God’s Story…

“Trust and transformation can only be born through the birth canal of trouble and uncertainty. The womb of never-ending happiness can’t produce the story that God desires we have. Adversity is the only path.”

– Jordan L. Rice

Chopped…AGAIN!

On multiple occasions, my mother has encouraged me to always be open to experimenting with new hairstyles, but me, being the somewhat conservative and ridiculously self-conscious person that I am, I tend to shy away from this notion.  I’m always thinking about what folks will say about the new hairstyle and worry if I will look good or bad with a  new do, but last Friday, I did something completely out of the ordinary.  On a whim, I decided to chop my hair off (again!) and get a completely new style.  Truthfully, I had no intentions of getting my hair done, I had simply been casually thinking about doing something different with my hair.  I was becoming tired of the twists, I was pretty certain that a relaxer every 6-8 weeks wasn’t going to work for me as I need both an exercise friendly and easy do, and the natural thing…well, I was getting tired of my resistant hair.  While there are lots of great products on the market now for women of color who opt to go natural, my hair is just a bit more kinky than I desire, and those nice curls that they claim to give…ummmmmm, well, I’m tired of still looking for them!  So, in light of all of these things…I decided to once again chop my hair off (and let the natural thing go).  I didn’t think about it, I didn’t analyze the decision…I just did it.  I was hoping my hair would look good once finished, but I had not a single picture that sorta, kinda looked like a style I may want, so I took a step of faith.  And, what do you know…I was pleasantly surprised after all was said and done.  Who knew it was so nice to actually be able to run one’s hands through their hair!?!?!

After the fact, I quickly realized that cutting my hair is much more significant than simply parting ways with several inches of  filamentous outgrowths of my skin.  It’s not simply a new spring/summer do, it’s a reflection of the internal transformation that is bubbling up in my life.  I looked in the mirror the day after the big chop and smiled back at myself and thought, “Whether people like your hair or not, you are beautiful”.  That certainly didn’t sound like me talking…beautiful is never a word I’ve used to describe myself.  Then, three days after the big chop, I found myself gazing in the mirror speaking positive affirmations to my own self about all of the things I have yet to see or do, but am still fully convinced I will accomplish in my life.  This is major progress…I wouldn’t even speak positive affirmations to myself when it was the therapist’s orders!

Parting with my hair is so much more than what meets the eye, it is symbolic of me parting with the girl inside of me who has harbored lots of self-hate and self-doubt, parting with the girl inside of me who felt so unlovable and undesirable, parting with the girl inside of me who didn’t want to look in a mirror because she didn’t value the image that was reflected back.  In cutting my hair, I cut ties with an old version of me.  Some people will never understand the significance of this moments in my life!  Some people have never truly felt left out, unworthy, or undesirable in their own skin, but I am that person.  I am that person who has had to work hard at loving oneself…it has never been second nature to me, I’m that person who has mastered the art of wearing the mask that grins and lies…that was my means for survival, but at the beginning of the year, I decided that I would intentionally change the messages that I allowed to infiltrate my mind.  Without hesitation, I can certainly declare that I’m now doing just that!

Until next time…peace!

DMW

The Moment of Surrender!

Earlier this week, I found myself overwhelmingly angry with God.  One of my normal responses to anger is sitting down to write, so that’s what I did.  As I began writing, these words came to mind…

Have you ever found yourself in a place where you were tired of praying about something?  You felt as if your prayers, even the prayers you revised so you wouldn’t seem so selfish when talking to God, seemed to be ineffective.  You repeatedly told God all of the things that worried you, you told Him all of the things that excited you, you told Him all of the things that you were thankful for, and you even had the audacity to ask God to move in some situations in your life.  You got down on your knees to pray, you prayed while walking to and fro, you wrote your prayers out in a journal, and despite all of these things, you still found yourself in a place where you weren’t quite sure if God heard what you were talking about!  That’s where I am this afternoon.  I’m tired of praying about some things in my life…it seems like God just won’t move!

I ask myself, what’s the point…things don’t seem to be changing…I deal with the same foolishness day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year and I’m tired!  My awesome and amazing God fails me time and time again, and I’m left thinking…Why pray?  Why continue to spend my time seeking the Lord’s face when nothing changes?  Why talk about the goodness of God when sometimes I look around and struggle to see the good in God?  Why pray?

I was in a bad place with God when I wrote these words, but after sleeping on these thoughts for an evening…I realized that although my feelings in that moment manifested as anger towards God, I was really in a place of complete surrender.  It was as I wrote those words that I was admitting to myself that the challenges God has placed before me have left me feeling scared, and perhaps afraid of failure.  For me, acknowledging that I’m scared is acknowledging that I need God to lead me, guide me, hold my hand, carry me, and show me how to navigate the waters that lie ahead of me.  I’m not paralyzed by fear, I’m willing to step out into the waters, but I need God to help me.

That’s a big deal for this stubborn woman of color…prior to yesterday, I don’t think I’ve ever publicly said out of my mouth to anyone “I’m scared”.  That’s just not me…even if I am scared, I’ve always felt a need to keep it to myself and maintain an outward facade that says either “I’m calm” or “Please, ain’t nobody scared of that”.  But yesterday, I let down my walls, I put all of my cards on the table face up, and admitted that it’s not that I’m tired of praying, it’s that I’m scared, I know I can’t reach the next place God is taking me in my life with my own strength, I must be totally surrendered and admit I NEED God’s help…I need God to calm my nerves…I need God to help me put down the analytical thinking cap and stop seeking complete understanding…I need God to give me the strength to relax, breathe, and let life unfold…I need God to lead the way because I’m too scared to step out into this terrifying place all by myself!

Funny enough, as these thoughts were running through my mind…I was reminded of my middle nephew.  Like me, he’s strong-willed…he’s always up for the challenge, but in those moments where he’s a little scared, he quickly grabs his teddy bear, “Bear”, as he affectionately calls him, to bring him some comfort.  He holds Bear tightly in those moments and won’t let him go until he feels at ease again.  And even when he puts Bear down, he always knows where he can quickly find him again should another scary situation arise.  I think that’s where God wants me to be in this moment of my life…freely willing to admit that I need to cling to Him and Him only because I’m scared…it’s not a time to be angry, it’s a time to cling to my source of comfort and strength and allow him to give me peace in this scary place.  And like my nephew, after I have the courage and strength to face the present challenge before me, I need to always be willing to quickly run back to my comfort when I can’t face the next challenge in my own strength.

If I’m honest, some of the challenges placed before me are truly “God-sized” and I don’t even know where to begin.  I won’t even speak them out of my mouth because I don’t want others to view me as a failure if things don’t go well…but I’ve decided to surrender to God and let Him work it out.

Until next time, may you find peace and the strength to surrender to the God-sized challenges that lie before you today!

Peace…

DMW

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