“We Just Wearing Designer Fig Leaves..”

WE WERE LISTENING TO THEIR SONG, THEN TEARS CAME

“You don’t need bells or whistles, or flashing lights. Just your testimony.” Words heard clear as day from God a minute ago.

When you’re putting the girls to bed, in their own room, and tears flow because you flashback to a time when you were all in the same bed. Just 6 months ago. Homeless. But, together. 

He deserves ALL the glory.

Sometimes, I feel myself “trying.” And when I say trying I mean, doing what I think is necessary to get my message out there. To change lives, and help people, and do what I know I was created to do. But often times, when we are in the pursuit of pleasing God, our flesh can get in the way, and block His original vision, with the one created by a few accolades and a witty idea. When you feel like you’re letting Him down, you will hear lies of defeat, but it is to stop you completely. And we can’t have that.

 I’m human.

I make mistakes, and I learn from them, with the hopes that there won’t be a next time…but how many can raise a hand and honestly say…you did it again? Unfortunately, I think many of us can. It doesn’t mean the end though. It is merely a delay, in what could have been a shorter trip.

What comes to my mind when I think of the word “success” is money, cars, clothes, jewelry and extravagant trips to other countries with no worries. I think of followers and views and recognition from human beings just like you, with no actual authority to make or break you, unless given. But THAT is the world’s view on success. Any many f the people have the stats, don’t have a clue what to do with it.

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SUCCESS AIN’T SOMETHING YOU CAN HOLD, ITS SOMETHING YOU FEEL.

When I search my heart, success to me is a whole family. A house who serves the Lord, wholeheartedly, seeking His will daily, and living content, with a confident expectation. It is looking myself in the mirror and seeing a whole woman. Heart full, clean, and spirit renewed. Soul mended and mind regulated. I think of financial freedom, so that I can help someone without ever having to care if it comes back, or giving to whatever cause I see, with no limits. It is hearts, minds, and souls delivered by the words of my lips, quoted straight from the mouth of God. Humbled and ready to be used. Success to me is living in joy, and being able to enjoy my life in freedom while doing what I was created to do, with no boundaries.

We all fall short, but is it best to fall short and get back up, or fall hard and lose the strength it takes to recover because of pride?

For my success, I have to be honest. I have to be diligent. I have to be willing to not fit in, and not chase the glitter and glam. What good is any of that, with no true worth on the inside? I know, from experience, that losing everything will make you understand how important your inner diamonds are. That your rubies and gems are within, and can be used to give to others who are without, when it matters most. You may not always understand why you think so deep, feel so much, and reach out with no return, until it will be all you have, and it will then be worth more than you knew, when it felt like chaos.

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Live a life that speaks of your identity. That is true to you. Not what you hope to be, or who you think they want. Believe me, in the end, there will be someone who has some of the same qualities you did, that He will use to get the message across, but THAT person was willing to lay down their “likes” for the message. You will see it, and it will all click, but you will have missed that opportunity. You may have another, and when you do, take hold of it, and don’t let go. YOU were the one ade for it. Own that.

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Please, Forgive Me. My Insides Were Sad.

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” -Alice Walker

I had been surrounded by my sisters, (in-law) who had just given birth to their sunshine. Smiling faces, and celebrations. But, I was over carrying her. I wanted MY sunshine. And now she was here. So why was it so dark? There were only so many faces and animals and abstract things you could make out in the curtain in your bedroom. “If only she could talk right now.” I thought to myself, alone in a two story home with the chill of fall whispering across my window panes, and no one to talk me out of my inner pain. Just a couple months old, and her father was unsure how to help, but consistently made it worse. (Unknowingly) He didn’t want to “talk about it.” He didn’t understand it, and didn’t know how to handle it.

“The Statistics. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 11 to 20% of women who give birth each year have postpartum depression symptoms”

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* Cue first time mom in the 11 to 20%*

I think as women, sometimes we plan things out in our minds just perfect, with the genuine notion that nothing could go wrong in the execution of it. And when life steps in to remind us that  we are not in control, our emotions, if not tamed, tend to send out a reaction to our disappointment. Sometimes in a form we didn’t see coming, or seem to feel unable to control from occurring.

They Love To Call Us Unstable Creatures

But, what if we lost our balance from time to time because of an unstable environment? If I had felt the company around me wanted to know what was wrong with me, or could sense it, I may have been open to talk. To express my feelings. And feel heard. A step toward healing. But I was a stay at home mother, with friends who had no children at the time, and family who were scattered about. I was alone. Inside. And that’s just it, right there. People came in and out, friends of her dad, and family to check on me. But, inside, I was screaming, “HELP!” This girl, the one who couldn’t seem to break free from an unmistakable sadness, she wasn’t me. But she wouldn’t get out. I never tried to be a woman who justified her wrong behavior, but this was different. How did I get here in the first place? I had no longer felt the undeniable bliss of possibilities leaping from within. Hope. I had lost hope. And my future seemed non existent, though a miracle had just squeezed it’s way out of my loins, in the form of a girl.

Suicide Nagged At Me

It was a nasty little sucker. And I so badly wanted to answer the call. To follow through. It nagged and poked at me, telling me it could save me, that I would feel no more of that endless pain. That the sun would come out, when I closed the curtains on myself. Lies. I knew they were. And one day, after almost following through in a puddle of tears on the bathroom floor with a kitchen knife, an intervention happened. He saw my pain and called my dad. And his mom. Best decision he could have made…they finally asked me what I was feeling. They reminded me who I was. That I had more power over this imbalance than I knew. And after what felt like a huge breakthrough, I could finally look into her eyes. Like only her mom could.

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I willed life into my bones. Life into a heart that felt like pumping was a task far beyond its abilities. I breathed in air that previously felt like a baby bird who longed to soar with a wing, but it was broken. Broken. I was broken, before. Lifeless, life, full of promise and allure, and all I could do was shed tears for my past. Shed tears for the time that was. A time I thought was better. My future stared me in the face with no past. Only me. She had felt my pain. But couldn’t process it. She had felt my love, though she needed to see what that looked like. And now, my future stared, blankly, and I blankly gazed back. I wanted to see it with eyes of wonder, eyes of hope, and faith that I knew I would make it proud. Make her proud. And deep down, I knew, I knew that I could. I had to escape the grasp of regret. The cold, malevolent grip of “what ifs” and “should haves” needed to let go. NOW. I had a life to live, for her. My future. And she wasn’t going to wait until everything was perfect. She was gaining on me with each second she breathed.

Change Is Now.

Not later. Because later may not have come, had I not made that decision.

If you are dealing with depression, from me to you, YOU can BEAT it! I was so low that I didn’t know that level existed, and yet I still got up. You ARE strong enough. You do have enough. You are GOOD enough. Enough. You are enough. Your power lies in your words. Believe you can beat it. That God has purpose for your life. Depression shsmession!!! In making that choice for myself, now, I am alive to tell her the same one day.

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Your anxiety or depression can not combat with your mind if you don’t allow it. Fight. And keep fighting. And each day you win, by waking up, you are a little step closer to freedom. Just when you least expect, your light will shine again. You are never alone. They need you. Your child(dren) need you. When you see their smile, and it lights your soul up, remember the Apple didn’t fall too far from the tree. That dope tree of yours. 💕

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We Are Not In Kansas Anymore, We Are Homeless.

This has been one of the BEST years of my life. And no, best is not an exaggeration.

Have you ever woken up, before your 2 year-old asks for nuggets, and your 1 year-old begs for attention, and thought, “I need to google homeless shelters before this week ends..”???

Well I have.

And it’s hard. It pokes at your heart like a rusty engine tool, or someone squeezing it with no remorse, while you try to think thoughts of positivity. You feel like your whole world is being taken away on a specific date, and you can do nothing about it. But get ready, and wait. I was being evicted. And all I could think about was, of course, my daughters. They are young. Full of hope and adventure, and I suppose, my only moment of anxiety came when I realistically considered sleeping at the park with them. I figured, I would be the lookout, and they would have their favorite soft, plush pink blanket, and their mother right next to them. They would be okay. They would chalk it up as an adventure. A getaway.

I never thought I would be in this position. I was just working hard, dropping them off at their sitter…their sitter. I lost my babysitter. And because I was in a new town, with no one to look to, I had to watch them myself. But, that also meant, I would lose everything, while gaining time with my girls.

I was homeless this year you guys.
Not like live at a friend’s for a bit, or sleep on your parents couch and pay the electric bill. Real life home-less.

The girls and I had nowhere to go. My parents offered their help, but I wanted to stay where I knew God wanted me to be. I didn’t want to move back home. I knew my opportunity was here, and that going back home meant another burden, and another L.
The day I left my apartment with the girls, I had no car, (it was taken a couple weeks prior) so with Amiya on my hip, Melody next to me, a duffel bag, two large satchel purses, and their diaper bag, I slowly started walking down the road, very slowly, toward the park. Within my first steps I wanted to break down and cry from the weight of it all on me. Then I thought of Jesus, walking down the road with His cross, and I knew I could do it. He carried this weight before I did, and His strength began to fuel my insides. “Mel!! Don’t let go of my hand!” She couldn’t seem to walk in a straight line away from the road without me. But projecting my frustration would make her feel exactly what I was fighting against. That something was wrong. Finally, first stop. We made it. I unloaded our things on the bench and exhaled. It was hot, and we needed SOMEWHERE to go that night…or we would be..at the park.

But, I was prepared, and I had hope.

I prayed. I thanked God in advance for keeping us and making a way. I did NOT know what we were going to do, because all the places I had called were full. Then God directed me to a number. I called. There was an opening. The security guard at my apartment complex gave the girls and I 10 dollars when she saw me walking, and juice for the girls. First sign of provision. It was my gas money to get to the shelter. The rest is history.

Going to the shelter allowed me to ENTIRELY depend on God for EVERYTHING. And though I was sometimes surrounded by people who felt things were hopeless, I had hope. I had a key. A life hack. I had the Bright and Morning Star on my side!!! Each day had endless opportunities. Each day posed a question of who could I help? Who could I serve? Where would this little light of mine shine for the day? My perspective was not dependent on my situation.

I knew it wasn’t our last stop. God has shown me a number of visions, so I knew I was created for more. So why be down? Why be scared? Nervous? Afraid? The Creator had my back and was already preparing a place for me that would knock my socks off. But I had to pass the test. I had to endure. With the right attitude.

This generation prides itself on SELF RELIANCE! But, this experience, greater than any has taught me to not rely on my own capabilities, but to keep my faith in God. That what I hold inside exceeds anything I could ever own or buy. It further confirmed that my greatest joy is when I’m helping someone else shine. When I know I was a light.

A lady who worked at the shelter came and followed up at our new place a couple months ago and told me that I was a light. That I encouraged people, that I was a walking bible that some would never read. She was watching me. DO YOU GUYS KNOW WHAT THAT MEANT TO ME?!

ME, little old me. I had picked others up when I was down myself. When I had absolutely nothing, I still had everything. More than those around me. And now, I know, so much deeper, and will never forget where my value lies. I am not ashamed of my testimony because if only one person pushes on because of it, IT WAS WORTH IT.

I put fear aside and put myself and work out there, for the first time, during that time at the shelter, and I’ve gained key connections, and still gaining. The girls and I have a crib with a ceiling so high I could climb a latter in the living room and stand on top and not touch it. We have a lake view. And the list goes. I’m not quitting until I see His vision come to fruition in my life! I worked hard and in a month’s time gained everything back and so much more! But with a new perspective. Rather high, or low, I have learned to be grateful, humble, and content, in every circumstance. And still growing.

This Thanksgiving, definitely took on a meaning far beyond words.
The picture below was taken at the shelter. 6 months ago. My princess Mel. I still sang to them in our time space. I still played peek-a-boo, and tickled them to no sound came from their mouths. We went for walk, caught the bus, and frequented the shelter playground. The girls helped me to never miss a beat with living every day. It wasn’t going to wait for me to be happy. I had to choose life.

“I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret [of facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need. I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose–I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]”
PHILIPPIANS 4:12‭-‬13 AMP

Keep going, a step at a time, keep your head up, live, and know that what you believe is what you will achieve. You are strong enough. Even if it doesn’t look like it right now. Receive the process, and look forward, because the best is always yet to come.

Today’s Forgiving Fridays: Taking a Leap of Faith (Yay!)

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