turned into why he was talking to some chick he randomly met at a gas station.

We never went more than two or three days before another fight would happen. The fights went from verbal to both of us beating the mess out of each other. I allowed his words to bring me to very dark places, to the point that my eyes would black out and I had no control over what happened next. At that point I was no better than him because I wasn’t reacting to him in a healthy way. Pure evil would take over my body. All I did was make excuses for him and would cover up what was really going on because in my head it was all my fault. Even though I hated him… I loved him even more.

This went on for years and eventually I checked completely out of life all together. I lost touch with reality and because of that my kids were forced to fend for themselves. They had fallen victim to my bad choices and they had to witness all of it. It got so bad that I had no energy to be their mother anymore.. every morning I woke up, a list of the do’s and don’ts ran through my head all day long, it was my check list of keeping him calm & happy. Remember to pick up after yourself, remember to rinse the dishes off before you put them in the dishwasher, remember not to mention anyone you may come across that was a man, remember not to give too much detail on what happened to you in your past, remember to make sure you look decent when he comes home, remember not play on my phone too much when he’s around.. the list was endless. By the end of the day I had nothing left to give my kids let alone myself. I was literally just a body that existed in this world because my soul was floating off in limbo somewhere.

God intervened around February of 2016. He put a woman in my life that later led me straight to Jesus’ arms. There was a motorcycle club I was apart of and her husband met some of the fellow bikers in our group. One night, he brought his wife with him to our clubhouse and the connection between the two of us sparked immediately. The funny thing is, I don’t usually connect with women but she had this light about her that I was drawn to. You could instantly see the kindness and love that was within her. One night, I reached out to her about visiting the church she attended and I told her she would have to go inside with me because I couldn’t walk through those doors alone. That Sunday, I walked into The Building Worship Center for the first time.

The following Sunday, he (my soon to be husband) came with me. Right off the bat, he got his ah-ha moment and felt God’s presence. But me.. I hadn’t yet. It wasn’t until a few weeks later that I got my ah-ha moment. The women’s group at church spent a weekend at this awesome retreat and I was able to go. That weekend, not only did I start gaining some clarity but I got baptized in a pond wearing jeans & a t-shirt. The previous Sunday was when I was supposed to be baptized but for some reason I didn’t feel as if it was my time yet. Two women that hold a very special place in my heart stood right in that pond with me and as I came up from the water everything looked & felt different. Life was going in a different direction for me but at the same time was getting worse in other ways.

Because we were living together and had been for years, the word marriage was coming up a lot by people at the church. My understanding of right and wrong was starting to form in my brain and I thought maybe if we get married, then it will save the both of us. God will honor us not living in sin anymore and our lives will be filled with blissful happiness. The fights that broke out between us got less and less, we seemed to be “happy” together, but something always lingered in the shadows. The darkness at this point was just laying dormant and waiting patiently for the opportunity to emerge again. Before we married, we were counseled by the Pastor and his wife and as they were explaining to us what a Godly marriage should be like, all I could think is “I don’t think he’s capable of being that kind of man.” I know… I had no faith in him. I didn’t believe that we both truly gave ourselves to God as a couple and there was no way we would survive this marriage unless God was in the middle of it. He had Jesus, I had Jesus but we didn’t have Jesus together, if that makes sense. We weren’t praying together, we weren’t worshiping together and conversations about God were very rare.

I was too afraid to speak up about what life was really like with this man, I didn’t think they would believe me. He was a great person, always willing to help out where needed and he was the perfect Godly man in the eyes of our church. The problem was, I couldn’t get that version of him to come home with me. Once we went over the threshold of our house, I got whatever was left over at the end of the day. Later, I found out he was airing my dirty laundry to anyone who would listen to him and because I wasn’t speaking up it was more believable. He knew me… He knew if I thought people didn’t like me or thought bad of me that I would disconnect and just stop participating. That’s exactly what he wanted… I was this carefree, fun spirited and faithful servant. I’m walking around with a big ole smile on my face because that’s what I do, and I was completely clueless to what was going on behind the scenes. God protected me from that. People kept their mouths shut when I was around them and because they weren’t speaking up, I was getting deeper and deeper into God’s presence. The plan the enemy had to get me out of the way was back firing in his face.

We got married in May of 2017, our wedding was beautiful and the day was absolutely perfect. We started to do bible study together in the mornings and I felt as if we were getting closer together. God was making a presence in our lives and it was really starting to show. Well that darkness that was laying dormant inside of him woke up. And then they woke up the spirits that were laying dormant inside of me. The fights were worse than they had ever been before and I quickly started to isolate myself. I hid from my church family and I kept my mouth shut. I was embarrassed to admit that our marriage was not working out. Finally one day, he slipped up and did something pretty stupid in front of some people we went to church with. Someone was finally a witness to what was really going on and I can’t begin to tell you the relief I felt when that happened. At this point, I was starting to open up about things that were going on and I’m not saying they didn’t believe me but it was just hard for them to believe it. He portrayed himself as this perfect vision of a Godly man and I was right there behind him backing it all up. I did that because now I was his wife and that’s what I was supposed to do.

By no means am I saying he didn’t try to be that Godly man that I deserved. He was pressing into the word and he was becoming more active in church. He later became a truck driver and the enemy had isolated him once again. I was so beaten down emotionally that I wasn’t strong enough to endure another season of it. The longer he stayed on the road, the more control he was gaining over me and the darkness was consuming me yet again. May 26, 2019 I finally gained the courage to leave him. It was a Sunday morning and I had no idea that day was going to be the day it was going to happen. I was already making plans of moving out but I was still debating in my head if that’s what I truly wanted. I loved him so much and the last thing I wanted to do was hurt him like that. We got into a really bad fight when he came home that Friday and he left on Saturday morning and didn’t come back. So that Sunday when I woke up, I cried out to God and begged him to help me. “Please Lord, get me out of here.. I can’t do this anymore.”

With tears in my eyes I called my mother that morning. She had an empty apartment she was holding for me that I planned on moving into at a later date. I asked her if I could move into it that day and she said yes. I went to church that morning and informed my friends what my plans were. After church, I came home with four vehicles, three girlfriends, two teenage boys and a partridge in a pear tree! I was completely moved out in four hours. The events that unfolded that day is nothing but a blur in my head. God told me that morning, if you are ready for this then we are going to make it happen and man did it ever happen. Not one time did I fear he would come home in the middle of all of that. The Lord had already confirmed with me that he was taken care of. Around 8 pm that evening I fell out, I was so drained in every way possible. My eyes closed that evening and when I awoke the next morning the reality of what just happened had set it. I cried so hard that morning that I gave myself two black eyes. My face was so swollen that I was unrecognizable.

This was the first time in my entire life that I ever lived on my own. I was now solely responsible for myself and I cried out to God once again and said, “Lord, what the hell do I do now?!” He said, “Nothing, you just be still I got this.” So now at this point, I had to learn how to live without him. As bad as it was, it was all I knew for ten years. I’d like to say that when I left him that I left him completely but I didn’t. My mind was telling me that now that I’m gone, he’s going to change and he will finally be the man I need. That November I filed for divorce and it was finalized in January. Even after we were divorced, I was still having a hard letting go because he still had this hold over me. His hurtful words were playing over and over in my head. You’re fake, no one knows you the way I do, you’re not a real Christian, you are only doing this for attention… it was non-stop. One Sunday morning during altar call, I walked up to my best friend and said please pray for me, I need his voice out of my head. It just so happens that he was at church that morning as well. When she prayed for me, I felt the Lord take it off of me and when I turned around he was gone. He was no longer a presence in my life from that moment on.

I know… this is a lot. Trust me sharing all of this with you has been very difficult for me and I feel like I’ve given too much detail but the fact of the matter is that I’m tired of hiding behind half truths. I can never really boast about my weaknesses until I let them all go and that’s exactly what just happened writing this blog. My ex husband was my weakness because the love I had for him in my heart was real. The last thing I wanted to do was walk away from him but I had to. He was getting in between my relationship with the Lord and I needed God a lot more than I needed him. I wasn’t capable of standing up to his darkness anymore. I am not and was not a victim of him. I only fell victim to the enemy because he placed a stronghold on me at a very young age that carried on throughout my life. I was my own worst enemy, because if I learned in the beginning how to stand up to him in a healthier way maybe this story would have a different result. I couldn’t walk this walk alone, I needed my husband to be strong too and he wasn’t. The strongholds on him overcame him.

Over the past year, I’ve asked the Lord to reveal myself to me. God has put so many mirrors up in front of my face and there were some hard truths I had to overcome, because I played a role in why my marriage didn’t work as well. I had no idea who I was and I’ve learned a lot about myself. When I became a single woman, it was hard. In the past, once I became single I was looking for my back up plan immediately. Being alone wasn’t an option. Taking care of myself wasn’t an option either. God took care of me in ways I can’t begin to explain. He showed me what love is, I feel his love everyday and I feel it on days when I don’t think I deserve it.

That is what God does, he pours his grace all over us because he loves us. He knows our hearts, he knows what we can do if we trust him to guide us. If I didn’t know who Jesus was when all of this started to unfold, I wouldn’t be here to give you my testimony right now. He pulled strength from within that I didn’t know I had. There were mornings he himself ripped the covers off of me, told me to go take a shower and get my behind out of the house. He slapped the cookie dough out of my hands, he turned off the bad thoughts in my mind and covered it up with worship music. He held me tight when I felt lonely and most of all, he kept lifting me up. He showed me what a beautiful woman I am, he showed me how talented I am. He showed me what a faithful servant I am. Through his love, I have become a better version of myself. Don’t get me wrong, I still stumble and I still mess up because I’m human. My flesh overcomes me sometimes and I make the wrong choices, but instead of turning away I turn towards God and he guides me through the storms.

Everyday the Lord teaches me something new and my story isn’t finished yet… it’s just beginning.

#justJesus

Jesus!

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It took a long time for my brain to process that I could live on my own. I pay my own bills, I have my own apartment and I have four furbabies. All of that was accomplished because God hasn’t given up on me. The majority of my life was spent feeling like the mud that gets stuck on the bottom of your shoe. The situations that I chose to put myself in through out my life was because I had no self worth. Not one drop of it. My prayer for this journey that God has laid for me, is that you know it’s gonna be fine! Absolutely fine.. “Psalm 46:5 says, “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God shall help her, and that right early.”

Lord, In the beginning of every prayer I start with myself first.But this time Lord, I am saying Thank You Father. Thank you!Thank you for giving me the courage to open my heart,let my words be only of you. Lord, thank you for my past as it led me to you. Lord, help me to write the right words. Help me to do everything in love.You take over and l will be your vessel.”

Almost three years ago, God gave me the calling to write. I know I’ve told this story a time or two but I’m going to tell it again. Because remembering the night I heard his voice for the first time is something I need to remember. On April 29th, 2017 at 9:42 pm, I made a note in my phone. “God spoke to me and he told me to write.” That particular evening I was sitting alone in my garage listening to Christian music and making a cross for my mom. That evening wasn’t going too well for me and I remember sitting there just talking to God in my head. At one point this feeling came over me that is indescribable and instantly my eyes closed. The wind started to whirl around me but it wasn’t just any wind.. it was the Holy Spirit and I could feel his arms around me. It was nothing I’ve ever felt before and if you’ve ever had an experience then I you already know… The presence was so strong that it took my breath away and it kept getting stronger & stronger. It’s the first time there were no thoughts in my mind, no words on my lips and all I could hear was him. At one point it was so intense that tears started to stream down my face, then everything stopped moving and all I heard was one word.. “Write”..

Writing wasn’t really my thing anymore. I did a lot of it in middle & high school but it wasn’t really my “passion”, it was just something I was good at. Writing was my safe haven in middle school. Just in case you haven’t figured this out yet, but kids aren’t very nice to you when you are the girl that is a total weirdo. I was a tom boy growing up and apparently there is some unspoken rule that when you are a teenage girl, if you aren’t a “girl” then you’re weird… and being a girl wasn’t really my thing. Being vocal to people that walked all over me wasn’t my thing either. I learned real quick that if you act like it doesn’t bother you, then eventually they will go away. Since I didn’t have friends, I had a journal that I wrote in every single day. It was a year or two after my grandmother died that I put down my pencil. Not really sure why but I never thought twice about writing ever again.

Exactly one month after God told me to write, he led me to my very first blog. I made one of those free websites and then I posted my first blog. In the beginning, there was no pressure because I lived in a bubble where everyone is supportive & they are encouraging. After writing a few blogs here and there, my bubble was popped. My discouragement wasn’t coming from people reading them, it was coming from within.

Before I dig further into what I mean by that, I have to put out a disclaimer. Telling my story isn’t easy for me. I’ve lived 39 years completely alone… If it wasn’t for Jesus coming into my heart and opening my eyes. The burdens I walked around with would have eventually crushed me.

My addiction wasn’t drugs or drinking, it was men. Finding a man was my ultimate goal, because I was tired of being alone. I already knew being a good wife would be something I’d do well. I wasn’t a selfish person and I was an excellent door mat. The desperation that consumed me was so bad that if you asked me to lay down on the ground so you could wipe your feet on me, I’d do it without even blinking an eye.. that’s how much I wanted for someone to see how great I was. How great I am…

At the age of twenty I had two kids, living in low income housing and completely clueless on how to take care of myself. I was blinded by insecurities and if I had a man, life would get better. I was failing to see that myself & my children were already being taken care of. I lived in that apartment for a little over a year on my own before my first husband came along. He was in the military, I was young and he was my way out of a really bad situation. That marriage had no love, no Jesus, no respect and even though he laid next to me every night, I was still alone.

After that marriage was over, I moved right on to my next relationship and after that one was over, well… you get my point.. It was a vicious cycle that just kept going. At one point, I came to the conclusion that all men are stupid, I give up! Two months into my path of rehabilitation, I found myself at home on a Saturday night and this commercial for a dating website came on. Then those stupid voices started back up into my head, “the man of your dreams is out there waiting for you. You’re going to find him and be blissfully happy.” I’m pretty sure you can guess what happened next? I started thumbing through the catalog of available men trying to find prince charming. What I should have been doing was thumbing through the bible and getting to know the man that was already in my dreams… Jesus…

This is the part where it gets really hard because being transparent is something that needs to happen. The man I was married to has a beautiful soul, I didn’t see any of his imperfections, I didn’t see any of his pain, all I saw was someone that desperately needed to be loved just like I needed to be loved. Maybe, just maybe I won’t screw this up and if I love him hard enough he will see how great I am. His life wasn’t an easy life and right off the bat I knew what I was walking into. It didn’t matter though, because I saw his heart and so I tried to carry his burdens. I pushed myself to the side because he was more important, I had to save him… I had to save him so he could save me. My ability to love myself went away, my ability to feel joy went away, my ability to feel anything went away.

It got to the point where the thoughts of just going to sleep and never waking up were more satisfying than a box full of fluffy kittens. And if you know me, a box of fluffy kittens would have made my whole life. The first time I met Jesus up close and personal was the day my life changed forever. There was so much love coming from every direction that I didn’t know how to keep up with it. My eyes were starting to open to what life is supposed to be like. And wider my eyes opened, the more I realized the situation I was living in wasn’t a healthy one.

The more I tried to listen to God, the louder the voices got in my head to drown out his word. Those voices have been tormenting me for years. “You’re fat, no self respecting man would want to be seen with you on his arm. You’re fake, if they could only see what you’re like when no one is around. You only want attention.” Those voices were coming straight from the pits of hell and I was DONE listening to them. God released his light on me and he told me to walk towards him. I walked… and it’s been the hardest walk I’ve ever had to endure. The love I held in my heart for was so him pure, so real and it consumed me. God told me it was going to be okay as long as I trust him.

Since I’ve been on my own,I’ve experienced every emotion a person could have. Depression, anger, rage, hunger, snacks & drive thru restaurants. I may or may not have watched the note book a thousand times, but that’s for another time.

The point is, God needed me to stand here and give my testimony so I could reach out to women live and have lived in similar situations. It’s going to be fine and I know this because my Jesus is alive and well.

I surrender

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Do you remember your first memory? Think as far back as you can and what’s the first thing that pops up? My very first memory was my grandpa’s face. He was looking down at me with joy on his face and he was playing with me. My mom told me he would always come in before bedtime to tuck me in. She told me I was around the age of 3-4 when he passed away, but I remember him so vividly. I used to grab his face and ask him why he had salt & pepper all over his face. He would sneak me sips of beer when my mom wasn’t looking, so every morning when I woke up, I’d find myself at the dining room table drinking whatever was left over in his beer can.

I also remember the day he was buried… I hugged my mom’s leg and all I could see was a pile of dirt and a bunch of people crying. My little heart had no idea what was going on. All I knew was that the beer cans weren’t on the dining room table anymore, there was no more being tucked in and there was no more squishing his wrinkled salt & pepper face.

To give my true testimony, I must start at the very beginning, as far back as I can remember. God told me to write and that’s what I’m going to do. Growing up, I was a tom boy and I played with hot wheels & GI Joe toys. Many, many trees were climbed, tons of forts were built and it as always just me & my cousin Jeremiah. We fought over the TV, we stole each other’s toys but we were best friends. My mom was a single mother and she did amazing job being my mom. It has always been just here & I, So, growing up a lot of time was spent with my grandma.

My grandma was my best friend in the entire world. She had eyes on the back of her head, she was an excellent cook and we would talk for hours. Kids have a million & one questions a day and she answered every single one of them. She taught me about our family history, she told me what it was like when she grew up and she loved me. I was her favorite!

Around the age of fifth teen I got a little rebellious… Okay a lot of rebellious and I was shipped off to go live with my dad. It was the first time I had ever been away from my mom & grandma. My dad and I barely knew each other, I met him around the age of 10 and the only time I got to spend with them would be during the summer months. He lived in Massachusetts which meant I was a long way from Georgia, and I spent my second year of ninth grade in a high school with people I didn’t know. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed living up there with my new family but that wasn’t my home.

It got to the point where my grandma was having some health issues, she had a heart attack at one point which lead to having a few major surgeries. So, when my mom called me to let me know she was having another surgery I wasn’t at all worried. My grandma was a superhero and there was no way she’d ever die. My mom had me flown back to Augusta since I was on spring break so I could visit. Grandma’s surgery was on Monday and I got there on Sunday. No one told her I was coming so being able to surprise her was such a blessing. I remember the look on her face as I walked into her hospital room and I also remember my mom & aunt leaving the room, they left me in there with her so I could spend quality time with her. It was like no time had passed, we talked & talked & talked & talked…. It was just like when I was little asking all my questions.

The next morning before the sun came up, all my family huddled around her hospital bed before they wheeled her off into surgery. All I could do was just stare at her as everyone kissed & hugged her. I was the very last one to kiss her and I will remember for as long as I live the final words, I said to her, “I love you grandma, I will see you soon.” She passed away during the surgery due to her lungs collapsing. My cousins & I were at my grandma’s house waiting for someone to call. My aunt Donna & Fritzie had pulled up first and they were crying, that’s when I found out she died but I didn’t believe it. My mom pulled up shortly after, the minute she got out of the car I seen it on her face. It was real… she was gone… and I felt like I had no one. There is so much to the relationship I had with my grandma and I grieved her for a very long time. She has always been a very hard topic to talk about with people, because I miss her so much.

SShortly after her passing I turned seventeen and moved back to Georgia. It was my sophomore year in high school, and I was boy crazy. It was time to fill that void, so I filled it with a bunch of weed & sex. I dropped out of high school and about 6 months later I was pregnant with my son. Since no one cared about me I just stopped caring about myself. I willingly gave myself to the flesh of this world without even batting an eye. Walking around this world existing was the only thing I knew to do. When my son was born, I was barely eighteen and I had no clue what to do. My mom worked her butt off to take care of me & her newborn grandson because having faith in myself to take responsibility wasn’t an option.

By the age of twenty, I had two kids & still completely clueless on what life should be like. I got my first apartment in low income housing and since I had no money, I didn’t have to pay rent. I lived off a small check, food stamps and determination to find a man so I could take care of myself & my kids. My self-worth was not a priority and all I wanted was a better life. If I could only find someone to love me then it would all be okay.

This was only the beginning on my path of self-destruction. Having to dig all this back up to share with you is going to be very difficult because there are things I don’t want to remember. I pushed it all way down deep inside hoping to never think about it again but the enemy keeps using it all against me and God knows I have a hard time talking about it but he also knew it would be easier to write about it. So here I am… I’m going to stay faithful to him because he’s always been faithful to me.

#iamawarrior

My man Jesus!

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Pastor Ray spoke about the three wise men at church Sunday. He talked about how long the wise men traveled to meet Jesus. It took them approximately two years, give or take, to reach him. When they met him for the first time, they worshiped him and gave him gifts because they knew he was their savior. My journey to Jesus took a bit longer than that, okay a lot longer but the result is unconditional love. So much love, that all I want to do is share it with somebody else. And this past Sunday.. God blessed me with that opportunity.

About three years ago, my friend Erica took me by my hand and walked with me through the doors of my new Church home. The moment I stepped foot into that Church it changed my life. Never in a million years did I ever think I would find myself siting in a pew on Sunday mornings. The more I went the stronger my cravings for the Lord became. I wanted to learn about Jesus and what his life was about. Don’t get me wrong, I went to church as a little girl, and I heard all the bible stories. Jesus was no stranger to me but truly believing in him was where I fell short.

So, here I am.. a total noob at this praising God thing and the desire to worship him just became stronger but the fear to show it overcame me. People all over the church would reach for the heavens, you could hear them all singing their hearts out and then there was this crazy lady that would stand up on the chair just so it would put her that much closer to reaching the Lord. (That’s a story in itself) Eventually I mustarded up the courage to tap my hand on the side of my leg and every now & then I would do the side to side swaying. There was no way anyone would catch my hands up in the air.

Now fast forward to present day, not only do I throw my hands up in the air, now I’ve gotten the courage to pray for people… in front of them… out loud. Praying has been my biggest hurdle. Lord knows I can talk a person to death but praying for them…. my brain flat lines. This anticipation builds up, I start thinking of cool stuff to say and my mouth opens… then nothing… just nothing! It’s so dumb! Why is it so hard to do?! Well, God chimed in and he said, “Just let me talk.” And he reminded me that I must keep walking forward with my prayer life so I can get closer to Jesus.

The past few Sundays at church during alter call I would stand up front if anyone needed prayer. The very first time I stood up there, my heart started pounding and I said, “Lord, please send me somebody easy.” I just wanted to pray for someone’s hurt toe or something like that! The more I got up for alter call the easier it got, but I would still ask God, “please just send me something easy.” This past Sunday, alter call came and up I went. This time I didn’t ask God for anyone easy. The spirit was all over me and I was ready to save the world. “Okay God, give it to me. I’m ready to do this!” Here came this lady, she grabbed me by the hand, and as I pulled her closer to me, I said, “How can I pray for you?” She started balling and buried her head into my shoulder. All I could do was wrap my arms around here and on the inside, I was freaking out! “What do I do Lord?!?! What do I say!!!!” I just opened my mouth and started talking, no clue what I said but after about 30 seconds my brain flat lined. She’s balling and I just kept hugging her! She needed to be loved on and that’s exactly why God sent her to me because he knew I would love her. God poured his blessings over both of us and I felt every bit of it. Even though I didn’t really say anything to her, I knew she could feel God’s arm wrapping around her and I was so blessed he picked me to witness it.

Prayer is what I feared the most, but it just takes practice. The more you stay faithful to your prayer life, the better it gets and I’m starting to see that now. Love wasn’t something I got a whole lot of and showing it to other people has always been a struggle. Now, I have no choice but to show people love because God keeps filling me up with it! It must go somewhere right?! My journey to Jesus is still a working progress but as my best good friend says all the time, “I’m not where I need to be but I’m sure not where I use to be.”

God is so good y’all! Open your heart and watch him work.