Growing in Grace: The Journey of Healing through Rejection, Abandonment, Disappointment and Unmet Expectations

This has probably been one of the hardest blogs I’ve decided to write, partly because I rationalized with myself for the longest on how I would write it and whether it was even worth writing. Truthfully, I wrestled with God and myself because I didn’t think I would have the strength or emotional ability to write this. But then, God got me together real quick and made me realize that this life is so much greater than me,  and my feelings but it’s about helping others through their journeys, especially when I’ve been in that place myself and am still here to tell the story to someone else.

This journey doesn’t really have a beginning, middle, or end and that is mainly because emotional healing doesn’t have a definitive end or beginning. Only the person experiencing those emotions can say when they are ready to transition from the very things, people, places, and experiences that caused them pain. But here I am and here we go.

Describing this particular place in my life, a scripture and quote come to mind and proved to be the very writings on my own personal wall of life experiences.

Proverbs 27:6 NLT

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

“In the end we will remember, not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

This became painfully relevant for me as of the last couple of months. I greatly value my spiritual relationship and have been making a concerted effort to cultivate a very intimate and personal relationship with God. I had finally reached a place in my faith and within my faith community that I was open, loving, ready to spread goodness and joy to others. I was experiencing the fullness of life that I had heard so much from others, was the foundation of their burgeoning relationship with God.  Life was far from perfect in my own assertion,  but I was confident and ready to face it with my faith guiding me every step of the way.

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Photo Credit: Thelmathinks.com

 

Then life came at me head on. Unexpectedly. Without warning. Ripping away everything that I had considered a constant and something or someone I could depend on. I felt burdened by the weight of my own expectations for myself and what life was currently producing for me.  Although I understood that God still remained supreme in my life and was in control, I was just trying to make sense of things spinning relentlessly out of control.  While I understood his will and purpose for my life,  I struggled with him about some of the events I was experiencing, and if they were actually turning out for my good. There were few people who could empathize with the sense of failure that created in my head, and my steady push to do better for myself. Those who could empathize were out of physical reach and supported me emotionally.  But it still was a tough period to travel through, especially with what felt like uncertainty hanging over my head daily, and weighing on my heart even more intensely.

In addition to dealing with my own issues, and doing my best to stay positive and keep going, keeping the faith, and believing the best, my grandmother passed. Anyone who knows me knows that my grandmother and my maternal grandparents were near and dear to my heart. In the midst of  trying to hold it together for my mother and help her remain strong, I started looking to something that helped me keep going in the toughest of times: my faith and my faith community.

God NEVER FAILED ME. NOT ONCE.  I began to understand, appreciate, expand and look at our relationship in a new light. I began to see him as the loving, faithful, merciful, gracious, good Father that I had read that he could be in my Bible.

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However, much to my surprise, my faith community much like all human beings will do from time to time, left me with a mix of varying emotions, all with some degree of pain attached to them. The long and short of it is that I felt that after hours of spending time together, discussing faith concepts, praying for one another, breaking bread with, feeling loved, and what I believed at the time was acceptance. Then this eerie shift happened.

I suddenly felt nothing but rejection, abandonment, disappointment, and unmet expectations in a time that I really wanted, needed, and hoped for more but got less than I ever could have expected. I expected and waited carefully and  quite patiently for someone to show something more than a shallow expression of forced concern but it never came.   It was like a dagger was driven into my heart. I didn’t quite understand why people who claimed to love me never asked,  “How are you? Do you need something, anything? Are you mentally holding up? How can I be there and walk through this with you?”  It hurt me, in ways that I never imagined that I could hurt. I was so confused because while all the interactions felt real in the midst of doing life with my community, my recent reality had me questioning whether I was tripping, whether I imagined it, or if it was all fake.  A mere mirage. Smoke and mirrors.

It was so lonely, heart wrenching, and heart breaking, just because I had so many unanswered questions. I didn’t understand why a community that I had given myself tirelessly to, took a position of indifference and a laissez faire demeanor towards me. I kept racking my brain to figure out where the breakdown happened, and what I could have done differently.  And I allowed myself to feel this hurt and walk through these emotions. But after feeling terribly, I decided to not unpack and live there. In the midst of all this, I learned and discovered a few wonderful things.

  1. I learned a new level of compassion I probably wouldn’t have realized for others going through difficult times
  2. I realized who was in my corner and fostered a new level of respect and  gratitude for them. I even fostered some new unexpected relationships with people who stepped up and filled the gap in ways that I never could have anticipated during this difficult time.
  3. I began to look at my relationship with God in a new light and realized that he was not like people and still wanted me to spread his love, compassion, concern, and joy as well as,  message of redemption to others.
  4. Everyone has a different capacity to love and to not hold others accountable and feel like there is a fault in you, because others can not meet the level of love you expect from them. Let God’s love be the cup that you receive from and then pour into others.
  5. Don’t create expectations for others until they have demonstrated that they are actually capable of achieving them. Unmet expectations can breed frustration and therefore you can break your own heart.
  6. In difficult times, cling to God like crazy and he will fulfill your needs and give you the strength to endure and heal your broken heart.
  7. Learn to forgive yourself and others, especially with the apologies that you often times will never receive. It’s more for you, than it is for them.
  8. Keep trying and keep going. Everyone isn’t going to hurt you. Even those who hurt you may not be doing it out of malicious intent but just out of an inability to emote in an appropriate way that you need them to, so accept that and release it.
  9. The pain will stop, you will get past this moment, and you will be able to assist someone else and let them know that they will get through this as well and reassure them that they are not alone.

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While I am not 100% assured of where this leaves me at this time, I can say that I am learning to walk with God through this period and allow him to lead me to a place of full restoration and finality surrounding this situation.  I pray that God helps those who feel like a man or woman without a country due to not having a reliable faith community to turn to, and that God mends those broken relationships.  I pray he also continues to turn the hearts of his people towards true brotherhood and sisterhood to their fellow brothers and sisters, both in good and tumultuous times.

I pray this ministers to someone who is going through a difficult period and feels alone. I pray that God covers you in his unconditional love and that you remember and are reassured that God is close to the broken hearted and crushed in spirit. I believe that by making myself vulnerable and transparent someone can be guided from the pain of darkness and into the beauty of light.

I would love to hear from you and hear your comments or thoughts so please feel free to comment or leave me a message below!

The journey of waiting in anticipation

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Life is full of moments where we are waiting in anticipation for something. Whether we are waiting for an appointment, our heart’s desires to be manifested, or simply in the checkout line at the grocery store. It can often be difficult to wait patiently as we live in a society that values instant gratification over the harvest from a good set of seeds that were planted and came into full bloom. But if we are to develop good character and be truly fruitful when we reach the point or place we are waiting on our attitude and disposition in the waiting room,  is just as important as our attitude at the point our number is finally called or we receive what we’ve been praying, waiting for, and anticipating. If we wait for our circumstances to be ideal to walk in the fruits of the Spirit,  are we truly living by faith or being led by our feelings?

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I am a believer that gratitude and a good disposition attract beautiful experiences, energy, and blessings that God desires for our life,  which are vital to our growth. Negativity and entitlement leave us wound up, bent out of shape, and just restless in the process of waiting and  are sent as spiritual attacks  to defeat you in the process of waiting. I believe that these attacks are sent to create despair, desperation, frustration, a sense of hopelessness, and in general attacks to derail you from your purpose and from walking in the full promises of God.

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I get it, you want it now! You don’t want to wait. You’re frustrated, you’re over it, and you just want what you want without having to keep looking at the clock , trying to figure out when it will happen and how it will happen. I’ve been there myself and have some things that I’m like “Alright God, any day now”.  But then the Holy Spirit checks me real quick like “Your life and my plans for it are greater than the time lines you set up for me and what you feel like you need. Continue to trust me and don’t rush ahead of me”.

 

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You see what I am coming to realize as I continue waiting for the manifestation of some things I desire is that God is concerned with my character as he prepares me for my destiny and purpose. My spirit needs to be yielded to however God chooses to move no matter what that may or may not look like because it’s trusting God and not trying to force his hand but allowing everything to flow beautifully as he intended. He never intended for me to be anxious and for my focus to  be on those temporal things but totally dedicated to Him and doing HIS WILL in my life.

So when I feel my emotions going off the rails or I am tempted to be impatient with the process I am comforted by the following scriptures:

Psalm 84:11 NLT

For the Lord God is our sun and shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.

Lamentations 3:25 KJV

The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

Psalm 37:7 KJV

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him; fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

Hebrews 10:36 KJV

For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

Philippians 1:6 KJV

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath began a good work in you will perform until the day of Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 13:12 KJV

Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh it is a tree of life.

Romans 8:25 NLT

But if we look forward to something we do not yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.

Just a few but there are so many more jewels that help me get back on track when I am hanging on to waiting by a thread.

God is never going to forsake or fail us. He’s with us even in the waiting with tears streaming down our faces, frustration pangs in  our hearts, very near to giving up. He’s there. Waiting for us to release and LET GO and allow his beautiful masterpiece to be weaved. Let’s commit our deadlines, our desire to control, and our impatient spirits to our loving Father and find true rest and the beauty of being about his business working willingly and being productive and joyfully full of hope despite the wait.

Be encouraged and don’t give up. The wait may be frustrating but God never disappoints and he always exceeds expectations no matter how long the wait for the PROMISE,  for he already fulfilled the greatest promise through HIS SON. I can’t tell you when it will be over BUT I CAN  guarantee you it will be WORTH IT!

 

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Endurance: The key to sustained faith and victory

 

 

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Endurance is one of those things that is both hard to talk about and even harder to experience but it’s such a vital part of any faith and life journey. Without endurance many of our favorite athletes would just be names without a vision or purpose attached to what they are supposed to do and the lives that they are supposed to touch. Even more so, would we even know their names or their stories if they had just given up when things got rough?

If Lebron gave up when things were tough going for the Heat he would not have been able to assist the Heat in becoming NBA champs in 2012 and 2013 and bring a championship home to his home state in 2016. If Walt Disney had given up on himself and his dreams and allowed what he didn’t see to discourage him and keep him from going we wouldn’t have one of the greatest and most magical theme parks known to man to date. But the greatest champion of them all, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ would never have been able to defeat death,sin, sickness, hell, and the cross if he had allowed defeat to overtake him and lose sight of the greatest victories that were yet to be won.  Even more so, he would have missed out on an opportunity for a people he never met to experience the greatest love that they would ever know and the greatest testimony of all time that spans generations, nations, and time.

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If I can be very transparent, my own level of endurance has truly been under attack these past  couple of weeks. I know that God is able to do any and everything because he has shown himself to be faithful and good in my life many times over. But each time we are growing in faith we are getting a new and more in-depth chance to trust God like we have never trusted him before. And in trusting God we are ABSOLUTELY NOT trusting ourselves in anyway, shape, or form. And to be honest as a recovering control freak that is downright scary sometimes. But God has shown me he will never leave me or forsake me and that if I let go I can fall right into his loving and caring arms and protection. I may not know what’s next BUT I can take comfort in the fact that he does and if I just put one foot right in front of the other and continue trusting HIM he will direct my paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

I have been there where I have cried tears, felt a pain so deep in my heart, and have been hanging on to dear life by a mere thread and have just wanted to give up because what I was experiencing FELT EXTREMELY HARD AND UNBEARABLE. But at my very brink, God always imparted an extra burst of strength into my spirit and the wisdom and desire to keep going and start praying and fasting even harder to combat the attacks of the enemy on my mindset and my spirit. I know for sure that 2 Corinthians 12:9 came to life for me in those moments but I cried out for strength because I felt so weak and God’s grace truly became sufficient for me.

God also showed me that the enemy was coming for me because I was so committed to living for him and continuing to trust in HIM and walk by faith. When you’re trusting and believing in God and enduring through various circumstances it tries your faith but it also can be the opportunity for you to know what or who your faith is in. The enemy would desire to weaken your resolve, steal your joy, put a damper on your faith, and overall keep you from fulfilling your God given purpose and touching the lives God intended for you to touch. But it’s so important to continue enduring, pressing forward, and taking away quitting as even an option. The only option is to TRUST GOD and push FORWARD. You have to get to the point where you laugh at failure and defeat and resolve that no matter what you are going to push through despite what it might look, feel, or seem like and push forward.

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I am so encouraged by these two scriptures:

1 Corinthian 9:24 ESV

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

 

2 Timothy 4:7 KJV

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.

Surround yourself with positive community, friends, family and loved ones who are not going to allow you to give up on yourself or God, don’t give into those negative feelings or thoughts and cast them down immediately (2 Corinthians 10:5), worship God like your life depends on it(trust me, it does and he’s so deserving and worthy) and just hang onto your faith. Your faith is only going to grow when it’s been activated or stretched, and it can’t be based off circumstances or situations but rooted in the knowledge of and experience with the God you serve. (Ephesians 3:16-20)

 

I pray that you stay encouraged, that you don’t give up, that you endure and press forward knowing that you are not alone, that your life has purpose and this walk is so worth it, even when you can’t see or when you can’t quite find your way out,  that you be assured with the reassurance that you are victorious through Christ and that both you and your faith will be sustained and God will see you through, cover you, protect you, guide you and provide for you. Be encouraged and hold tight to God’s promises! I am standing in agreement with you! You will be victorious and become even better than before!

 

 

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Growing from Faith to Faith

I can honestly say that growing from faith to faith has been one of the most amazing experiences that I’ve had since #adulting. And believe me when I say that I haven’t arrived or even made it a little bit. But it’s also an intentional daily choice to deny my lower self and acknowledge the thoughts of God and my higher self. It’s a choice to believe that all things truly work out for the best for those who believe in God (paraphrasing Romans 8:28)

And that is the hard part. Because it requires nurturing of your soul. Making choices that divert from the beaten path and choosing the road less traveled. The uncertainty. The moments of anxiety and denying the inner desire to control ALL of your outcomes. But I often hear the saying when you want to change you have to leave some things behind that don’t match or won’t fit your new destiny. Essentially new levels in anything require that YOU LEVEL UP and become a newer, more refined version of your former self. You see each of us receives a measure of faith from God (Romans 12:3-8) But we have to constantly be “leveling up” and feeding our spirit as well as acting as co-curator with God to get to that next level and throwing aside anything that keeps you from truly believing and seeking God.

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And with any new voyage you are sure to uncover unchartered lands.  But that means God is going to birth a new boldness, grace, and level of faith as you place your hand in His, and trust that he is greater than whatever you face. One thing I I’ve also noticed is the spiritual warfare and shift will be indescribable. But this will require you to put extra effort to be sensitive to guarding your heart, exercising your prayer life like never before, fasting, and growing from the milk of the word to the meat of the word and maturing in your faith to truly be effective and carry out the purpose that God put you on this Earth for. (Hebrews 5:12 and 1 Peter 2:2) Most of all, it requires a level of trust that you never knew you had to ignore what you see and remain focused on things that are unseen. The very foundation upon which is faith is built off after all.

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As a familiar saying goes ” Faith doesn’t make sense, and sense doesn’t make faith”

So keep pushing, believing, and relying on God for your daily bread all the way up to your wildest dreams. He far surpasses expectations and you are growing every day, so keep putting in good seeds and allowing God to mature your spiritual fruit and be prepared for an amazing manifestation and even more intimate relationship with God!

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Walking by Faith NOT Fear

WALKING BY FAITH NOT FEAR 

The sinking pit in your stomach. The feeling that at any given moment it all could go wrong. The overanalyzing/overthinking, the calculation, recalculation and plans A-Z if 1, 2, or 3 were to happen. These are all common things that I must admit at various times I’ve experienced and struggled with. Stating with my mouth that I am going to believe but doing everything in the books to work against myself and my beliefs and what I was trusting God for.

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A constant spiritual and emotional battle fighting against feelings of inadequacy, doubt, hopelessness, insecurities, and in general paralysis that keeps you from moving forward into the best version of yourself and reaching those goals you’ve been longing to reach.

 

BUT…… What if we were to replace all those negative feelings with positive feelings, affirmation, and faith? What if you took a deep inventory and began to understand what prevents you from tapping into your higher calling and authority in God? What if instead of anticipating all the ways that you believed that you would fail you just walked into the victory of being confident, persistent, tenacious and focused? Don’t you realize there are people connected to your goals, vision, purpose, and life? I often sit and wonder for all those times I allowed fear to keep me from pursuing an opportunity or acting in alignment with my best self what calling from God did I miss? What opportunity to be a blessing or receive a blessing did I allow fear to steal from me? How could I have grown had I just stretched myself a little further outside of my comfort zone? Am I really going to let uncertainty rob me of the chance to go higher and reach new depths?

What I’ve learned and what God has been showing me over the past couple of months is faith has to BE ACTIVATED. It’s great to SAY you believe but that belief becomes real when you get the opportunity to doubt, worry, or just act in unbelief and you choose to believe that as Romans 8:28 tells us God works everything out for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose. NOTHING IS WASTED. No time period, experience, event, interaction is wasted. It’s all a part of your unique blueprint for the story that is being divinely created for the manifestation of your destiny and HIS glory.

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You see fear is a natural human response but it shouldn’t stop you from pursuing the calling of God on your life nor keep you from enjoying life. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that God has not given us a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. Thus, divinely to reach your highest potential you need to activate your power, walk and allow all your acts to radiate love and keep a clarity of mind about you despite what your feelings may be telling you or your eyes may be seeing. Faith isn’t logical, but neither are some of your biggest dreams and goals. Every day you are going to come to a cross roads, giving into your fears and staying stagnant or letting go and applying faith and expecting the best outcomes and doing the work internally, personally, professionally, romantically,  whatever capacity desired by working with God to reach them.

The beautiful thing that I have observed about children is that they know no fear. If they are fearful, it is only because it has been learned or told to them. Quick story: I was about 11 years old and was still playing with Barbies. Nickelodeon had this drawing for a Barbie and a Barbie tour bus. I entered into the contest expecting to win. I prayed about it (my parents always instilled the importance of a prayer life in me) and forgot about it. About a month later, what showed up on my door step but a Barbie and a Barbie tour bus. I didn’t obsess over it, I didn’t worry myself into a frenzy, I didn’t doubt, I just did the work, planted my seed of faith and believed the rest would work itself out on its own. I think thats definitely a vital lesson that can be emulated from children.

So I challenge you and myself today to continuously and unwaveringly  walk by FAITH, set your fears aside, do the work, and watch God work.

How do you do that? Well I am glad you asked.

  1. Commune with God about His will for your life.
  2. Meditate on the purpose and will and be open and obedient to how God may cause it to come to pass in your life. There is no formula, just a process of being obedient, faithful, faith filled, and a willing vessel.
  3. Guard your heart from anything that may cause distractions, unbelief, doubt or triggers that will cause you to be deterred from the work God is trying to do in you and through you.
  4. Be vigilant about protecting your faith because you are going to have opportunities for people, places, events, circumstances etc to poke holes in it or fill you with doubt.
  5. Be expectant for something AMAZING to happen that more than surpasses your expectations and blows your mind. Faith has a way of being chock full of opportunity for miracles and for God to show up, show out, and show his people and their doubters he is SUPER FAITHFUL and sovereign.
  6. Last but not least show gratitude for where you are going and respect your journey. Each step you make to walk by faith and every day that you wake up putting one foot in front of the other is a step in the right direction.

Never give up, never stop believing, don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s and never forget you are fearfully fashioned and treasured.

XOXOXO

Jazz