Friday, May 30, 2014

So Really, What Have You Been Up To?

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go" Joshua 1:9

First of all I want to apologize to all of my readers for dropping off without an explanation. This blog will serve as an update of my activities throughout this past year.

I've always heard the saying "be careful what you pray for" I never really knew what it meant up until now. In the past 5-10 years my constant prayer has been "God I want to live a life of purpose, I want to reach those that are in the greatest needs and I want my life to matter." What I didn't realize was to accomplish all of those things I would have to be strong and courageous and to honest with you, I was weak (I know in the Christian world being weak is commended but in this sense my weaknesses were not allowing me to progress; they were debilitating) and I was wounded with a tremendous amount of fears. And that was problematic because living a life of purpose means being strong enough to listen to the small and faint voice on the inside (the spirit of God) drawing you closer and closer to that purpose and responding to that voice in spite of fear.  To be unleashed to step into a life of purpose also means wounds need to be in check and I needed to start walking towards healing.  

My weaknesses were taking over and my wounds were invading everything that controlled the process of dreaming, which is a key component to living a life of purpose.

So God took me on a journey to develop my strength, help me heal from the wounds that have held me back and help me conquer some of my fears (Keep reading my blogs, I'll share some of that process or perhaps my future book).

The journey wasn't smooth and predictable but rugged and filled with surprises.

After years of wrestling, this past year God said "Ok now you're ready to enter into the next season of realizing why I created you". It's funny, finding your purpose has a lot to do with you aligning yourself with what God had already created you to do.  I think this is the first time in my life I sense myself releasing control and aligning myself to the purpose God had already created in me. 

So here's what I've been up to this year:

In August of 2013 I landed a job working with inner city teenagers at a charter school focused on meeting the needs of inner city teenagers. I thought I would not enjoy the experience because it wasn't on my radar of things I wanted to do but I've fallen in love with those beautiful and resilient young adults. It's given me many opportunities to work with immigrant families and first generation college bound children like I was. One of my greatest joys was the parenting class I was privileged to teach.  Most of the parents in my classes were immigrants and their stories resonated with my family's stories and again I fell in love with the strength and resiliency of those parents who were able to sacrifice almost everything for their families to have a better life. 

Another surprise was being hired to speak at 3 different events.  Let's just say I was beyond elated, I could not believe that God was using me a black woman, from a different country, with English as a third language to speak to predominantly white audiences.  Was I scared? Absolutely!  But when God unleashes you to what He has created you to do, you can't help but to walk in it in spite of fears. God breathed strength and courage in me and I walked boldly on those stages and breathed my purpose and helped women heal and find purpose.  By the way, in the past, I would never have extra income to attend these events but I was able to be a speaker at those events.  Who else but God. 

This year I also completed my 2nd year in prison ministry.  Every Tuesday night, after working with my students in downtown Dallas, I would drive to Dallas prison to work with the women. This experience has stretched me beyond measure, specifically how to sit and be in the presence of those who choose to make decisions that I do not condone.  There were some great days and there some days of frustration but in all God was present in every meeting.

The greatest surprise this year was being installed as an associate pastor in my church. Let's just say, there are times God puts things in your path that you did not even know were negotiable.  And this was one of them.  This position has been another stretching experience but every time I'd get on the pulpit to preach, I would feel my chains falling, I'd feel the power of God saying "you are mine and I've created you for this purpose".  Confidence has started developing.  Fears can no longer get in my way.  My chains were falling. I think God for using my pastor to know exactly how encourage and help develop me.  My chains are falling.

And after accomplishing all these things, I'd come home to the greatest family.  A husband that has always supported me in whatever the Lord had called me to do.  He's been my number one fan.  He's challenged me over and over again to follow God's vision and purpose.  And then there are my children who would say things like: "mom you're a pastor pray for me to get well because the Lord listens to pastors right??"  "Mom how was your day? How were your students?  How were the women in Prison?"  

This year is indeed a year of gratitude. I am beyond grateful for how God has cleared the path to show me that he is for me.

Let's continue to Elevate together.