Baby Steps

Dear self,

The only things that should be just black and white are the cookies.

Love,

A girl in need of grace

I’m learning that I see things so severely in black and white. And it’s not good for me. It cripples me in fear of failure and deprives me of the grace my God put in so much work to give me. Jesus did not die on the cross for me to be so hard on myself that I can’t experience His peace. Last week when I set the rigorous goal of losing 25 lbs in something like 60 days my brain immediately began to panic that I wouldn’t be able to do it and thoughts that I shouldn’t even try started surfacing. I was blessed enough to have one of my mentor/big sisters sit down with me and vision out my year. One of my goals was to work out in community once every two weeks and another was to get a gym membership by January 31, 2019. Well today is was January 14, 2019 and guess who got her membership?!?! That’s right, this young queen!!! This morning when I signed up, I told myself that I had to go to the gym tonight and that didn’t happen. I was tired after getting out of my Bible study at well after 10 pm and I was ready to go home and relax and blog and sleep. My initial reaction was to beat myself up, but I refuse to. I’m celebrating that even though everything in me was screaming, “RUN!!!” I signed up for a year long contract with the gym. My goal is to go 24 days out of the month so that it’s essentially a dollar a day. That feels like getting my money’s worth to me.

Speaking of money, when I initially visioned having a gym membership I kept saying I wanted it to be free. My mentor/big sister helped me see that I was demanding that it be free as a way to cop out of getting one. It was an act to blame not having a membership on the fact that I had to pay for it, instead of taking responsibility for the fact that I didn’t have a membership because I choose lazy a lot of the times and don’t want one. There are so many nuggets in this. 1) Surround yourself with people who can see you for who you truly are and for where you’re at. Often times those are two different versions of you that vary in authenticity. 2) Allow people to call you on your stuff. Facing your truths even when they are ugly is such a blessing and allows you to get out of circular patterns and grow. 3) I wasn’t seeing myself as valuable enough to invest in. A gym membership is an investment into my physical well being and I’m worth that. I’m worth the $24 a month to take care of my body. And by ruling out the membership if it wasn’t free I was saying that I wasn’t worth it.

Here’s to 2019, a year full of gym workouts, lots of grace, tons of truth, and people (including me) who remind me of how valuable I am in Him.

In His Love,

A Surrendered Crown

P.S. My heart is so grateful. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17 NIV) Thank you for being the goodest and most perfect gift and still being dope enough to send more. 

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Nineteen

Nineteen has been my favorite number since middle school. True confession: somebody’s son’s birthday was that day and I thought he was everything. News flash: he wasn’t or at least not mine, but never the less the number stuck.

The year I was nineteen was the end of my freshman year of college and a majority of my sophomore year. I remember how bitter sweet my nineteenth birthday was. It was my first birthday away from home and it was weird to be without my family. I didn’t know it on my birthday but that was the year my depression was really beginning to manifest. I thought that year was going to be one full of fulfilled dreams and accomplishments. And it wasn’t. Or at least that’s not how I remember it. I remember not wanting to leave my dorm room. I remember hating school. I remember gaining so much weight that I maxed out at 309. I came home from school and spent the summer partying to the point where some of my friends are still triggered by seeing me in a dress at night.

This year in 2019 I have a milestone birthday (not telling y’all which one because I fully intend to be one of those women who act like their age is life’s greatest mystery). Even though just like when I was nineteen and the number didn’t really mean anything it feels special. I’ve learned since age nineteen though. This time I know that if there’s going to be amazingness in my 2019 I have to put in the work to make it happen. Having said that I’m doing a 25 x 25. Lose 25 lbs by my 25th birthday (oops, secrets out). So if you know me in real life, hold me accountable. Remind me that I said this year was special. That I was going to do things differently. Don’t let me lazy my way out of it, Abba. Send your children to harass me.

In His love,

A Surrendered Crown

Note to self

Dear Ki,

I found a meme this week and it made me think of you. Remember how desperate you were to be loved? So you’d create whole marriages in your head and let unworthy men take you to their beds? It felt like it was at the drop of a dime. Did you think about the long term? Did you really believe that you could make it work? That you could make them want to make it work? That you could make us want to make it work? I guess you didn’t know that I was in you. You could only see the version of us that you are now. Don’t give up on trying to get it all together. It’s really worth it, sis. It ends up all better. And I’m not even at the end yet. Would you believe me if I told you new you values us? She carries herself with dignity and in God she trusts. I know you want it – a relationship with Him. Don’t confuse your “h’s”. The lowercase ones can’t provide the same things or fulfill all your needs. Would you believe me if I told you that you embrace it now when things get tough? You cry less. Almost not at all. You’re capable of more than you know. You’re completed by God, so let those guys go. Let go so completely that you scare yourself and run with your fears to the only one who collects every tear. No matter how hard the road may get. Please don’t stop. It’s too beautiful here for you not to make it. Let go of your life and let our God take it.

In His Love,

A Surrendered Crown

Rest and Responsibility: a personal pep talk

These are the moments that determine whether or not you are who you say you are. I am tired. Like deeply, on a soul level tired, but I have things to do. I gave my word that certain things would be done today and they haven’t been. I gave my word that I would blog on Mondays and I haven’t been. That’s not who I want to be. And if I’m honest, I wonder what I could have accomplished this week if when I felt like I needed a break I’d spent it in the Word of God instead of scrolling through social media. I wonder how much more energized and encouraged I would be in this moment. No shade to social media, but it doesn’t feed my soul and that’s what I need right now. I’m all for rest (and Lord knows I want and need some), but I think today I need to play on team responsibility. Thank you Abba for being a God of your word and the perfect model of integrity for imperfect me. Thank you for all the promises you’ve kept, and for all the ones you’re keeping that I haven’t even learned about yet. I feel you and I see your hand. Thank you for growing me. Thank you for your plan. Thank you for positioning and pruning. You’re everything. Thank you for a new me, a new degree (of glory), and the experience of being free. 

In His Love,

A Surrendered Crown

P.S. Theme music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vx6mfAgHDsY

Everything I Prayed For Preface

This season has taught me that when God answers prayers He does it His way and bigger than I could have ever imagined. I am currently so tired that I’m struggling to complete sentences, but I can’t complain because God has given me what I asked for. I prayed for grit and He’s developing it. I prayed to be planted and sprouting roots is not a glamorous process. I’ve been witnessing God move in ways that blow my mind. But it’s also required diligence, hard work, pressure, sacrifice, and faith that I couldn’t even fathom a month ago. The reality is that I’m too sleepy to blog. That’s where I’m at. So pray for a young queen. God, I wouldn’t trade it for the world, though. Keep doing your thang. I’m grateful. 

In His Love,

A Surrendered Crown

Familial Fulfillment

Growing up, it was just me and my mom. I was an only child until I was 11 years old and I remember always wanting siblings. When my mom found her husband he had two children, they adopted two, and ended up having one biologically together. Even though I always wanted siblings and a family the one I found myself a part of wasn’t the picture perfect arrangement I imagined. So I went elsewhere for familial fulfillment.

My friendships as a kid weren’t just with the friend, but with their families as well.  It was very important to me that not only my friends, but their relatives loved me as well. I  was always drawn to other people’s families. And that remained true in my situationships with men. I would ignore red flags and mistreatment not because I was so desperate for the guys’ affections, but because I wanted so badly to be and remain a part of their close knit family.

As I’ve grown closer to God over the past few years, God has removed me from the men and their families that I was not supposed to be cramming my way into. Truthfully, it’s hard. I miss their grandparents and wonder how they’re doing. I want to know what children look like now and see babies that have since been born. (To be transparent, I just ditched typing this post for a few minutes to internet stalk to find out. ) It hurts not to know people that I wanted so badly to be connected to.

Letting go forced me to focus on my own family. I decided that I would embrace my own family and prayerfully looked for ways to foster closeness among my relatives. For Easter, I planned a cookie making event with my grandmother for all the cousins. I began reaching out to one of my sisters who lives apart from the rest of us. I visited my brother and his family without my parents. I listened to God about the little ways that I could sow into my relationships and it worked.

It was surreal on Labor Day because I was with the family that I remember actively avoiding for years and it was so beautiful. I could see how He had grown each one of us, given us a fresh perspective, allowed us to discuss tough things and times with truth and grace, and interact with peace. The grass truly does grow where you water it. I am grateful for all the people that You have sent over the years to be my family when I wouldn’t accept my own. But I’m more grateful for the way You’ve brought me to a place where my family fulfills every role and purpose in my life that You created them to. Thank You for not stopping at bringing us together physically, but for knitting us together with your love, mercy, kindness, and truth. 

In His love,

A Surrendered Crown

Disappointment

This summer was hands down one of the best summers of my adult life. Believe it or not, this has also been a summer full of disappointments. Sometimes as Christians, we think that just because we are honoring and obeying God that everything will line up for us. However, our faith in Christ doesn’t promise us smooth sailing. It promises us peace, comfort, and that the rough times will be used for our good. The funny thing about “good” is perspective. From God’s perspective holiness is priceless in comparison to happiness. Good to Him is what grows us, not what keeps us comfortable or gives us the appearance of success to those around us. But God doesn’t make us choose, He changes us. Slowly, the things that make us holy also begin to make us happy as we spend more time with Him and become more like Him.

When I lost my job and God gave me peace to endure it with ease, I was grateful. He has provided for every single need and so many wants. Thank you, Abba. I was really proud of myself because I didn’t let the disappointment of losing my job push me into any of the willful sins that a less mature me was prone to. So when He asked me to apply for an internship that I never in a million years would have believed I could be accepted to, I did it. I did it with confidence in who He created me to be and with all the things He’s been depositing on the inside of me. When I didn’t get selected, I was disappointed. Big time. In my mind, I knew that I was supposed to be grateful for every door that God closes, but if I’m honest I feel a lot more warmly about the open doors than the closed ones.

This disappointment was bigger than the job loss for me. My mood shifted noticeably for a few days and I binged watched all four seasons of Jane, the Virgin. I told myself that after I finished the show, I had to be finished sulking too. The closer I got to the end of season four the more I dove into my Bible, pushed and worshiped in spite of my mood, and tried to remember everything God tells me about who I am. Ultimately, it worked and I was able to be proud of myself for not skipping all of the activities that I knew I was supposed to be at. Could I have passed on the week worth of binge watching? Definitely. But that’s where I was at. I could have left out that detail, but I want you to know that God can meet you where you’re at, and that you can call out to Him from whatever you’re in, and have Him help you to where you should be. I binge watched. I attended everything I needed to. God got me back to a place of doing more than watching tv all day. Thank you for being a God that will give me the room to binge watch a whole series, still love and interact with me, and then keep me from starting a new one. You’re always everything I need. 

Now a few weeks later, I am grateful. Grateful that I didn’t have a job this summer. Grateful that I won’t be in a different state this fall. Grateful for the way 1+1 doesn’t always equal 2 with God. I always end up better than I thought, better than I could have imagined, better than I deserve. Help me to remember that when the no’s feel  harsh and my plan tries to make itself more enticing than yours. 

In His Love,

A Surrendered Crown