I was sitting in the back of a car, behind the driver.
Tucked neatly to my right was this handsome man. A man that I had only known from a mutual friend and Instagram. On the other side of him, behind the passenger was another friend of ours, one that we both subtly ignored.
This was our first car ride together. We were friends only. At least in this instance.
He gently let the side of his body make casual contact with mine as the car swerved in awkward ways. His hand using my knee as a way to steady himself.
I thought to myself, ‘That’s a cute sly flirty move’, until he then said,
“Uhhh, I feel sick…”
And then I woke up.
So yeah. That pretty much sums up 2017 for me in a nutshell.
Seriously. I danced with a ‘gentleman’ a couple weeks back, and his small talk to me, mostly on the dance floor, was as follows:
- Do you come here often?
- Are you with anyone?
- Oh, I do a little bit of this and a little bit of that, I can neither confirm nor deny…but yeah, I’m an Engineer.
- So, do you have any kids?
- I need to get past these old fogies on the dance floor.
- By the way, I’m a stallion.
Okay. Good to know. It’s like they know how to find me. Quality men. They just can’t get enough of me.
And yet, according to my social diary, I have had (-1) dates. Yes folks, you read that correctly, that is MINUS ONE dates.
Because the one *accidental date I had in January of this year, was with an imposter who bamboozled me and forgot to mention that he was married. And for my Christian ladies out there, yes, this homie had a very public job, said he was a Christian and had a church home. So please keep your core fam bam in the loop when it comes to matters of the heart. And don’t be afraid to tell the tried and trusted in your life (your ride-or-die prayer warriors) the scoop as well. I’m so thankful for family and friends that covered me in prayer during that weird season.
But alas, I’ve forgiven him. Truly. I have no guile towards him. But this is of course a recap of this year, and for those of you just joining, I wanted to catch you up fast. And also, as a PSA, be diligent on your background checks (social media or otherwise)…because…Mhhmmhm.
But last year this time, I spent 14 days praying specific things over my future husband. I know. It sounds a bit corny and dramatic, but I honestly don’t care. I loved it.
I shared this prayer journey on my personal Instagram page last December and had friends and family join me in prayer over this mystery man. It was all very powerful and beautiful.
So of course my hopes and expectations for 2017 were already heightened. The word God dropped in my spirit for the year was, “Promise”. And I thought for sure…”Aw yeahhh, it’s going dooooown. Honeymoon life here I come!”
And I looked up.
I waited for the package to drop.
I had a handful of crushes, from Texas to London to Vancouver, but the delivery still wasn’t made.
In the course of this year, I’ve received more heartfelt feedback on my blog stories than I’ve ever have before.
Young ladies, older ladies, men even, all saying in chorus: Thank you. Your voice matters to us.
That made me stop in my tracks.
The song of Hope Deferred is a song many of us know by heart.
And as I sang my tears this year to you, you sang back to me, “We still believe.”
And I shook my head in disbelief.
Because at this point, it’s all beyond me.
I used to think, if I waited long enough, I could figure everything out, or appease myself somehow. But nope. It’s all beyond me.
Life is still moving.
And do you want to know what my word for 2018 is? REST.
Really? Por qué?
Because there’s so much to be done, and how will it ever get done??
But what about this new work commute?
And what about the fact that no one asked to date me in 2017 (or 2016, or 2015 or..….you get the picture…)
So in the last several weeks, while you haven’t heard from me, I’ve been ever so slowly sliding into this position of rest.
Letting the song now be sung over me.
Rest doesn’t necessarily look like ‘falling asleep’, but rather letting peace fall on your face -
Then letting it hit your cheeks, touch your eyes, move down your neck, touch your heart, and eventually making its way down to your toes.
It’s a process.
And a huge part of rest is choosing not to worry.
Looking at the richness in our midst.
I may have 99 problems, but I have 99,000 blessings.
And I’m relearning that all over again.
Moving is emotional.
Like, I had a proper ugly cry breakdown the night before I moved my bed from Los Angeles to my hometown.
It was gut-wrenching.
These past few years, I took risks.
And most of the risks didn’t pay off, but some did.
But my heart ached for what I perceived as loss and lost time.
I’ll never be this age again with this type of fervor.
Or will I?
A few months before this move, I felt a heavenly unction to start a small business. It was completely out of left field for me. But I followed the unction. And now you can see the birth of my new small business here: Together Good Co.
It marries my work in television production with my networking and marketing of brands backstage, and of course my love for food and hospitality.
But to be honest, I feel out of my depth with this. I mean, I feel incredibly excited when I talk about Together Good and when I work on things pertaining to it. But in the back of my mind, I’m like, did I just take another horrible new risk? Are my hopes about to be dashed once again?
You know, I just feel overall suspicious.
And yet, I feel at peace.
A bit oxymoronic.
Oh, but did I tell you, that early this year, an old boss of mine, through a gossip grape vine, stated their opinions about me in a not so favorable light. Which in turn led to me not getting certain jobs this year. Which as a freelancer is quite jarring.
I honestly don’t remember the last time this happened to me in the workplace. But this news came around the summer of this year when I was already feeling a bit insecure about my worth and what I had to offer in my career and relationships.
So of course that added a dagger and some salt to an already bruised back.
But since then, and as recently as this week, there’s been such sweet, sweet redemption. Like, I can’t even get into the details, but all I can say is, “God sees the truth….” *sips tea and paints nails*
But that was a hurdle I had to climb over.
In starting this new business on my own, I was confronted with the whispers of “Are you good enough? Smart enough? Well-connected enough??” Mixed in with my personal favorite, “Everyone is not going to like you.”
In regards to the former questions about being “enough”. The answer is no. I’m not. But I know the One who is. So I lean into that.
In a love letter written to us, it states, that in our weakness, God’s strength is perfected (2 Cor. 2:9).
Wow. How’s that for autonomy?
But that’s what I’m banking on. My part can be good and even beautiful. But God’s part will be essential.
I’m not quite sure how this is all going to work, you know---2018 in a nutshell.
But I’m choosing to trust.
And I think you are too.
It’s been HARD. Don’t let anyone (especially yourself) tell you otherwise.
But it’s also been soft at moments. Don’t deny yourself that either.
But my current questions going into 2018 are:
Will I have the same gusto then as I did before? Because right now, I’m exhausted. And perhaps more importantly…Will God preserve my sexy for the right man?
Well, if I’ve learned anything from my good friend Caleb, that answer would be a resounding yes.
You see, I’ve been in the book of Joshua for…I think… about 3 or 4 months, I’ve seriously lost track.
At the beginning of this year, I started making my way through the Bible again. Starting at good ole Genesis and trekking my way through. But this time, I decided to take my time and follow the promptings I felt-- to either go slower, wait a bit, or move forward.
I was so excited to finally make it to the Book of Joshua. Because I thought, surely, my life is going to parallel the spiritual journeys I’m gleaning from, just like it’s been in my previous readings.
I had finally made it to the “Promised Land” book. So here I was again, waiting for the package of blessings to somehow drop in my lap.
But instead I was reminded of the revelation-- receiving a promise isn’t necessarily as smooth as silk or as easy-peasy as pie. It looks something like time passing, consecration, crossing an impossible river, and a circumcision all before marching around the walls of Jericho and experiencing a supernatural victory.
And Jericho would be the first of many supernatural victories, because at that point in the story, we haven’t even gotten to the other numerous battles that would secure the Promise.
But last month, while I’m in a corner panting for breath and asking for water, because I’m so exhausted from the year, I read this regarding Caleb:
Then the sons of Judah drew near to Joshua in Gilgal, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him,
“You know the word which the Lord spoke to Moses the man of God concerning you and me in Kadesh-barnea. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought word back to him as it was in my heart. Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt with fear; but I followed the Lord my God fully. So Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden will be an inheritance to you and to your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God fully.’ Now behold, the Lord has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today. I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in. Now then, give me this hill country about which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day that Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; perhaps the Lord will be with me, and I will drive them out as the Lord has spoken.”
So Joshua blessed him and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance. Therefore, Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite until this day, because he followed the Lord God of Israel fully. Now the name of Hebron was formerly Kiriath-arba; for Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim. Then the land had rest from war.
Joshua 6:6-15 - *emphasis mine.
This passage will make me wanna preach right here!
But um, did you catch that…Joshua and Caleb spied out the promised land 45 years prior to the beginning of the fulfillment of Caleb’s promise!
And my man, Caleb just puts it down like a Boss at 85 years old!
“As my strength was then, so my strength is now.”
CALEB. YOU BEDDA TELL THESE YOUNG WHIPPER SNAPPERS WHO RUNS THESE STREETS!
And once I read that, my only prayer was:
“Lord, let that be me………… I mean, I don’t need to be 85 to be married…But if that’s the case, CLEARLY I’m going to be the hottest 85 year old woman you ever did see. And my bae is going to be running those Chess Game Streets in tacky old man plaid outfits and complaining about bad drivers. And I’m gonna be like, “I love you, and your belly, and you’re all minez.”
These could be Facts.
But in all honesty, I want what Caleb had.
God let my strength, and my fervor, my joy, and my hope ever be increasing, never waning, until the very end.
Because I believe.
But help my unbelief.
And when I wrap my arms around the one I love,
I’ll look up at the constellations above,
Breathing that sharp cold winter air into my lungs,
And remembering days like today, when the land was full of giants and atrocious impossibilities.
And I’ll whisper to the wind, right behind his ears.
No longer full of suspicion.
But instead rich with a new tradition.
“My strength is just as strong…”
“Pure love and suspicion cannot dwell together:
at the door where the latter enters, the former makes its exit.”