Updated: Feb 18, 2021
The song writer said: As I look back over my life...and I think things o-over, I can truly say, that I've been blessed! I've got a TEST-I-MO-O-NYYYYYYYY!
Good evening, America! (RIP to the late and great comedian, Bernie Mac!)
To celebrate 28 years of existence on this earth today (shoutout to my mommy & daddy), I want to tell you about why I continue call myself a Christian, believing in the power of God's love and the death and ressurection of Jesus Christ. This is my testimony..
I think I've said this before but I literally grew up in the church. Somewhere in my parents' house, there is a VHS tape of my baby shower, which shows grainy footage of the church basement, several church members, and me, in a baby carrier.
As a result of being a "church girl" I sometimes feel that my testimony is not special. I don't have BIG SIN ENERGY. I don't have the "I'm a recovering alcoholic who met Jesus through a fellow inmate, while locked up for a DUI!" dramatic story.
I grew up in church. I served in church. I am the church. But we need details!! No?
Although I recall being a usually mild mannered child. I also recall being very sensitive. I remember feeling every emotion strongly, crying most mornings when it was time to get ready for school. For some reason, I had an issue with having to wear a uniform in elementary school. I would cry about it until the last minute, when my mom would force me to wear it and get in the car so we wouldn't be late.
And memories that stick out even more than those are of crying when I would lose or misplace something. Instead of looking for whatever I lost, my first instinct was to get angry, cry, and/or blame my sister for playing a joke on me. Which brough on the anger. I was a hot mess y'all!!
No. Too soon...Lol.
When I think of my school life I have mostly fond memories. I was a card carrying teacher's pet and loved by all of my teachers in elementary school. I liked school and learning a lot (still do)! But these things in combination with being shy and quiet made me an easy target for bullying. This was a very brief moment in my life but I still think it matters.
There was a trio, two girls and a boy who bossed me around for what felt like forever but was probably a year or less. I wouldn't be surprised if they simply got bored with my compliance to whatever stupid things they made me do, and just left me alone. I was pulled and pushed around until I wasn't.
And later in middle school, I spoke about it and a friend of mine confronted one of the girls. With a shrug she kindly said, "She didn't stop us."
Message: The devil cannot beat you down anymore than you allow him to! Get thee behind me satan!!
Who else, aside from bullies, deserves a dose of "get thee behind me?" Mathematics! Math has been the thorn in my side since 3rd grade. I put my blood sweat and tears, and then more tears into learning my multiplication tables and the mutliples of nine still make me pull out a calculator (Sorry Mrs. Gibbs)!
I took several blows to my already unstable self-confidence. Solving math problems on the board in front of an entire class of eight year old still makes me cringe. The audience combined with my lack confidence makes for a wrong answer every time, even when I know the correct answer. And If I don't know the right answer, I am stupid. And if I am stupid then I am worthy of being laughed at. And if they're laughing at me, and not with me, I have failed. I am a failure.
No no no! Still too soon.
However, I do thank God for Ms. Dillon, Mrs. Jackson, and Mrs Hubbard. They put in work to help build my confidence and repair my relationship with math. But, it is no coincidence that when it comes to word problems?...working backwards? If little Tommy rode his bike 4.3 miles a day, 5 days a week, for five years...? If you have a WORD problem? I got the solution. Periodt. (And I'm still confused about why I made it to AP Calculus in high achool, but He qualifies the called. Amen? AMEN!)
And since we're on the subject of words...You and I both owe a handclap to my 8th grade Langauage Arts teacher for cultivating my love for words. Mrs. Golston had a small library in the back of her classroom, which I took advantage of. I hardly went to the main school library, but at least once a week I was borrowing books from the in-class bookshelf. And in February of that year she encouraged me to participate in the Black History Month poetry contest. I placed third place, but she believed I would've placed higher had I not went on a field trip on the day of the poetry reading.
Still, after that, I began to believe in my own writing.
Writing was safe. My writing could be read even in my absence. My voice could still ring true on a page, without having to speak a single word.
Writing was fun. I loved to use my imagination, organizing my thoughts and telling stories.
I kept on writitng in high school. From tenth grade, I carried around notebooks with Chris Brown fanfiction (have I mentioned this om the blog before?). The same way people pushed candy, or pads, or pencils, I pushed notebooks that got passed around at least 5 of my classmates. They paid me in story reviews! But there were even more people having conversations about what I was writing, who was reading it, and what my alias would be when I got my future book deal.
Writing was(is) my dream. I did(do) it because I love it. It is my gift.
After dropping out of my dream school, Columbia College Chicago, I was devastated. I spent months feeling like a what? failure.
Now it's time...BUT GOD!
Writing the poem, "Anti-Social Media" kind of saved my life. In 2013, I expressed my frustrations with social media and how it was affecting my life. Since then I have found myself sucked into the world of filters and fake fun, time and time again. Whenever I reach my breaking point, I am reminded of what I wrote.
"I want to be so close to God, that I'm guaranteed a backstage pass to the second coming of Jesus Christ."
"Anti-Social Media", Q&A: Selected Poems & Short Stories
I surrender, and somehow I find myself scrolling again.
But God uses my words, which I recieved from him to convict me and I surrender yet again.
Through the gift of writing I have experienced God's perfected love. God has given the gift to me, so I use it to glorify him, while also reaching out to all who read these words.
Although I am not perfect, I'm not the crying eight year old, standing at the chalkboard calling myself a failure. From crying through class presentations in front of my peers, to teaching English lessons every day for my students. From life as a student, to life as a teacher, God has had His hand on me. My faith and trust in Him gives me the strength to live another day. His grace and mercy teaches me that He is bigger than any mistake I have ever made, or will ever make.
Since my last blog post I felt the pull of God calling me to something greater. It was his promise to me in 2020! As long as it helps heal myself and others, I will keep challenging destructive thoughts and behaviors, seeking deliverance and repair, so that we can become better believers and better people above all.
What is your testimony? What has God done for you lately??