Real BFF

In my worship time tonight, I was listening to “You’ve Been a Friend” by Israel & New Breed and was just reflecting on moments of my life where I needed to lean on a friend, but didn’t have the capacity to reach out to anyone. My life was such a mess. I was in my pit and was cool with it. Apathy was so common in my life at that time and NO ONE KNEW.

But God Knew. And in that time, when my life didn’t even matter to me, he breathed new life into me. LITERALLY. You can read more about my attempt to end my life in a previous blog. Fortunately God recrafted me in that dark place. When I didn’t want to be bothered by a soul, God was my BEST FRIEND.

“When I look around and see where I’ve been; You’ve been a friend. Glory, honor, exaltation, power, blessing, worship, love without end; You’ve been a friend. There’s not a friend like you”

Alive in South Africa – Israel & New Breed

Thank God for deliverance. He saved my life once again. He lifted me from that pit. When I couldn’t cry out to anyone for fear of judgment, ashamed that I failed once again and my life wasn’t all it could have been, God was my best friend; my savior, my glory, and lifter of my head.

I’m not sure who needs to hear this, but God is everything you need. No matter how dire your situation looks, no matter who has left you, no matter what you have or don’t have after the trials of life have swept through, GOD IS WITH YOU. He wants to have a relationship with you. He wants to be the one you call first when things are great and when they’re horrible. Allow him to be the best thing that’s ever happened to you. He will save and change your life. Don’t believe me, read about it for yourself. Let him be your real best friend forever.


“I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.

2 He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire.

He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.

3 He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:1-4


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Life is Going to be the Death of Me

There have been so many heartbreaking reports of death by suicide in recent news. My heart hurts for the loved ones left behind. The people who have so many questions and didn’t have any clue that their loved one was suffering. I pray for the souls that have departed.

During the journey to who I am now, I too thought suicide was the best solution to my issues. I was 28, a single mother, my dad died that year, I lost a great job and despair was my daily mentality. I felt like I was worthless failure and no one would want me. As a result of this, I prematurely had my tubes tied. Nothing seemed to be good in my life. I couldn’t see the good because I magnified any issues I had.

How did the people around me miss it? I didn’t tell anyone. I put on a good front when I was with family and friends. I would go home and wallow in depression. I’ve always encouraged others and did anything I could to help people. But I couldn’t help myself. I had a therapist and was even taking antidepressants. Those things were only a band-aid for the wounds (some self inflicted) I’d collected over a period of time.

On a weekday not long after I lost the job, I dressed as if I were going to work, and set out to take my youngest son to daycare (he was 3 at the time). I came back home and carefully and strategically wrote death notes to a few key people. I had instructions on how to get my son to my mom, what to do with my stuff and other information. I then got my newly prescribed bottle of antidepressants and a 1/5th of gin to wash them down and I lay down for my forever nap.

Plan interrupted. One of my son’s cousins knocked on every door, window, and wall. I heard the knocking and thought I was dreaming. But I slowly woke up, looked around and remembered what I was trying to do. In the moment, I asked God why I was still here. I was disappointed, because the same things that plagued me before were still there.

How did I move past that? It’s a great question. I pressed. I considered who was left in my life in spite of the problems in my life. I had weak, but new resolve to be better. Work has to be done in order to change your mindset.

  • Pray. Accept the issues you have. Ask God to heal your heart.
  • Do something about the things YOU can fix.
  • Dwell on the good things in your life. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8
  • Socialize. Isolation keeps you from a strong network and people that love you.
  • Be kind to yourself. Show yourself grace and compassion. Stay away from self depreciating talk.
  • If possible, make plans to do something fun; take a road trip, go to the movies, plan a weekend trip.

If you find yourself suffering with depression, anxiety, or anything that could cause you to think about suicide, I pray that you get the help you need. You’re not alone nor do you have to struggle alone. You are loved, cherished and valuable. Don’t ever forget that!

You will LIVE and not die!

Residue

**Please Note: This blog is actually a Facebook Memory from December 1, 2015. It’s still so relevant today. Here’s the Original Link: https://www.facebook.com/tanisha.w.taylor/posts/10208552099024229


I can’t stop thinking about the word #RESIDUE.

By definition, it’s a small amount of something that remains after the main part has gone or been taken or used. Oh, y’all know what residue is; The lingering smell of weed after you’ve sat in a cipher (Group weed rotation forth for the people who don’t know); the stickiness on your floor after something sweet has been spilled, but not rinsed; splatters of oil left on a stove after cooking an egg sandwich.. You get the picture.

But when I think of my life, and many of you may be able to identify, the residue is anything left from my past; anything that didn’t quite get washed away from my experiences. Regret, Shame, guilt, restlessness, hopelessness, brokenness, apathy, double mindedness…But what I love is just like the father of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15, God accepts us with open arms, residue and all.

He doesn’t care about the stench of where we’ve been… He cares about us coming BACK. He cares about COVERING us, loving us, restoring us and using us for HIS glory. No matter what residue lingers on you, bring it back to the Father. The blood of Jesus is more than capable of washing you white as snow. You are still of value. You are still a part of God’s plan.

Most of all, you are STILL LOVED!!!! #WashUsLord#NoResidue#BeWHOLE#OhHowHeLovesUs

Lessons from Tybee

One of the greatest things about being at the beaches the sound of waves crashing on the shore, hearing the playful sounds of seagulls and watching the sun rise or set on the ocean. I LOVE LOVE LOVE being at the beach and when I thought of my yearly ‘me-cation’, I planned to visit Tybee Island, GA. For an overthinker such as myself, I researched everything I wanted to do, created a checklist for food spots, etc. What I didn’t plan on were so many in your face life lessons. For those who don’t know, I tend to look for the lesson in different situations, probably because this has been one way that God consistently speaks to me. Sometimes it’s a gentle nudge, other times, a smack in the face.

I got both of those today while exploring what is also known as ‘Savannah’s Beach’. First, In spite of my fear of heights, I climbed 178 steps to the top of the Tybee Island Lighthouse. Looking up from the bottom while in line to go up, I imagined every crazy scenario that could happen… Again, the mind of an over thinker. When I finally reached the top, the fear evaporated when the view of what God created came into sight. I could do a complete 360 around the top and see the entire island. It was beautiful.

Lesson 1: Stop allowing what if’s and unlikely scenarios to keep you from seeing what’s ahead of you. Every 25 or so steps, there was a landing and a window area where you could rest and acclimate yourself with the height and a different viewpoint. Once I reached the top, the feeling of accomplishment was high. (Trust me, if you are afraid of heights, you understand)

Lesson 2 was the slap in the face. I was venturing to downtown Savannah, found a great place to park and saw some awesome sights. I deliberated about catching a hop on hop off trolley to explore more of the city, but there were several other things I wanted to do. I went back to the car and found that I was sandwiched in between 2 cars that over parked… (so afraid to be in the middle of their space, so they were super close; THE NERVE). The crazy part was that the car in front of me came as I was walking away, so I could have asked them to pull up to the front of their space (Y’all, these were little cars and I’m so used to the Yukon, I tend to pick on people who can’t manage the itty bitties. SMH) Anyway, I didn’t say anything and kept going my way. Fast forward to returning to the car, I saw that I was STILL sandwiched in. SMH. There was a tiny margin of space, but even with my Yukon skills, I didn’t think I could get out. I sat there, talked trash, called names (don’t judge me), and prayed. Yes, prayed, because I literally felt trapped. I was overwhelmed and inconvenienced. The overthinking was starting again. It’s funny now that I reflect on it. But in the moment, I was pissed.

Why do we pray when we have an issue that needs to be resolved? Because we want a solution. I said out loud ‘Ok God, I believe one or two things will happen; one of these people will come back and leave OR I will be able to get out of this space with no issues. I moved the car forward and back, but the way I was parked on a busy downtown street and traffic was a hot mess, my nerves wouldn’t let me keep doing that. Then I proceeded to sit there and ruminate. Started that whole process over of talking trash, etc.. Then like a ton of bricks or in this case, a sharp back hand, I realized the truth in James 2:17 ‘Faith without works is dead’. What was I doing? Sitting there like I hadn’t already established what was going to happen. And the people didn’t come, so, option number 2 was still on the table. Move the car TT…

The lesson: You can have all the faith you want; you can even declare the decree of the Lord in terms of what will happen, but if you never take a step, God will also remain still. Don’t tie up his hands! Move! Take the first step! Open the business! Write the book ! (Talking to myself here) Register for the classes! Do whatever it is that you know you’ve been feeling the nudge to do. Stop making excuses and get to it. You can do It. And ESPECIALLY if God has spoken to you about it, MOVE! I hear you God.

I encourage you to conquer your fears. You’ll look back and wonder what took you so long to get that thing done. I even feel differently about driving over bridges after being here. Trust me, coming to an island will test your gansta if that’s a problem for you. When you pray, think about your course of action. Ask for wisdom and courage to make the first move. Don’t be afraid to fail. What seems like failure is really us getting our bearings before firm steps occur (think a child’s first few steps before walking). Above all, keep moving FORWARD! You only fail if you quit and you can’t move forward if you choose to stay stuck.

I love you and God loves you more! Be encouraged!

Desperation is a Place

*Disclaimer: This post contains sensitive content and may be offensive or traumatizing to some audiences.

I cringe when I think about some of the things I’ve suffered and endured; things that I thought disqualified me from being loved by God or anyone else. I know we’ve all been there. Sometimes it feels like ‘God, I don’t even deserve to get through this thing I did, this decision I made. It shouldn’t have been this way…’ The self depreciating goes on and on after we feel like we have failed and no longer have the capacity to do anything good.

I was in such a desperate place in 1997. I had to move from my apartment because of a roommate situation. Although I have 2 brothers I could have stayed with, I found myself ashamed at all that was going on and found myself in a familiar place: with the abusive ex-boyfriend from college. It’s funny how we say ‘I’ll never do this or that’, but we sometimes end up in that Lifetime movie anyway. Such was my life. While I was there, I also started seeing another guy and I ended up pregnant. This couldn’t be life! I already had 1 child out of wedlock and my parents were taking care of him while I get my life together after graduating from college! OMG, I couldn’t do it. I collected money from both men and had an abortion. Till this day, I can’t even tell you details about it. By now I was starting to get numb and hard hearted because of life anyway, so I didn’t think it would ever affect me. I didn’t tell anyone about it. The guilt was there, chipping away at whoever I was at that time.

Fast forward to 2001, I thought I was living a better life. I had my youngest son 2 years prior and his abusive father was not in our lives and I felt freer than I had in a long while. I was involved with someone I worked with at the time and we agreed it would just be a sexual relationship, no commitment required. At that point in my life, I thought I wasn’t good enough for a committed relationship anyway. After a while, I found myself pregnant again! What would people at my job and in my family think? I was a manager! I had some things going for me. And I also had a tough decision to make. At this point, I was actively being a mother to a child and knew the love that motherhood could bring. I fought with the decision, the stress and strain of it was agonizing. I couldn’t possible share this with anyone. The guy I was dealing with said he’d support whatever I chose to do….

I made another bad choice. While I still don’t remember everything about abortion #1, I remember every step of the second one, yes, an unbelievable second one. I was so distraught, depressed and guilty before even getting there. And although my friend drove me and stayed the entire time and even made sure I was ok afterwards; I’d never felt as alone as I did that day. Through the already jaded view of my life, I thought about all the choices I could have made and felt like this was the lesser of all other evils. I’d already been super judged as a teen mother. Although my parents supported me and pushed me to continue with my education, I still felt like a major failure. I didn’t want to face another round of judgement from the good people of Smalltown USA now that I had a second child out of wedlock and this baby would make 3.

It’s so easy to judge something you’ve never been faced with. Or caught in. No one can ever say they understand the effects of having an abortion if they’ve never lived it. Rather than think, oh this is another selfish irresponsible woman, it’s good to consider the background of why she thought that was her only choice. And that desperate choice took 30-45 minutes or less. Most of that time I was left alone while the valium took effect, and also a moment to make a final decision. It was literally the worst 30-45 minutes I’d ever lived through at that time, and at the ripe age of 27, I’d been through more than you’d think.

Afterwards, there was an emptiness I can’t even put into words; the feeling used to haunt me EVERYDAY up until a few years ago. I felt that I was a murderer, plain and simple. I couldn’t hold babies or be around people with babies. The guilt hurt so bad. Could anything else come from my life? The kicker – just prior to getting pregnant with my youngest son, I’d rededicated my life to Christ. I just knew God would leave me.

But he never did.

I felt led to share this, because someone out there is in this desperate place. I come not through the eyes of judgement, but to state facts from my perspective while IN this situation. It took me YEARS to even think about allowing God to heal me from the shame of all the desperate things I’ve done. I wasn’t being punished, I just felt like I should be. A few lessons I gained from this:

  • Pride will cause you to think you’re dealing with this alone, that it will be worse if someone else knows. Being desperate to keep a situation covered causes you to make quick, rash decisions. It took me YEARS to forgive myself for the two abortions. I made additional poor choices stemming from this that caused a domino effect in my life for years.
  • Because of the self esteem issues I already faced after the shame of a teen pregnancy, the abusive relationship I chose to stay in during college, the two abortions added to the cycle of shame and guilt in my life.

How do we break out of a cycle of desperation, bad decisions, then shame and guilt?

  • Acknowledge feeling out of control. This is where desperation stems from. There is a situation that seems insurmountable and we’re trying to figure out a way to resolve it. Praying and surrendering the issue or situation to God is always a great first step. I was basically a ‘Babe in Christ’ during these years of my life. So I didn’t have the same knowledge or wisdom I have today to apply this. Also confiding in someone you trust and sharing the issue is a good way to reduce the initial panic. They may of may not be able to resolve the issue, but they may offer better perspective.
  • If you feel you’ve failed morally, accept God’s forgiveness. Every failure is not sin, but guilt is definitely not far behind what we consider failure. Shame is the by-product of guilt. The enemy loves to pull us back into guilt and shame after God has wiped our slate clear. Apostle Paul gives us a clear image of God’s forgiveness in the first chapter of Ephesians verses 6 & 7. When God forgives, the slate is wiped clean Colossians 2:13-15.
  • Change the way you process decision making. Although you may not be able to control various situations in life, control what you can and always be mindful of the decisions you make before making them. A mindset change is necessary. Biblically, shame is an imagination that can be cast down, as stated in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5. Admit it, submit it, receive it (forgiveness) and forget it. Repeat.
  • Remember my statement earlier? That I thought God would have nothing more to do with me? Well, as I stated, he never left me and He never will. (Hebrews 13:5) We have to know this truth. Whether we choose to live a life as believers or not, He loves us and is always here for us.

Desperation IS a place. But it’s not a place in which you are doomed to stay. Remember other times you were desperate and things worked out for your good. If you can’t think of one time, contact me, I’ll be happy to be your ambassador to the place of grace.

I love you, but God loves you GREATER.

Lessons in the Wait 2

Welcome back! If you didn’t read the previous blog, I would suggest clicking HERE to catch up before proceeding.

So at the end of the previous blog, I shared a few things I learned while waiting during the planning and preparation of my mom’s funeral. It’s often during the worst times of life that God will catch our attention and if we slow down long enough, we’ll grab a lesson. I previously mentioned learning that:

  • The wait can keep us focused
  • The wait will create anxiety or a patient heart

I also learned that the ‘wait’ doesn’t have to be a WEIGHT. There are so many things in life that we have to have patience for; Some things easier to wait on than others. But what can you do in situations you can’t control? YOU KEEP LIVING. Regardless of your faith and beliefs, more often than not, we see everyday that life will continue to go on in the world around us, even when we have checked out and don’t want to keep moving. How do you do that?

  • A great start is remember the whys of your life. Prioritize things that need to be completed, started, etc.
    • What should have your immediate focus?
    • Is what you’re waiting on a necessary part of moving forward with a certain task? (Can you focus on something else while you wait?)
  • Remember that waiting is unavoidable. I was talking to someone much younger than me (20’s), who was expressing frustration about something that was yet to happen. I began to ask them about their process of waiting. I found out that they thought what they were waiting on would happen immediately, but were told to expect a certain lead time. The time allotted had not yet passed, so in my opinion, they caused their experience of waiting to be worse than it actually should have been.
  • Adopt the heart of a servant. Find a way to be helpful to someone else. When we take the focus off of our issues, there is a level of joy that comes with serving others. This may also bring awareness to other things that you should be doing while you wait.

Finally, make sure you’re not creating fear that you’ll never receive what you’re waiting for. IF promised by God, he may very well be preparing you for what you’ve prayed for. Also, stop comparing yourself and your situation to others. Your process is different from everyone else’s. In the end, Matthew 6:33 reminds us to refocus: ‘But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.’

Waiting forces us to answer the question, “Where is our chief delight?” If your delight is only in whatever you see at the end of your wait, then this wilderness of life will begin to feel like a death trap. But if our delight is in God and what he has for us, then we will find that he knows how to make rivers flow in the desert. He will give us a grace in developing patience and we will learn how to wait well.

Blessings!

Lessons in the Wait

I hate waiting too long for anything. Who doesn’t? And I’m not one of these super humans who pray for patience and all that nonsense… Because trust me, God KNOWS how to test your patience. And that’s exactly what he did to me on July 16, 2020, when we were scheduled to go view my mom’s body at the funeral home. It was something I didn’t think would be happening for quite some time. 2020 literally knocked the wind out of us. The pain of her loss was nearly unbearable… Nearly, because I’m learning that when we give up, or stop wanting to move forward, God is carrying us along, recharging us, loving us and giving us peace. During the near hour wait, so many things came to mind. I asked God what he wanted me to see in this situation, Where was the lesson or message? (I know that may sound weird, but fellow over thinkers understand)

  • The first thing that came to mind was that sometimes the wait keeps us focused. Some of us are extreme over thinkers and we nearly ‘what if’ ourselves to death within minutes. In this instance, I was super focused on one thing: why did my mom have to die? That was the only thing I could think of. I was hyper focused on how I would respond to seeing her in her final slumber; how I regretted not coming home in May for Mother’s Day or her birthday; how life would now be without her. FOCUSED. While we are waiting, we are sometimes consumed with the thing we’re waiting for. This could be good or bad. We’re in a constant battle to ‘capture our thoughts’ as mentioned in 2 Corinthians 10:5. We’re in charge of what we think, so we need to make sure we accept toxic thoughts and that we need a renewing of our minds.
  • The wait will either create unnecessary anxiety or a patient heart. Experts agree that occasional anxiety is normal, a part of life. It becomes a disorder when the triggers began to interrupt your life. An over thinker could be in danger of an anxiety disorder as we tend to play out many scenarios in our heads, excessively worrying. Patience, on the other hand, is defined as the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. How to practice patience? First, know that Patience is a FRUIT of the Spirit. If you have received salvation, you have the fruit of the Spirit operating in you. The level in which they operate is based on your relationship with God and knowledge of and obedience to his word. Are you focused on the issues of life or the God of our salvation, who can manage anything that plagues us? Being rooted in HIM causes our level of patience to grow, because we know his track record.

Back to the story. As our immediate family and a few close cousins waited in the foyer, (masks on of course), the owner of the funeral home called my name and asked me to take the first look at mom. Even after almost an hour of waiting, I was NOT ready. I wanted to melt into the carpet, disappear, shrink back into the chair I was sitting in; ANYTHING but be the first to go in… BY MYSELF. Oh the joy of being the only girl. Immediately, my sister in love Marcia’s voice blanketed me.. “You will have peace during all of this”. I went in the parlor where mom was, expecting to fall out, completely melt down… But the peace of God that passes all understanding met me. I simply walked over, saw how great mom looked, inspecting every single thing, and motioned to the funeral home owner that all was well. And he brought everyone else in.

Pheww! I was relieved. I felt the anxiety and worry about this moment fade away. And guess what else I learned?

You’ll have to wait until next week.

I know, I’m wrong for that… But while you wait, think about some things that have caused you great anxiety. What are you doing to combat that? What is something you’ve been waiting on? Are you exercising patience?

“Wait on the LORD: Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: Wait, I say, on the LORD”

Psalm 27:14

2020, the Sucker Punch & the Recovery

You’d have to be living on another planet to state the claim that you haven’t been affected in this year. We all came into this year proclaiming ‘It’s the year of perfect vision’, not knowing that we would definitely see some things that we’ve never seen. Everything started well…. But before the first quarter was over… A sucker punch we weren’t expecting: Corona. It made its way into our lives and changed everything. It nearly shut down the economy; closed almost everything, hindered travel and changed the way we do life… I’m sure you don’t need the reminder.

On the eve of New Year’s Eve, I can’t help but reflect on all of the loss that permeated our lives this year. Relationships ended, I watched people in my circle suffer because of CoCoRona (I have to make light of it somehow), whether economic loss or loss of family or friends. Then my own world was completely shattered on July 11th, when my superhero, my prototype of the Proverbs 31 woman – My mom – passed away. I struggled looking back and saw moments that I regret not traveling (against public policies) to see her a few more times; taking for granted that she’d be around when the smoke cleared. It’s been so hard. I’m struggling right now as I type to share these thoughts with you.

I can’t begin to tell you how taken aback I was when my son Chris called me with the news. In that moment, I couldn’t think about anything else that had ever happened in my life. I could only think about the fact that the very first person who ever loved me was gone. And even though it was NOT Covid related, it was a shock nonetheless. If I’d never been sucker punched, (And I have, but that’s a blog for a different day), this punch nearly wiped me out. I was driving when the call came through and literally don’t even remember getting home, let alone having the strength to call my siblings and other family members. If I didn’t know about the grace of God, I definitely got a fully intimate reminder that day and weeks to come.

For whoever didn’t know, a sucker punch is a to punch (a person) suddenly without warning and often without apparent provocation. I was definitely provoked. I wasn’t mad at God. I was just overwhelmed. Death is a part of life, but I’m fairly certain that at some point in my life, I prayed that all of my family died together so none of us would feel the sting of grief. Unrealistic, I know. But have we really been taught how to deal with grief, regardless of where it stems from?

How exactly do you recover from blow after blow in a year like this? In my time of study, meditation and begging God to tell me why why why this year has been filled with so much anguish, I found some interesting information about dealing with grief. Grief is universal. There’s not one formula for how to deal with it. The stages of grief have been listed as Denial* Anger* Bargaining* Depression* and Acceptance. But real life doesn’t follow a certain timeline or order; it’s just not that neat. Even Jesus chose to grieve when he knew the final outcome of Lazarus’ death (John 11:35). These are just a few ways that could help with grief as we ‘forget those things which are behind and reach for the things that are ahead‘:

  • Change your perspective about grief: It’s a natural response to pain and loss. Don’t let anyone tell you how to grieve or how long YOUR grieving process should take. Just don’t get stuck in an unhealthy cycle of grief and depression. Seek help if you do. Counseling is NOT TABOO!
  • Grief can serve as a purpose to refresh our outlook on life, to stop taking life and the people in it for granted. Ecclesiastes 7:2 implies this principle.
  • The feelings of grief are temporary. It may seem that we hurt and long for what we lost forever, but the Word declares in Psalm 30:5 that ‘Weeping may endure for a night, but JOY comes in the morning’. As with anything that God allows, grief has a LIMIT.
  • The greatest thing to remember that God never abandons us during grief. He always provides love, hope and GRACE. When my sis-in-love told me that God would give me a special grace to handle the events leading up to Mom’s funeral, I believed her, but didn’t know how it would play out. I thought I’d fall apart when initially viewing her at the funeral home, BUT GOD. I thought I wouldn’t make it through her funeral… But my shy self was able to address everyone… Only by the Grace of God.

My prayer for you (And me) is that we allow God to continue working in and THROUGH us. I pray that you give all of your sorrow to God. Let him manage all of your pain and everything that seems insurmountable. I’ve said it before and I’ll add more to it before I take it back: YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE STRONG. That’s what God is for. It’s a real thing to cast your cares on Him. I didn’t think I’d survive the long week in Smithfield, NC. A lot of us didn’t know how we’d get through 2020. This has been a LONG year in terms of the drama and foolery of life during the pandemic. But if you’re reading this, guess what? WE’RE STILL HERE. If that’s not a reason to give God praise, I don’t know what is.

Go into 2021 knowing that God has gone before us, and He is able to keep us.

Happy New Year Fam!

The Great Pretender

Because of my love of reading, I’ve always had a vivid imagination. I would spend summer days of my youth riding my bike (my car) all over town, climbing trees, playing in ditches, stealing fruit off of neighbor’s trees! I had limited time for dolls; After all, I was the cutest, best dressed tomboy ever! Outside was my playground and a whole other world.

As I got older, I used my imagination to block things that were bothering me. I wanted to escape my reality. I grew up in what many would label a normal 2 parent middle class family. Mom stayed at home, dad worked and all was well right? Yeah, all was well until I became a teen mom. From that point, this spoiled, only girl and baby of the family instantly felt like the black sheep. (Check out a previous blog about this.) Let’s be clear, NO ONE in my family called me a black sheep. It’s what I labeled myself. I’ve always felt like I was the sibling that had something to prove; I had to be ahead of everyone else; or I had to have just as many accomplishments as my brothers. However, I felt like I was always the one who lacked something.

Which brings me to my first point: When you feel like you’re lacking something, you will find a way to fill in that blank. I first filled it with reckless living. By the time I graduated college, I wasn’t so in love with my dream of being a fashion designer and live in NY. By the time I was 25, I had another baby out of wedlock from yet another abusive relationship. After a year or 2 of being the broken single mother, the cycle of “Doing Me” began. But guess what? I got caught up in my foolery and ended up pregnant by a co-worker in what was supposed to be just a casual sexuationship. SMH. I thought, How in the world was I going to redeem myself? I made the horrible choice at 27 to get my tubes tied. I became my own judge, juror and executioner. I’d decided my worth (or lack of) and didn’t think I’d ever catch the eye of someone who wanted me beyond sex.

Fast forward a few years… I’d sworn off men for a while, rededicated my life to Christ, was a faithful church goer and trying to get my life together and BAM! Out of no where, Mr. Right shows up on the scene. And he was interested… My next point: Sometimes when there is a promising situation, we think we need to make ourselves look better to fit in or seem more important. During our first real meeting, I make a comment referencing his organization and lied when he asked if I was a part of an organization. I shouldn’t have, but I said yes; It was an instant connector. We dated, we became close; Church, group outings… Where he was, I was. He shared secrets, I didn’t share enough, nor did I correct who I built myself to look like. After a break-up and re-assessment of what we wanted, marriage was on the table. I was the happiest I’d ever been, because not only did he really love me, but I wouldn’t be the sibling who was a lonely failure anymore. Something was going right with me for a change. Also, we discussed not having any other children right away (We had kids from previous relationships) and that was great because there was no way I could tell him about my tubes being tied! I would just have to get it reversed and let my insurance take care of it. (Or so I thought).

Happily ever after begins and then after a few years, the unthinkable: he asks me if my tubes were tied. Point 3: what’s the best way to get out of a catch 22 situation? There’s no good way. The lie had already done the damage; he already knew the truth. It was a big blow to our marriage and one I was haunted by until a few recent years ago. None of my rationalizations and explanations about how broken I was and how I didn’t think he would accept me made a difference. The fishbowl had a huge crack that neither tape nor gorilla glue could fix.

I couldn’t make up anything else. I had to face the lies that I told. It was the worst thing that could have happened. I’ve reviewed my life so many times, wondering how things would be if I’d just told the truth. And the reality is that if I told the truth, the tubal reversal would have been a small thing to do to have more kids. Just dumb. I also never had to lie about being a part of anything. What’s the lesson you ask? STOP PRETENDING!!!

  • KNOW YOUR WORTH!
  • Everybody will not like you, no matter how ‘perfect’ you seem.
  • The things you think you need to falsify or hide are likely not deal breakers. Discuss early and move on from there.
  • Know that your differences make you who you are. We all have something that no one else has; ON PURPOSE. God knew what he was doing.
  • Take your mask off and be YOU.

This broke me. I struggled for years to just BE. I hated myself before, and any progress that I made before even thinking about marriage was not enough. I never thought I was enough, period. But I know better now. I made a mistake that cost much. BUT GOD. He had to show me myself. Of course God will not just show you where you’ve been or where you are now; he’ll give you a glimpse of what’s to come. Take the time to have a serious relationship with God before trying to prove your value to anyone else. God has already validated you, qualified you and justified you. When we seek to get this from people, it will always result in loss, and disappointment. BE YOUR AUTHENTIC GOD CREATED SELF!

Now it is God who establishes and confirms us [in joint fellowship] with you in Christ, and who has anointed us [empowering us with the gifts of the Spirit]; 22 it is He who has also put His seal on us [that is, He has appropriated us and certified us as His] and has given us the [Holy] Spirit in our hearts as a pledge [like a security deposit to guarantee the fulfillment of His promise of eternal life].” 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 AMP

Lost and Found

When my kids were young, they’d sometimes come home with less than I sent with them to school – especially in the winter. New jacket, coat, etc… “Where’s your…..?” I’m sure if you’re a parent, you’ve asked this question many times! And kids RARELY know where they left something. So the parent then tries to ‘help’ them remember: “Where was the last place you had it? Inside/Outside?” Finally, the child is told to look in the Lost and Found area when they return to school.

/ˌlɑːst.ənˈfaʊnd/ The term ‘Lost and found’ defined: an office in a public building or area where people can go to retrieve lost articles that may have been found by others; practically all will either sell, give away, or discard items after a certain period has passed to clear their storage.

Why are you telling us this TT, we know what Lost and found means.

I’m glad you asked! It’s important to know where you are; where life and its experiences have taken you. What course are you presently on and whether or not it lead you to your God ordained destiny? This year has thrown so many for a loop. Sickness, Death, family drama and family destruction, catastrophe, pandemic, repeat… and not all of us have landed in the right places. I literally got the downloaded reminder from God today that I was rescued from Lost and found! I’m no longer in that place! The cycle that previously sucked me in was no longer holding me. I was reminded that the curse was broken back on Calvary… I just had to return (or be returned in this case) to my proper place…. GOD FOUND ME!

Just like the shepherd in Luke 15, he left the 99 to search for the one (us) when we stepped out of place and got lost. Who else searched for you when you were lost? Who selflessly left everyone else to make sure you made it back safely and didn’t get thrown away by the world?

Let this be your reminder that you are recklessly loved by God; he made you in his image; nothing can separate you from his love, He cares about everything concerning you; he has promised you a secure future, he rejoices over you with singing; His love for you will never change or end; He sacrificed his ONLY son to secure your connection to him; He called you righteous. I could go on and on about how much he loves you and me!

Be encouraged my friend. When you feel like you’re no longer necessary, that life has chewed you up and spit you out, when you think you can no longer hold on, GOD IS LOOKING TO RESCUE YOU!!! You don’t have to remain lost. You don’t have to be strong; I love the way Paul puts it in 2 Corinthians 12:9: “My grace is always more than enough for you, and my power finds its full expression through your weakness.” So I will celebrate my weaknesses, for when I’m weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me” The Passion Translation.

Live in victory….