I imagined myself about 5’5 ft, heavy on the bottom & small on the top like my mother. I wanted a lovely apartment, a good boyfriend & a few kids. This was my idea of having a great life as a child. I didn’t want much & for many years didn’t strive for it. I remember having $5,000 in my bank account & I thought it was so much money. I had arrived! There was no stopping me. As the years passed, I encountered people who spoke into my life. I recall while in college my aunt taking me to upscale restaurants. I was used to going to Olive Garden or Red Lobster. Those were high end to me. Don’t get me wrong I still enjoy them both. However, there was a part of me that felt as if I could never afford or didn’t belong in certain places. It was unachievable, so I didn’t bother to entertain the thought much. When I’d look at the menus of these high-end restaurants, my first thought was always, “What’s the cheapest thing that’ll get me full?“ I recall going to this restaurant in Atlanta with my aunt & it was a old gutted mechanic shop that was turned into a fine dining spot. My aunt would always assure me I could order whatever I wanted, but 9 times out of 10 I stuck with my “cheap & full” decision. This time I ordered salmon, asparagus & salad. When the plate came, the salmon was smaller than my fist. I had about 5 spears of asparagus & the salad looked like a garnish. I tried to drink lots of water figuring it’ll expand the food in my stomach & if I ate slowly I’d get full. As my aunt drove us back to her house, I asked if she could buy me a burger? I was still hungry & although the food at the restaurant was good, I cared more about being full then enjoying the effort of the chefs spin on a salmon dish.
As years went on I met my son’s father through a family at a church I attended. He & I took turns in not wanting to attend church. One Sunday I was all for it and the next Sunday I wasn’t and vice versa. After years of dating, I got pregnant. My son’s Father & I tried to make it work. Neither of us had seen a successful marriage nor were we confident in our identities or knew our purposes. Unavoidably, we split ways leaving me to be a single mother. In the beginning, it was a painful experience. The only male I grew up being around was my brother & I felt I knew nothing about raising a boy. I recall rocking my one-year-old son with his stomach against mine for hours while he slept feeling like a failure. I couldn’t provide him with a family. I didn’t have an active dad for him. I thought about forcing the relationship with his dad to work. Maybe I was selfish in leaving. He cheated, lied, stole from me but we weren’t married & perhaps he’d change. Yet, when he stopped calling to ask about our son or come see him, my heart broke and I vowed I’d never be with him again. It took years for me to recover.
Church was one of those things I placed on the back burner. I’d attend depending on who invited me. I began to coast through life. Raising my son & advancing in my career were my top priorities. I started to mirror others success around me. I moved from my home state for a fresh start & career advancement. I bought cars cash from dealerships, earned 2 degrees, advanced in my career and bought a house. I was even dating a man I was crazy about. People would point out my achievements telling me how blessed I was. I knew I was blessed but not because of what I had achieved. What they didn’t know was that I still struggled with my identity.
I felt a constant torment that wouldn’t go away. I occasionally became suicidal. I wanted to leave my job, but I relied on it for my livelihood. It was hard to receive love from the guy I was with. It was also hard to express myself with him. I always felt as if with one lousy move he’d be gone. On one occasion, I remember driving home & tears started to fall down my face. Nothing happened to trigger it; I just became overwhelming sad. When my son noticed he asked me what was wrong? I said I didn’t know &…I didn’t. I began to think maybe I was bi-polar. My moods began to swing often. I’d be high on happiness then low in a dark place. I’d force myself to open the blinds & get up to take care of my son. Telling myself “Doing what I need to do is more important than what I want to do.”
One night in 2014 while asleep I dreamt I was in a church. When I woke up, I told myself if I could find a nearby church that starts around 10:00am, I’d go. I found just that. A church 8 minutes from my house. I heard about it previously on the radio when driving to pick up my son across town. I got up, got my son & I ready & headed there. There was a guest Pastor & he preached about Joseph of dreams. I sat there in awe feeling as if he was speaking about my own life. He did an altar call & it looked as if 95% of the church went up. He then spoke to a few members about what God gave him to say. With my hands lifted I began to ask for forgiveness. Next thing I know I open my eyes & the Pastor is pointing at me. He says, “This whole message I preached was about your life.” He began to tell me that God wasn’t giving me a new chapter in my life He was giving me a whole new book. God was not upset with me. That the weight & tension I’ve felt in life is being lifted. I was told that what happened in my life had to be the way it was. I walked out of there feeling weightless, free & revived. By the third service, I joined the church.
Unfortunately, my habits didn’t change much. I didn’t read the WORD and I hung out with the same friends as before. I was reluctant to make new friends with members at my church. When I did attempt…if they did something distasteful I judged them harshly. In time I backslid right back into depression, fornicating, drinking & picked up smoking. I figured if I’m going to hell I might as well enjoy myself on the way there. I was a lukewarm Christian.
Through God’s love & saving Grace I felt Him pursuing me as I wandered the wilderness. In 2018, I rededicated my life back to the Lord and finally made up my mind to surrender to Jesus Christ. I’m not the only one God pursues. Through the Holy Spirit, He urges all His sheep to accept Jesus Christ. (Matthew 18:12-14 ).
When I think about myself as a child not wanting much, finding out I was pregnant unexpectedly, rocking my son as I cried, feeling like I’d failed him, driving down the street with tears falling down my cheek to the point where I couldn’t see out my glasses; He was there. Just like He was, is & will continue to be here for me; He was, is & will be there for you. He loves you more than you can imagine & wants the very best for your life. It’s a gift only He could have given you. As my days go on, I commit myself to Him #DyingDaily to my past, my hurt, my pain, my disobedience, my addictions, my pride, my hardened heart, idolatry and more. There were never His will for me. My relationship with my Heavenly Father, my Savior, is my top priority. He’s worth it. The more He shows me who He is, the more He shows me who He created me to be without tarnish.