I've day dreamed on writing these words. How I'd start this story. This journal, my thoughts hopefully read and examined, if not by you then by God and myself later on. I came up with themes and really good one-liners. I came to the understanding that testifying was simply enough. The word "practical" has been used in my daily conversations. The word "contentment" ran laps in my heart for the past year now. I write this, laying dressed up in my unmade bed, feeling both glory and sadness. I write this to you waiting for my mother to get dressed so we can check her blood pressure, as she sips on cold coffee, hands pulsating, clinging to God's sovereignty. I write this to you, a young woman who feels that title is much too strong. Hurt, by life's endeavors and trying to make sense out of it all. Knowing I am accounted for, and this season will bring glory.
Contentment has been my prayer for this season. I've prayed for the perfect revelation, light descending from up above and a cloud speaking to me, very Old Testement-esque. But God is God, not an entity for our amusement, but a very real friend, a very real Lord, a very real companion.
I left to Chicago in the summer of 2017, and made a huge turn, a leap, every comfortable bone in my body broken and growing pains developed. I learned about grace, I experienced community, I clung to God's word and felt joy in serving others, in serving the Lord so explicitly, being His hands in the city I wished I could call my own. I processed. I got on a plane the second week of August, and landed in the hands of humidity, cortaditos, and the comfort of my home in Miami. The discomfort* of my home in Miami. Everything around me was disturbingly familiar, like something I left behind that I intended to leave behind. It had only been three months. I left applying for financial aide in the dust, and walked into an interview to be a receptionist at a law firm the very next morning. I understood that this meant not going to school and taking the semester off. I was preoccupied dreaming of going back to the west side of Chicago again, and honestly didn't care.. until I did begin to care. I left that interview with the understanding that I got the job. I saw a few friends, and shared with them the amazement of Chicago and all that it had to offer me. Comparing every variable against it, knowing deep dish would win every single time. I included my summer in the mid west in every conversation, and sometimes I still slip up. The day after my interview, my gut, my spirit told me to go back to school. I figured it was way too late, and I didn't have the money to enroll. I applied for aide that same night. My interviewer, did me the favor of not returning my calls or agreeing on a start date, and things became very clear that, that wasn't the place I'd spend my weekdays, my 9:00-6:00's. Embarrassed, I went to school the first day knowing I might not be able to continue my studies, I enjoyed my classes, everything about them. I told a friend about my struggle, and saw her single handedly fix this issue with a few calls and cash app. My pride was crushed, but accepted dollars from donors who loved on me. The first payment was made out of three for the semester. In God's humor and grace, I had received my financial aide packet, with scholarships I didn't know were available the morning after and paid my dues to those angels.
I was in school, I was actually doing well. I was also jobless. Every position available to me I demonized.
God how can I go back to accepting backlash from people concerning the price of jeans, or answering phones for lawyers whose bodies exemplified exhaustion with a nice tie, when I served your people enduring homelessness, when I listened to stories of children discussing the process of staying alive and learning how to beat your opponent when playing UNO...
My God how can I be here?
In a church where issues on race are ignored because our own minority complex tells us to just focus on God's sovereignty, knowing this is the consequence of the fall, and being okay with it all. My grey lens on life, mercilessly placed everyone below my standards of justice. But maybe their peace was one I needed, maybe they knew more than me, they knew the one who could fight this fight, and knew they couldn't do it on their own, maybe they did care, I just masked their surrender with indifference.
I took three classes that semester. I still had no job, and rode with a friend to school. That friend who held my hand during financial aide drama later on because an acquaintance, and later on became a memory. I person whose heart I broke because of my discontent with everything around me. A consequence of my sin. I later lost my car, one I prayed would be taken away jokingly when I had to pay for her (yes her). I saw her leave, and felt no remorse, I just knew things would get very difficult soon. I was lent a car, the rule was it was a one year loan and paying for gas and insurance. It was a blue Honda accord, '00-'01, I'm not exactly sure, but it was a coupe and had a sun roof and it took me places.. until it didn't. It caused problems in relationships, and the motor blew out.
I later noticed that folding jeans and answering phone calls didn't sound so bad when my bank account hit a few dimes. I put on a cute fit, put together my best sales voice and nailed my interview. I was a referenced associate with experience, so I was certain I would get it but anxiety and doubt just love interfering with certainty. We do this weird thing as humans: we sometimes feel like things are too "little" for our dreams, things like "regular jobs". I comforted myself by swearing to be there for only a few months until something better kicked in. Commitment was not my friend. Roots were not my friend. My comfort was knowing I'd leave this wet place for Chicago one day. And if not there, Atlanta. And if not there, then any other place in this earth that was not Miami.
I criticized every inch of this place, until I noticed I was a part of it.
I was not intentional in my community here, I was not intentional professionally, academically, spiritually. I was everything else except present. I didn't enjoy every bit of this place. I denied the preachings I'd give to my kids every week in Chicago: "if you don't take this experience back home, it's like you came here for nothing". I took bits and pieces, but left, loving others and myself back in Chicago just so I can go back to it again.
I rested for nearly nine months, to come to a conclusion nearly a year later. This is where you're at. Not incidentally. Very much purposely, with grace etched in your heart. You're young and while you can choose to get up and leave and still receive mercy and the same salvation you have here. You can also choose to commit and stay rooted where you are.
I've been reading " Come Matter Here" by Hannah Brencher for the past few days, I've only felt a very intense connection with literature (other than the bible) one time prior to this one, and both of these have been stepping stones to completely new levels in my faith. I am reading my feelings through the words of someone else. The enemy's use of isolation (often our own need to "other" ourselves) disintegrated in 234 pages. I matter here. Whether this place is mine to call home until my last days or if I move in the next year, I matter here.
I watched Transformation Churches latest sermon entitled "The Secret Sauce to Life (I am Content)", and felt God point His finger at me; "this is for you". And though our formal theology can argue that these feelings are conditional, my spirit whispers to me " I am being fed the word I needed in this time, please continue". God is an unconditional God.
I am content, I am content.
I am content in knowing my dreams are far too small for God's plans. I am content in knowing my visions for my life may not match his, and I must humble myself before Him because He knows what He graced me for. I will find joy in folding jeans and answering questions, and loving on people who surround me. I will be intentional in seeking community, and reaching out to people who have tried to love on me. I will be intentional in regards to loving my church and not criticizing every step or calling out every judging eye because then I too, fail.
I feel like this word was for me, a physical reminder of my journey, where God met me where I was. I hope you find contentment wherever it is that God places you, I hope this lets you know you are not alone in this fight, please let us know if this is your season and you are struggling, we want to love you.