Posting this two years later! Better late than never.
So this year I had a really hard time saying by to 2019--and entering 2020. Not that I didn't want the year to get started with great expectation of what would be birthed from a clean start. But I accomplished so much because of a moment of surrender. There were some real rock-bottom moments that made me stop to take inventory of my life, how I wanted to feel, how I wanted to live, and what I wanted to leave behind when I'm finished. I lost some really good folks this year--- but they left their mark on my life in a way that I will never forget. Because of them I will NEVer go back to normal- and will forever keep my eye keenly focused on the assignment that God has put on my life.
It all started with my birthday, when I invited a few ladies over to help me roll out the red carpet for God to do some amazing things for my 37th chapter. As we sat in my freshly cleaned home (cleaning service), great food (prepped by my spiritual mother), surrounded by good friends, and simulcast by Priscilla Shirer (one of my favorites)- I was in my zone open and ready to worship. I prayed, cried, and was so overwhelmingly grateful. It was a real God-wink to finally be in a place where everyone who was supposed to be there was, that everyone received a word from God, and that obedience to Him became the focus for the rest of my year.
I realized I had some personal work that needed to be done, so I went through a season of silence and isolation away from family and some friends. So I gave myself permission to step away and do what would help me was the stains of hurt off of my life, before they prevented me from being able "wear the shirt" that was given to me. I needed a clean start and would encourage anyone who is struggling with getting rid of the toxic people and stinkin' thinkin' to "wash your dirty laundry" as well. I found that the combination of therapy and prayer were just what I needed to lighten my mental burden to rest in my truth and produce again.
God sent a service opportunity my direction, in the form of an internship. It was an amazing opportunity to work with the brilliant Chrystal Evans Hurst. What an experience! I've learned so much about ministry consistently, living life as me, and building legacy for the future.I even got a chance to meet her parents that was over and beyond. I didn't know what he was doing at the time, but He was grooming in me a stronger work ethic (doing the hard granular work for free), on strictly monitored deadlines, quality products, all tempered by the spirit and out of a spirit of service to women. Why? because He has equipped me to do extraordinary work on behalf of the kingdom. Sometimes I think back on my experience and the group of ladies that I worked with to make it all happen and I'm in awe of how fused our hearts and minds together so quickly. But I am so glad that God gave me a REAL big sister, friend, and mentor that is strong enough to see my struggles, honest enough to tell me the truth, and kind enough to lace it all in love.
The fall was laced with extreme cases that needed my attention. My daughter, who attends a local public school had the unfortunate experience of having 11 substitute teachers between September and December. Devastation for a mom who is a teacher. I'm grateful that the Holy Spirit lead me to buy the homeschooling curriculum that allowed us to keep her on point regardless of the school system. Our only major concern was her safety and making sure that the school was able to ensure this. Well, even this was put in jeopardy. Needless to say I had some really hard decisions to make regarding maintaining her enrollment. But the Holy Spirit was showing me how the schools need someone with the vision and foresight to help bring about change that is sustainable and lasting impact. As an executive of the school district took me on tours of neighboring schools- I could see the problem wasn't a site problem but a system problem. But because of relationships I have established, trying to help my own daughter, I am now able to help every school within the district.
During the winter I was challenged with the idea of creating content for a children's compliment curriculum to a year long series. This area was dusty, unfamiliar, and a bit overwhelming. But God quickly reminded me that "You are well able". The honest truth is that I know I'm pretty good at some things, but this was stretching me. The final product came out and was put together so beautifully that I can take no credit for. It was God who gave me the idea that matched the vision in my Pastor's head. The timing and turn around was tight, but he made a way and we finished it.
Oh did I mention, I taught from my first national platform? With a week's notice, I was asked by my Pastor to deliver the message at not one but three services. The old me would have quickly said no, and laughed. But the newer, more obedient, version of me accepted the challenge and stepped up. I was so surprised by how God gave me thoughts, information, and points to string together- the delivery, what words to use, and when. When to pause, when to speak. Y'all know, church people will let you know if you are on point, or OFF. It's like "Showtime at the Apollo"---they will either dial it in, or check out. But that day the HOLY SPIRIT helped the content to flow in a way that settled on their hearts and minds and was received by so many. To this day, people are still approaching me, telling me how that sermon made them think, taught them so much.
What I've learned is less is more...this theme has been reverberating in my head for the entire month of January. From my closets to my drawers, to my office, to my schedule, LESS is MORE. I once heard Anthony Evans Jr. say, "what good is a hot meal, ready to be eaten, if there is no space at the table to eat it." Makes so much sense- for anyone who still uses a dining room table. Make room for God to do something NEW, FRESH, MORE than you can imagine in 2020. Like farmers use Almanac's to help them understand when rain is coming- prepare the ground, break it up, fertilize it, get it prepared, then at the right time, cast your seed down. Not just for one crop, but for a variety of life's fruits and vegetables, because they all grow at different rates--some stuff you can grow twice in the time you wait on one crop. Bear fruit.