It has been an inexcusable amount of time since I have last written in this blog, but I’m new to this, so cut me some slack, eh? I really have thought about blogging quite frequently, but with every passing day that I didn’t, I became more and more reluctant to get back to this space that I created to expose myself and open my heart to being shaped, nurtured, and deepened by those who read and interact with my thoughts. And so, here I am. Starting again, and hoping that I will be more diligent, more disciplined in being faithful to this blogging adventure that I was so enthused about months ago.
Since the last time I blogged, I have changed. My heart feels different, my mind feels renewed, and for the first time in quite a while, I have a beautiful, unwavering
hope confidence that my life, my marriage, my future, will be filled with purpose, growth, times of celebration, joy, and most importantly (for me) peace, because of the faithfulness and power of Jesus and his grace over my life. The realization and acceptance of this truth has left me feeling like I finally exhaled. So, yes, I am different. I am breathing again; trusting more in the power God, accepting the love and kindness of my husband’s heart, and I am more willingly engaging with the often times ,painful healing process that the Lord is walking me through.
I am a ridiculously reflective person. It comes quite naturally for me to journal and make self assessments for just about any experience in my life. A little over a month ago, while reading the book of Philippians, a book that I have read numerous times, this verse seemed to clamp on to my mind:
“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
As I reflected on this verse, and prayed, asking the Lord to make it my default mode, I began to become overwhelmed with sadness. It took me a while to put words to this sorrow, but I soon realized that this verse would be an instrumental component of my healing process. (I realize that using the terms ‘healing’/'healing process’ repeatedly on a blog makes one wonder,”What are you healing from?” For now, I will simply say that I am learning to come to right understandings of myself, humanity, and the true character of God. Vague enough? lol). This verse took 18 years of my life and said that it was all wrong. Everything that I had been taught, implicitly and explicitly, every motive that led my actions, it was all wrong.
I was taught to fight for myself. I was taught to never let anyone run over me, over-speak me, cheat me, disrespect me, touch my hair (it’s a black girl thing), take advantage of me, or hit me without me knocking them out.
I was taught to think about myself first and maybe others second.
I was taught to protect my belongings because they were…well…mine. My money, my food, my car, my clothes, my home, my cell phone minutes, mine, mine mine. I was taught to give to appear to be polite, but behind closed doors, I learned to scoff at those who dared to ask for MY things.
Reflecting on this verse brought me to tears as I grappled with just another radical lifestyle change that the Lord calls us to and the Holy Spirit makes possible for us to submit to. I cried for days, meditating on that verse. In the beginning, it was out of anger. I was angry that the common sense of the kingdom of God was so far from my experience and still takes so much effort to do on a daily basis. I was angry that I was not privileged to learn these things when I learned how to read, or how to multiply. And then I cried as I confessed and repented. I reflected on the ways that the Lord had/has been a Father to me since I began following Jesus 9 years ago, and the ways that he has been patient with me as I learn to spell my new names, “Chosen”, “Loved”, “Worthy”, “Forgiven”, “Precious”, and the ways that he has caught me every time as I transitioned from crawling in safe spaces to learning how to walk in right paths. And as I reflected on the grace of the Lord, and the ways that he has transformed my mind, my heart, my ‘default mode’, I confessed my brokenness, my selfishness for often times choosing to return to the lifestyle that I was taught as a ‘child’.
And then, I cried in celebration. (Can you tell that I’m an emotional creature?!) I cried in thankfulness that 9 years ago, I did not know or want to know how pouring myself out for the sake of others could bring so much life, fruit, joy, peace, and fullness. I cried and laughed (and probably would’ve looked and sounded like a dang fool) because I was in awe of Jesus and his crazy self (we’re tight. He knows what I mean), and how his insane, backwards ways actually bring beautiful redemption and restoration.
And now, after the crying (though more is surely on the way!) I am breathing. Inhaling the grace of Jesus, and exhaling, to the best of my abilities, an extension of that grace. I am clinging to Jesus, and accepting and reveling in his provision; in the tenderness and selflessness of my husband, in Mochi dates with those who have cried the tears that I now cry, in laughing long and hard with close friends, and in quiet moments of peace, I can now breathe.