Horror Turned Lovely

I have a heart for helping people deal with mental health issues, abuse survivors specifically. I want to work with young women who share my story. I’ll maybe open a foundation or start some type of program. I don’t know any details but I know I need to work with survivors face to face, hands on. I’m not sure how that fits into my life as a school teacher but I know God has it written in my plans somewhere. I think that’s why I was drawn to psychology when I first entered the university, it’s like he left a footnote on my soul and I had no idea. It’s amazing because it makes my recovery process worthwhile. When being whole in Christ should be enough, (but my flesh says otherwise) God always gives me even more reason to live. I know recovery is my only option because Christ is going to use me as a vessel. He is going to give me words to say and actions to take that will help other survivors recover. I have a long way to go but it’s comforting to know that God has plans for my story.

 A horror story turned love story… Wow… That’s awesome isn’t it? Only God can do that. Only God can turn something so dark, take something so undeniably horrific, and turn it into something beautiful. I am so grateful to serve such a wonderful God. 

Lord I ask you tonight to use me. I pray that you will rid me of my selfish desires and fill me with your love. I pray that you fill me in a way that it overflows and spills into others lives. Help me make my misery into my ministry, for your sake God. Speak through me and show survivors that they can do more than just survive, they can thrive. Lord Jesus I pray that whatever your will is for my life I will be obedient and others will be saved in your name because of it. Thank you God for all that you continue to do in my life. Thank you in advance for my complete physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. Thank you for being you God. In Jesus name I pray, Amen. 

My Testimony 

I think I’ve shared bits and pieces of my testimony but here it is in order and in it’s entirety (so far). Excuse any grammatical errors I wrote it exactly the way I would say it. I hope you guys can see how my God has written His story in my life. 

Growing up I would say my household was secular. Religion wasn’t banned but it was separate, it wasn’t something we practiced or talked about. At a young age I was curious and something was tugging on my heart and my mind. I knew that there had to be something greater than this life and there had to be someone responsible for it. So I started searching, I went to every church possible, I studied different religions and I was still confused. But I ended up becoming best friends with a Christian. There was something different about her and the Christian home she grew up in, the love and security  they experienced through Christ was what I had been searching for and wasn’t able to find in other beliefs. So I started going to church and learning about Jesus, who he was and what he had done. I didn’t know much but I knew Jesus was real and that I wanted to experienced God’s love. At 10 years old I prayed the sinners prayer and I was baptized by my best friends dad shortly after. I was so excited and on fire for The Lord. I wanted everyone to know Jesus was the way but I didn’t know how to explain or why I knew this. Also no one told me that horrible things still happen to Christians. I thought that once I was saved everything would be perfect. I thought that even when things went slightly wrong I would always be on the emotional high I got when I first came to The Lord. I didn’t know how to face adversity as a Christian. 

So the first storm that came my way I completed folded. Now I was 13 and I was dealing with heavy things no child should have to deal with. I had my first experience with sex and saying it was unwanted would be an understatement. I was dealing with depression, anxiety, low self esteem, and extreme amounts of anger. Like I was really angry y’all. At everything, at everyone, even God, no scratch that ESPECIALLY God. I was like what the heck man?! Life is supposed to be sweet why would someone who loves me put me through this? I wasn’t so convinced by this Jesus dude anymore. I drifted away and I was so lost. I held my pain in good though, no one saw the hurt I felt. My mind was hell, I was wrapped in an array of mental illnesses and I could not escape. Throughout high school I was running from Christ but he kept an eye on me, he was always near. I was in and out of the church, not fully convinced but not unconvinced either. I was still searching for answers and I was always lead back to Christ but I wasn’t ready to surrender my life. I was still angry and coming into college of course I wanted to do my own thing. 

Transitioning to college was especially hard because my parents were separating on top of everything I was already dealing with. I tried to repress all of the bad things, I tried finding satisfaction through my group of friends, drinking, and sex. Around the end of my freshman year I started going to a bible study called IMPACT and this lady, Jaye, our old advisor would not leave me alone. This woman was the definition of persistence man. I wanted to go to bible study and leave alone with my dirty laundry unbothered. But she would not let me! Jaye went through the Gospel with me one day and that’s when it finally clicked and this time I was surrounded by people who showed me what living for Christ looked like. That’s when I got involved on the leadership team, I was on fire again, but I was still toting my old dirty laundry. I was serving but I was still living in depression, I was still getting white girl wasted, and still hanging out with the same old crowd

Something was changing in me though, I wasn’t comfortable living like this anymore, I felt dirty and like my life was a lie because it was. I always planned on leaving the old things behind but I was scared, I didn’t know anything else. I had to go through something so dramatic and horrifying that my old self died because I would never be the same. Almost exactly a year ago, spring break last year actually I was on South Beach really drunk and someone took advantage of that. I was raped and I remember vividly after I left the hotel room trying to find my friends on the beach, crying in the sand, crying out to God asking him why? After that I wanted to die, I didn’t denounce God because this time I had concrete evidence of Christ, I had experienced him, but still I couldn’t understand why I could go through what I go through if he loved me. So I came to the conclusion that Jesus was real but his promises didn’t apply to me. 

Thank God I was surrounded by believers this time around. They wouldn’t let me drown. These women I barely knew invested in me and my salvation. I was real with them and they were real with me. Jaye continued to counsel me while Bryanna and Timeyin, a graduated student leader, stayed up with me through the sleepless nights, slept over so I wouldn’t be scared when I woke up from a bad dream,  prayed with me and prayed for me when I refused to talk to God. They were constantly encouraging even when I was unresponsive. I remember we were all crunched in Timeyin’s bed one night and I woke up from a nightmare to them praying over me. God was speaking to me through them.

 I finally realized God had not left me, he didn’t forget about me and his promises did apply to me. I experienced these promises and His love through the friendship I found with these girls. I was in awe of how God came through for me. I almost died by my own hands but he saved me like he always has. At that point I refused to continue living as a slave to my old life because I wanted people to experience His love the way I had, but I knew I couldn’t living the way I was. So I stopped cold turkey. I stopped drinking, smoking, having sex, just everything that I felt like was keeping me from Christ I trashed.

 Not everyone’s transformation is drastic but mine was. I lost most of my friends besides people in IMPACT and it was literally just me and Jesus. It was horrifying and amazing at the same time. He gave me a new life. Nothing I went through before mattered anymore. I finally dumped my dirty laundry and chose Christ. I’m not going to lie and say everything is perfect and that I’m always happy. I still struggle with depression and anxiety and I still get counseling for the abuse I’ve experienced. Sometimes I have really bad days but it’s different now because I know there’s someone who loves me unconditionally. I know there’s someone who will always look out for my best interest and won’t ever fail me. Even on the bad days it comforts me to know that there will come a time that everything will be perfect, I know that I will have eternal life and I’ll spend it with Christ and that in itself keeps me going. 

Weak Infants *** Featured Artist: Wes Harris

Weak Infants by Wes Harris

 I see strength in the infant
I know what you think
This fragile, and helpless, crying machine?
Can’t eat. Can’t drink.
Without seeking help.
How is this strength? Not helping yourself?
Strength is knowing I’m weak, and not strong by myself.
Admitting the flaws, placing pride on the shelf. I cry and I scream. Not because of the milk. But from having the right view of myself. Alone I lack. Alone I fail. Nothing can be done, apart from My God who prevails.
We outgrow the diapers.
But still make messes.
May not cry and go wild. But we continue our stressing. Gotta stop and think. What’s really apparent? If we call ourselves infants, who is the parent?
It’s God.
Without him we fall. Only fall short, his Glory is tall. We need him to live. We need him to speak. Because our strength is in him. In ourselves we are weak …

Here’s to the Twenty Something’s

Here’s to the twenty-something’s
Shout out to the 5 year old child stuck in your fully adult body
Hello to the ones who think they have it all together
And hey to the ones who know they don’t
Yay to being excited for new beginnings
And hooray to being scared too
….

This was going to be a poem but my brain stopped there. Those few lines basically describe my twenty-something experience. The difficulties of hanging on to my childhood, becoming an independent adult, and growing into the woman God has planned for me to be seems exhausting, but the older I get the more I see the beauty in “letting go and letting God”. The phrase doesn’t mean give up or stop working hard, what it means is to completely surrender your life to God no matter how hard that seems. It means to stop penciling him into your calendar and to let him do the scheduling.

These twenty-something years are so exciting and scary. Some are in a rush to have a family and others are still watching Saturday morning cartoons in their pjs (that’s me). Wherever you are stop and ask God if you are where he wants you to be. Start making moves (or remaining still) based on what he has to say. Stop comparing your journey to your peers because it simply is not your journey.

Enjoy your season and thank God for being consistent in such turbulent times.

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
(‭Hebrews‬ ‭13‬:‭8‬ KJV)

Wounded Warrior

Was once broken but is now made whole
Began as a story filled with pain and a future that appeared dull
Have you heard the Good News?
Her story will finish with indescribable peace and joy
The same youth and happiness found in a child playing with their favorite toy

Raised by black Detroit and the white south
confusion was never foreign
And Neither was a big racist mouth
Bigotry always cloaked in back handed compliments
“You’re the prettiest black girl I ever met”
“Your hair looks nice, you sure you wanna get that wet”

Wounded but not killed
Even when the enemy came to destroy and steal
Her so called purity, dignity, and self-worth
Stolen but ultimately she paid the price
Now she wanted out through pills or a knife
But there was something, actually someone drawing close
Who could heal her with a higher dose
Heal not kill and give her back what someone tried to steal

Jesus Christ allowed an end to his own life to keep her alive
She ran away but still He persisted and tried
Eventually she turned to him to accept his precious gift of life
And vowed to share the Good News to people wounded like her so they wouldn’t lose
It all, changed she was wounded but not dead
Due to the blood he shed
Fighting for her life she won
Her victory lit a flame in her heart she knew she wasn’t done

She fights for life
Not so much hers but for every person with an ounce of strife
For every person who has been hurt
Abused, suicidal, or kicked to the dirt
Christ wields the sword and she just relies the message
She uses more than just scripture and passage
Her wounds are her ultimate weapon
As he leads her to heaven
He drives and and she rides
Humbling herself and doing away with pride
She shares her single story
laced with the beauty and triumph of His glory

Called and Qualified

This morning there was a headline about sexual violence awareness on the front page of my school newspaper. I picked it up and memories began to flood in, not about the incident but about the people who offered me a helping hand in such a dark hour of my life. The victim’s advocacy empowerment program held my hand throughout the entire process and I am so proud that my school has such amazing staff.

Before I even got to that point though there was someone else. I really felt as if God sent him to be my guardian angel. A guy I was head over heels with at the time was wise enough to stop pursuing me in that way and just be the friend that I so desperately needed, and I hated him for it. I felt like I was losing everything and everyone and I just wanted something to be consistent, I wanted someone to invest in me and love me. What I couldn’t understand at the time was that was exactly what he was doing by putting my healing over relationship goals. He was the first person I told about the assault, the person who sat with me in the counseling waiting room, the person who made sure I ate, sat by my bed and woke me up when I had nightmares, he literally was there each and every step of the way.

Such a surge of emotion overtook me when I thought about all that he has done for me. A young man who is constantly questioning his purpose and value to society, God used to help me. When we first started being interested in one another he was the “broken” one. He was healing from heartbreak and didn’t understand where he belonged in the big scheme of things. It is now very clear to me that God used his brokenness and insecurities to get through to me. He was the only man who did not create anxiety and panic or induce flashbacks. I know that’s no coincidence, God was using a man who would see himself as unqualified, but he was handling a situation that only he could handle.

The saying that comes to mind when I think of this young man is, “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.” Which is so true when you look at the pivotal figures in the bible. Some murderers, thieves, liars, adulterers, and the list really does go on, but the amazing thing is God turns our weaknesses into strengths. My favorite verses instantly comes to mind:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2 Corinthians‬ ‭12‬:‭9-10‬ NIV)

Thank you God for using his weaknesses to speak to me when I thought you abandoned me.
Thank you young man for accepting the challenge and allowing Christ to work through you.
Thank you so much. I can’t say I know what your purpose in life is but you are valuable and you matter. Purpose doesn’t have to be confined to a career or what you do for a living. Everyday you can decide to live a purpose filled life by obeying God. You are a needed tool of Christ and you helped save a life, save a soul. God used you even though you didn’t feel fit.
Thank you God for “qualifying the called”.

Letter To My Future Husband

Dear future husband,

Wherever you are I hope you’re fighting the good fight. I’m right here in your corner rooting for your victory. I pray that you are not discouraged and are acknowledging God in everything you do. It’s hard waiting for you, but in the mean time I am becoming the woman of God our future family will need. I pray that you keep your eyes fixated on God and are not distracted by pursuits of finding me. His timing is perfect so be patient and become the Man of God He has destined you to be and the one our family will so desperately need. Please do not conform to the ways of this world. People are going to think you’re crazy but it will be worth it in the long run. Be “crazy” for The Lord. Stand firm in your faith so that people will see Him through you. One day you will look up and God will present me to you and everything that used to be hard will all be worth it. I pray for you often and know you’re praying for me too. I don’t know your name but I have faith that I will recognize your face because you will be a reflection of our beloved Father. When we do find each other just know I will love you faithfully and honor you with my submission. I trust that you will love me like Christ so loved the church and our love will be indestructible. We won’t always agree and we might fight from time to time but our marriage will be built on the strongest foundation, Jesus Christ. The world tells us that love like ours doesn’t exists anymore but don’t believe the lies!

“If you will dig deep and make Jesus the foundation he will make the impossible possible.”

Love,

Your prayerful future wife