As we gather on this last day of our second year together, I feel the need to continue revisiting some of the foundational aspects of this shared path, we’ve been exploring.
Then on this edition of “Becoming Today”, I want to discuss some topics many of you have been reaching out about as of late.
As I first shared some 18 months ago,…..
Why Becoming Became My Way
Starting from a place of total transparency and absolute honesty, this is a difficult conversation for me.
Usually putting words on a page or filling a screen with idioms, expressions and phrases is something that flows easily for me. Part of my God-given talents to share, nurture, express and communicate.
However this one is different.
By the time you are reading this I will have written, cried, edited, cried, re-written, cried, re-edited, cried, re-written several more times, cried again and questioned my proofreading abilities through the steady flow of tears.
This is a deeply personal, intense saga, which makes it even all the more important to share with you.
On this edition of Becoming Today I will not only speak publicly about, but also in some cases for the very first time to anyone, reveal some of the struggles, obstacles and challenges that led me to learn these lessons and accept this journey. These are the reasons why I’ve expanded this part of my path to include all of you. So that we may all learn and share together.
Why? You ask? Did Becoming Become My Way?
It wasn’t a split-second decision or an impulse, it was the way I had to climb out of a deep dark place, wash the grime and sludge off of me and decide not to end my life.
As we discussed, yesterday, in late 2019 and early 2020 I hit some all-time lows. Suddenly every aspect of my life seemed to be spiraling out of my control. Downward. I saw absolutely no place, or reason for me in this so-called ‘new reality’. I had lost all hope and literally prayed for an end to it all.
But those prayers were not just idle thoughts. They were deep and intense.
So now the rest of the story….
I was literally screaming out for God to end my life.
Now I can say thank God for unanswered prayers. At the time I was not thanking Him.
I was demanding for Him to accept my will to take me now, because I falsely believed I could not endure another moment of what had become a meaningless, hollow, purposeless, directionless existence.
Over a period of two and a half years prior, I had seen and I now know allowed every meaningful relationship, friends, work, even acquaintances to leave. Some walked away. Others ran and the rest I just gave up on.
After suffering a life-altering accident that left me physically incpacitated, I couldn’t find anyone to take me to doctor’s appointments unless I paid them, and they used my car. Even then some were unwilling to help me for 30- minutes to an hour. Though for years I had always been there when they wanted something.
Now with hindsight I think we can agree, I don’t need these people in my life. However, at the time, when I couldn’t stand for more than 9- seconds at a time without losing my balance and falling over, much less walk, I suddenly found myself with no one to lean on.
Still I was determined to fight on. Despite what the doctors said about me simply needing to be accepting of never being able to do things again, and injuries not being treatable, I was like so many times prior in my life motivated by an attitude of “I’ll show them”!
I had always been a survivor, despite even the earliest predictions by teachers, society and the negative conditioning of my parents. So why would this situation stop me?
I always knew I would not be a victim of my circumstances. No matter how many times as a child growing up in the inner city South Side of Chicago, “they” told me I wouldn’t be able to do this, or ‘people from around here’ can’t do those things. I refused to believe them. “I’ll show them” and I did just that many times over.
I’ll share more about some of these specific situations as we continue along our shared journey here on Becoming Today, but for now I need to refocus on when my attitude changed. Perhaps even completely disappeared.
For over a year I fought. I overcame it. I could walk again.
Issues I had with my physical vision, my eyes not being able to focus causing distortions and hallucinations like the lane stripes on roads appearing to rise up and hover three feet above the ground, I retrained my mind to restore my sight.
I kept fighting and fighting and by all visible signs I was winning.
However, what others couldn’t see was that there was no joy in my victories. No happiness, not even a sense of self-satisfaction.
I was just empty.
I was tired.
I kept replaying an old saying over and over again in my mind. Twenty-fours a day it seemed I was hearing it over and over again.
It wasn’t the voice of God, it was the dulcet tones of Morgan Freeman, telling me to “Get busy living or get busy dying.”
Meant to motivate, the original quote recalled came from Red Frost, and in its entirety is:
However as my despair had taken root, I knew I had to get busy and at the time the only thing that made sense to me was to get busy, dying.
It was at this point I had completely given up. I truly for the first time had lost all hope. I knew the Lord. I understood He had guided and protected me all of my life, even before I realized He was real.
So in my diminished, weary state I attempted to quell the thoughts by seeking His mercy. However, what I was determining to be merciful was for Him to end my life.
I prayed. And I prayed. I prayed in the morning, noon and night. I prayed ceaselessly. I prayed standing, on my knees, laying in bed. I prayed under my breath. I wrote out my prayers in my journal. I even screamed the same prayer over and over again at the Lord.
At that moment I falsely believed the problem was He wasn’t listening.
I had fallen into the trap of demanding for God to answer me now, about why He had forsaken me.
Why wasn’t He being compassionate?
Why wasn’t he being merciful?
Why wouldn’t He grant me this one simple request?…
My downward spiral continued downward. Drilling down so deep I was certain I would reach Australia (lol).
So I came to wrongly accept that God wasn’t answering my prayers, because He was waiting for me to do something.
This is when I developed my suicidal ideation.
I will not tell you my plan. I will share that having always been an overachiever and a well organized efficient planner, it was well developed. I had a step by step method planned and the resources lined up.
I will not share these details because suicides are too prevalent in our world today.
Too many people are hurting and I want you to know there are ways you can help. I also especially want to appeal to those who are considering this negative and non-reversible action to reach out to someone right now. Don’t wait. Don even finish reading this post, just pick up a phone or go somewhere where you can seek assistance.
Since this project has been receiving international acceptance, I am uncertain as to tell you exactly where you can turn.
You don’t know what you don’t know and I simply don’t have any idea of what programs or people may be available in your immediate area.
I will suggest options.
They are there, even for someone like me, who had outlived all her family, seemingly “lost” everyone and was not getting proper care due to the politics of the health industry.
If you can’t phone a friend, hug a loved one or immediately get access to a counselor, you can phone or log onto a crisis line, go to a hospital, a church or here in the US fire stations are always places of safety where you can be directed to the help you need.
I am praying for each of you right now. Not to give up. See the pain I unnecessarily put myself through and do not accept it for yourself. Decide to fight back and reclaim your life. Do it now. Go directly for help, do not pass go, just get there…..
It is only through the mercy and the forgiveness of God and by the gift of His Grace, that I did not carry out my plan.
For I did not take my own advice, until I realized He had sent me an angel, disguised as a monkey in a dog’s body.
Through the pain I could see in the eyes of the one physical being that stood, sat and laid beside me through it all is where I found the strength to turn it all around.
Instead of asking for the courage to carry out my worst made plans, I began asking Him to tell me what it was He thought I should do. My Heart was still so closed at the time I could not receive an answer immediately. Though I knew something had to change.
Through Monkey’s eyes I could feel the hurt I was putting her through. She had been my constant companion, my helper, my bodyguard, and at times my only source of affection through the darkest times.
When I was learning to walk again, even though she weighs less than 10 pounds, Monkey would get up on her hind legs and try to use her front paws to steady me, as if saying, “don’t worry Mama I’ll catch you”.
As I spent day after day, week after week and at one stretch month after month of being by myself, I actually wasn’t. She was always there tail wagging, unconditionally loving me, encouraging me and yes showing me that God was truly present.
Angels are among us, it’s up to us to look for and acknowledge them no matter what or who they may resemble.
Soon I began to realize I needed to correct my thinking, if only not to cause her any pain.
Then instead of receiving what I was asking for I kept hearing these words, “Live Expectantly”.
Certainly not what I was expecting at the time, and at no moment then could I see, fathom or grasp any reason why this two-word phrase would keep popping up. “Live expectantly”?
After a few months of struggle after struggle and this “Live Expectantly” continued and continued to appear, confound, confuse, baffle, beleaguer and at times just plain annoy me.
“Live Expectantly”! I would exclaim, what does it mean, and what does it have to do with me. And you know what? I asked the question and received my answer.
You get out of life what you put into it. I was expecting disaster and gloom and that was exactly what I was getting.
I then not only needed , but wanted to explore what it means to live expectantly.
I suspected and rightfully so that it meant something slightly different for each one of us. It was during this search that one day I saw this grinning face, asking me to do something.
There he was; wavy hair and a bright smile, making a promise to me.
Right there a few feet away from me on a 55 inch TV-screen in full HD, vivid color he asked me to do something and I said ‘okay’…..
At the time I took it almost like a dare when he said, “give us a year of your life and you will never be the same”.
And you know,… he was right.
God will use whatever means He can to get our attention. He will use the tools and methods we understand to encourage, educate and elevate us.
While I have never met Pastor Joel. Never spoken to him, nor anyone at Lakewood Church, they have renewed my faith, restored my vision and yes quite literally helped to save my life.
Sometimes all it takes is a few loving sincere words, a smiling Texan and an angel disguised as a monkey in a dog’s body coming together in Spirit to lead us to the place where we can not only ask for, but also desire for and be able to accept the help we need.
I can now freely say, ‘Thank God for unanswered prayers”. And I do. Everyday I thank Him for not taking nor allowing me to end my life. I praise Him for showing me how to glorify life, live it expectantly, freely and how to always be becoming.
We all need help at some time in our lives. We all have an obligation to our fellow human beings to assist one another whenever possible.
This is how and Why Becoming Became My Way.
And it will continue to be. As I launched this project declaring that this year of 20/20+1 would be the best year yet I made a covenant with you and God that I will do whatever it takes to help you along the way.
This all coming from a woman who was once too stubborn and angry to even consider asking for aid when she needed it most.
I have changed, grown and am Becoming.
So can you.
I am reaffirming my pledge to you and hope you’ll make the same to me and us:
Coming together as independent individuals, sharing a planet, and intentionally setting our combined focus on becoming the strongest, most empowered God-fearing women we can be; it is vital we set these objectives, hopes and shared visions in writing, to make them truly achievable and to hold each of us and the “we” accountable.
These are certainly issues I have dealt with, and again so recently. In fact the past four months I have found myself traveling along a fork I never saw coming. One where my energy has almost exclusively been directed towards survival.
As I shared in October in “Life Happens”,
n July, I was really energized. I knew I was preparing for a time of great change. However the changes that came I never saw coming.
I knew I had a period ahead of me that would require my focus to be redirected, so I really got into a flow state. Every post you have read since July 25th was written and scheduled before then.
Today is the first time in nearly 12-weeks I have sat down to write to you.
While I hope those lessons and talks shared were timely for you, I was off living an existence unlike anything I have ever expected. And not in good ways.
Some of the incidents that occurred, I’m not yet detailing because they are not resolved and some will take years to correct the course on.
I’m not complaining, just laying the foundation for our upcoming discussions.
Without faith I would not be here now.
And there are some I met in this period that are not.
I met people. I watched people die. I watched people disappear. I witnessed and experienced anything but common courtesy being extended to human beings.
That’s why it is really on my heart to call to mind our need to become UNcommon.
What’s passing for a civilized society is rapidly deteriorating and appears to be only headed for the worse. I know this is counter to our year long focus on “Resurrecting Positivity”, however in order to do so we need to align ourselves to defeat negativity and lack of concern.
It’s time to step up and make a difference. To put faith into action and each do whatever we can to help. An idea that is all too uncommon when examining what is actually occurring.
Many of the basic principles we’ve asserted here over the last nearly two years are certainly not being carried out and in fact people are more often than choosing to behave in the exact opposite manners.
Ideas such as supporting others with compassion, dignity, respect, mercy and understanding of all individuals regardless of their race, gender, color, creed, demographic or any other way the “dividers” try to profile and categorize us for their purposes of intentional disunity, certainly are not common.
While we along this shared path should refuse to submit blindly to disrespectful, unhealthy and abusive behaviors, attitudes and policies, those are what I have seen first hand being acted upon as the “norm”.
At times when people are facing the most difficult days and catastrophic events of their life they are not greeted with compassion or treated with dignity and respect. In fact empathy does not even seem to enter the minds of the “gatekeepers” at all.
I have been disgusted by the behaviors of groups and organizations that promote and base their multi-million dollar fundraising efforts around providings services that they are not doing and their initial responses are ‘go ask someone else’. Many times even refusing to allow those seeking help to even enter the buildings that are designated and funded by donations allegedly offering aid and comfort to those in need.
Unfortunately I am left with the observation that if you believe a group is providing something they more than likely are not.
It is a sad state of affairs.
Certainly there can be economic restrictions but none of that needs to also involve rudeness and downrIght ignorant behavior towards people who are hurting.
Yelling at people through locked doors and telling them to call another organization’s resource number does no good especially when that number is called and the second group’s response is you need to go to the location where they just screamed at you.
When He walked the earth, Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love one another as He loved us.
Yet groups that try to claim they represent His way are not doing so.
They in particular need to realize and accept that no matter who you are or where you come from or what circumstance you may be trying to live through there are three things all people have in common, to be treated with Compassion, Dignity and Respect.
That leads us to “Outlasting”. I’ve come to embrace this word, rather than looking as things that one would be enduring. I think enduring for me has come to involve that you are accepting of some situations that would portray you as a victim.
I am not a victim. I will not be victimized. Rather I am outlasting these challenges. Not giving them any power, knowing that I am receiving Grace sufficient to move forward and upward.
No matter what it is you may currently be going through, you can do so in a state of peace.
Peace can have many meanings. From the dictionary among the offering of definitions are:
-a state or period in which there is no war or a war has ended. Synonyms include law and order, lawfulness, harmony, and accord,.
-a ceremonial handshake or kiss exchanged during a service in some churches, symbolizing Christian love and unity.
Plus the one I find most beneficial for our common understanding:
– freedom from disturbance; tranquility. Similarly described as calm, calmness and restfulness.
Being free from distractions, harassment, annoyances and chains that bind us to past realities and circumstances certainly creates in us the space to manifest a place for and an overall attitude of being peaceful.
The concept of remaining calm or at peace, and the teaching of it have been with us for centuries. In the Scriptures we find,:
Isaiah 7:4 “Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart…”
Exodus 14:14 “The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”
Proverbs 15:18 “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, But the slow to anger calms a dispute”.
Plus there are many more. We also know that we are called to reflect (meditate, ponder), remain calm, be peaceful (filled with peace), and at rest. No dozing off here; in the Word we understand that “at rest” is at times defined as “to be quiet or tranquil, as the mind; not to be agitated by fear, anxiety or other passion.”
I am preferring peace over suffering through something.
We began this week with a discussion called, “Six Days To Go”.
Looking at this season through the lens of Merle Haggard’s, “If We Make It Through December”, I asserted “Everything’s going to be alright, I know”.
Now as I post this, we are less than 24 hours from making it through December.
And I feel even more confident than I did on Monday, when I wrote:
“That’s why this song many may call “sad” or a “tear-jerker” to me is an inspiring reminder.
An encouragement that this too shall pass.
Hope reigns and even when we don’t quite see the way, I know for myself included, “If we make it through December, Everything’s going to be alright”.
And I’ll add WHEN “we make it through December, we’ll be fine”.
One day at a time we can continue finding our way and uplifting others as well.
Come Monday, on our next edition of “Becoming Today”, I’ll begin to share some of what I have been outlasting as life happened in unforeseen ways.
Be safe. Have a blessed weekend and we’ll make in to January together with a smile in our hearts.