Have you ever wished you could go back in time ? If I could go back in time, I would redo certain decisions I made. We can’t. Time will go on. We have to move on. We just have to learn from our mistakes.
Two weeks from now, freshmen on Lincoln’s campus move in. I remember my freshmen move in day like it was yesterday. I wish I could go back in time. I would do it differently but I can’t. I have to move on.
The thing is that I’m having a hard time moving on. I need to stop looking back and look forward. I have so much left to give. I can’t go back but I can give back to those who will be in the shoes I once were in.
I can give my words of wisdom to those who will be freshmen on that campus. It will be weird at first but the joy that will come from helping those who you were once in the shoes will overtake you. I won’t think twice about looking back. Ministry doesn’t say what would Jesus do but it says what is Jesus doing ?” He’s wanting to use Rooted Ministry to do something new. He’s doing a new thing and I’m excited to see the impact we have on that campus this upcoming school year.
This poem was inspired by a photo I saw on Twitter today.
No more sleeping/living in those dorms, No more walking into those cafe doors as an student, No more casually buying food out because I want to, No more seeing my favorite professors in their office because I’m having a bad day and they put a smile on my face, No more walking those halls as an student, No more going to the library to see my favorite librarians, No more memories as an student on that campus to be had.
As I reflect on this I have a hard time accepting all of this. Adulting, taking up responsibilities, and adjusting to having an apartment has been hard but life is hard. I choose my hard. I’m doing a hard thing.
Hello for those who keep up with my blog posts, I haven’t been posting much due to trying to finish my undergraduate degree in Wellness from Lincoln University of Missouri. I graduated in May. I recently got an apartment at the end of May. I am dealing with a lot of transition. I am still processing the fact that I am no longer in college.
Lately this past week a lot of people have been telling me to think about/consider how my decisions affect others. If I can be honest, I don’t think about that. I have an problem with that.
As I sit here and write this, I find myself processing the fact that I have an hard time considering how my decisions affect others because there has been people in my life who have made decisions that affected me without considering how it affected me. My dad didn’t consider how stealing and gambling would affect his kids. My little sister’s dad didn’t consider how growing up in a household of toxic behavior would affect me. I can go on and on but I don’t want to. I think you are getting my point.
I don’t want to put any blame on others for my decisions. We must accept that how we are raised plays a huge part in our identity though. We must take responsibility for our decisions. Ultimately we can decide if we are going to be just like them or say no I don’t want anything to do with that. I want to break the chains and the cycle of the father being absent in my family. “Be the change you want to see.” “God doesn’t erase our history but God wants to put our broken pieces back together making us to something better than before”, said Pastor Trevor Dancer from First United Methodist Church in Jefferson City.
Yesterday a friend of mines told me recently, “The things that you do aren’t just about you. The things you do affect others. There’s people who are counting on you to do what God is calling you to do”, said Asha Faison. We are either going to decide to do what God wants us to do or not. Someone else told me recently, “It’s about learning how God is speaking to you. We have two choices. Do what He’s telling you to do or don’t. If you don’t, you will have to answer to that”, said Joseph Ward.
This summer, God wants me to regain my sense of direction. I need to get back to taking prayer walks daily even if it’s at night. I need to get back to writing daily and I need to rekindle my creativity that God has put inside of me. I need to make a budget and be wise with my money. God wants me to make Him more of a priority in my life so I can be rooted in Him so when He sends me the woman I am supposed to spend the rest of my life with, I will be directing her closer to God not away from Him due to my decisions. Our decisions don’t just affect us because what I decide to do now will affect my future wife. What things does God want you to do this summer ?
I have a friend, mentor name Asha who discipled me. Her obedience lead to me getting saved and knowing God for myself. It wasn’t easy for her to obey to what God was telling her to do. When I first met her, I would always want to talk to her, be around her everyday.
Over the first few months of our friendship, I would knock on her door, go to her room to hang out almost everyday. She would tell you I ate up all of her snacks when we had movie nights. I even slept in her room sometimes. It was very hard for her to understand why I kept wanting to be around her almost everyday. She dealt with past abuse from past relationships so she wasn’t trying to get into a dating relationship with anyone.
She had to look past what she was seeing and lean not on her own understanding to see what God was telling her to do. Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” With the help from her obedience and others like my Pastor and my friends Alex, Jeri, Jordana, and Mar’Che. These people had a huge hand in helping discipling me as well my freshmen year at Lincoln. Ultimately Asha was the main person who discipled me. They helped her along the way.
I got saved on Easter of 2018. I got baptized on May 6th of 2018. I am at awe to just think about what my life would look like if she wasn’t obedient. It wasn’t just her obedience that helped but the obedience of the others who helped played a huge role as well. I’m forever grateful for their obedience.
Lately these past few weeks, God has been speaking to me about being more obedient. He’s showing me what that looks like for me in my life. God; The Holy Spirit has been telling me, “talk to this person” or “tell them to come join”. In times like this I have to trust that God will give me the words to say. I’m not saying it’s easy, it’s scary but it’s helped me trust God more. It has grown my relationship with Christ just by taking small steps of faith and obedience. Faith without works is dead (James 2:7). Our faith is shown in our actions, our actions shows our faith. The Holy Spirit has been helping me show my faith with my actions but not just my words. James 1:22-25 ESV says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”
We make decisions each day of our life that alters the course of our life. I’m not taking about the decision about what outfit to wear or whether if you should eat breakfast or not. I’m talking about the decision like whether if you should talk to that person, open/hold that door, or etc. I have experienced the impact of these decisions in my own life. Some of my now close friends made the decision to talk to me during times I would sit alone for lunch and dinner during my freshmen year at Lincoln University. Decisions like this is what I’m talking about.
What I come to discover is sometimes our decisions can alter the course of other people’s life. I can confidently say that their decisions to constantly choose to love me when I would push them away has alter the course of my life. God’s plan was to draw me closer to Him through them. I’ll be forever thankful for that.
We all at one point in our life had a blue print or a plan of how we wanted our life to turn out. What if in that moment someone told you it may not play out that way what would you say to them ? How would you feel ? Honestly if I said I wouldn’t be mad at would be lying. I would say you don’t know that. Well that’s true no one really knows how their life would play out. Sometimes we have plans and they won’t work out that’s ok. Sometimes what we envisioned for our life may be different from God envisioned it to go.
I recently watched a movie called “2 Hearts” which helped me see that as well. The movie is based on the real-life story of Christopher Gregory. Christopher was an organ donor who died at 19 from a brain aneurysm. His organs were donated to 5 people with near death situations. They needed an organ transplant to live.
My favorite quotes from the movie were “when things don’t work out, there’s always a reason, we just might not see it in the moment.” “If we can zoom out a little we will realize life is happening for us, not to us.” These quotes reminds me of the truth. The truth that all things will work out for good and that God has a plan for us. God has a good plan for our life. We may not always understand the plan but God is good. We may not always see the good at first that’s why we have to walk by faith and not by sight. Eventually it will work out for good.
Christopher was only 19 when he died. He may have not envisioned that’s how his life would play out but God had other plans for his life. There was good that come from his death. His death saved the life of 5 people that was the good. We have to remember there’s always something good to come out of the bad. There is where my hope will lie.
I first started going to counseling when I was a junior in highschool. I started going to counseling for anger management that year. I remember it helped me a lot because the therapist challenged me to channel my anger into passion. She challenged me to find something I’m passionate about. I wouldn’t say I found my passion but it found me.
During the end of the first semester of junior year my English teacher Ms. Williams asked me if I would be interested in joining the yearbook staff. That’s exactly what I did. I joined the yearbook staff as a sports photographer in January and stayed in that role until graduation. I discovered I had a passion for photography and writing/telling stories. I always been thankful for Ms. Williams foe that reason.
I went to counseling again during second semester of my freshmen year of college. I went because I was sexually harassed by my residential advisor. I handled the situation poorly because I turned a private manner into a public manner. I posted my police report on snapchat. I was hurting and I’m still hurting from this.
I am learning “you can’t change the past but you can learn from the past. You can make a better decision now. You can learn from everything that happens to you in life.” I’m glad I decided to get counseling. This situation triggered a lot of the same emotions I felt in highschool. “Why is this happening to me ? What did I do to deserve this ?”. In highschool I was sexually coerced into doing oral sex. I’m learning “we can’t control what happens in life but we can control how we respond. We can’t control people but I can only control myself.” I’m still learning, I’m a work in progress, and I need to show Grace to myself.
What does the word friend mean to you ? The word friend to me means someone who will be there for you not just during the good days but the bad days. They are there in the good moments and the bad moments. When everything seems dark and you can’t find a way out, they will be a light to help you find a way out. They will tell you the truth, the things you don’t want to hear. They tell you the truth because they love you. They want what’s best for you.
I miss you my friends sometimes but I know I cannot control what happens in life. I couldn’t control the Corona Virus from not happening. Sometimes life gets in the way but true friends even life can’t stop a true bond/connection between true friends. True friends can go days, weeks, months, or years without seeing each other and just pick up we’re they left off.
A true friend isn’t just a friend but they become family. They are people who you’re not afraid to be honest with. They love you unconditionally despite your flaws but push you to live a life worthy of you’re calling. If you are in Christ, you are worthy and called. You’re called to be a light in the darkness of this world. You are called to love people like Jesus would. You’re called to be a true friend to others like Jesus is a true friend of ours. You’re called to love unconditionally. Some days you may feel unworthy that’s why you need people to pick you up when you fall and feel worthless. You need true friends who will remind you that you are worthy because God calls you worthy. He calls us so much more! He calls us friend, son, daughter, and child. He’s the ultimate true friend.
“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NLT https://www.bible.com/116/ecc.4.9-12.nlt
We think it’s easier to deal with the pain we face if we’re alone (Job 7:16-20). It’s not easier. Job lost everything he cared about but his friends came to comfort him, to love him when they heard what was going on with him. They were with him for 7 days and 7 nights (Job 2:11-13). Sometimes loving someone just means to be with them. You don’t need to say something that’s what Job friends did. Just be with them in the midst of their suffering that’s how Jesus is with us.
“When three of Job’s friends heard of the tragedy he had suffered, they got together and traveled from their homes to comfort and console him. Their names were Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. When they saw Job from a distance, they scarcely recognized him. Wailing loudly, they tore their robes and threw dust into the air over their heads to show their grief. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.” Job 2:11-13 NLT https://www.bible.com/116/job.2.11-13.nlt
A true friend will be there for you in your pain. Are you that type of friend ? Would/Do you consider yourself a true friend ? Ask yourself what does a true friend mean to you ?
I pray that if you’re not a Christian that you would find friends like Job did. I pray that you will find friends that show you the love of God. I pray that you will be a friend of God. Will you accept His call to be His friend ?
I pray for my believers that if you’re not living your life as a true friend for others that you would start to grow in Christ. He’ll show you how to live a life being a true friend to others.
Personally I would say I have plenty of true friends and most of them happen to be Christians as well. I love my non Christian friends just as much because as Christians we are called to love everyone.
God has put it on my heart to video call a few of my friends. Some of my friends have called me. Over this summer, I had met a few people on Twitter and started strong relationships with them. When I first got home I joined zoom meetings for my church. I had the opportunity to catch up with the Naval Academy team that went to NY with us over a Bible study zoom meeting. I joined a few group zooms with the guys who had a huge impact on me. Two of them happen to be Luke and Connor who I been talking to the most out of the group.
Have you ever thought about certain things remind you of people or things you once did ? When I think about chicken wings I think about my Pastor Jon Nelson and my friends I went to New York with. I remember having a wing eating contest while someone from the Navy BCM team joined us. We got the pleasure to show them how to eat the bone of a chicken wing. The key is to suck out the marrow of the bone that’s what my Pastor taught me. I remember the first time he introduced me to eating the bones of a chicken wing. I remember the story he told me about how he gave his children the bones of wings to suck on when they all were small. “It’s better than sucking on plastic”, said Jon. He was referring to the baby bottle drinking cups. It always make me laugh when I think about this.
When I think about “Cheez-It” snacks I think about my twin brother. It’s his favorite snack. When I think about tutoring I think about so many things. I think about the three siblings I met in New York due to the missions trip. I think about the Whiz Kids program we have at my church. I think about my student I was assigned to tutor. I think about all the times I went over his mom’s just so I could see him because I care about him that much.
When I think about New York I’m pretty much sure I will always think about that missions trip. I will always think about Luke Barrante, Connor Caniglia, Karsten Francis, Cameron, and Ethan Sohn. They impacted me the most. When I think about about a flat iron I remember how when I came out as gay when I was a junior in highschool I would use them to straighten my hair. I hated my nappy hair. I wanted straight hair.
When I think about my hair I think about all that it has gone through. Growing up, I had cornrows until 2nd grade. I remember dying my hair brown hair when I was in highschool. I remember cutting off the dye and getting low fade on the side haircut. It became my usual go to haircut when I went to the barbershop until I decided I wanted long hair again like I had when I was growing up. That’s actually what I did.
I didn’t do anymore cuts or dyes during my senior year of highschool. I was starting a new hair journey. Instead of all the cuts or dyes, I got it styled. I got a two strand twist or men’s braids. I took them down usually after a month or two. My hair was becoming long and it was curly now. When I got to college I remember I pretty much kept up with the two strand twist or men’s braids most of my freshmen year. Later that year, I decided I want to keep my hair in a two strand twist. I paid for people to twist them and some did it for free.
During my sophomore year in college, my two strand twists were getting long so they looked like dreads now. Before my junior year, I made the tough decision to cut off my dreads. I cut them off because I realized I was running from my pain and I needed to heal. I cared too much about what others think of me. I hide my scars from people because I didn’t want them people to know that side of me. God shown me that I had insecurities about the scars on the side of my head from my brain surgery at six years old. I had that surgery because I was born premature and I hide that even from the people who knew me the most. My friends and people who knew me from being a college student at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri.
Some days I miss my dreads but I’m glad I chose to heal instead of keep running from my pain. I chose to give my pain to God. Sometimes we hide our true self from the people we love because we fear they would judge us the most. You will never know if you don’t open up to them. What are things about you that you hold back from revealing or telling people who love you the most out of fear ? Remember that fear is a liar and perfect love casts out fear. I love you and God loves you. God bless 🧡
Over this month and summer especially I been thinking about what am I passionate about ? What if our experiences are linked to our passions ? That happens to be the case for me. I’m passionate about ending abortion because I could have been aborted. I was born premature. I could have been aborted if my mom listen to what she was advised to do. I was a risky pregnancy because it could cause harm to my mom or me or my twin brother. I later learned that my twin actually died shortly after birth but doctors revived him. Things like this makes me wonder what my mom life would be like without me or my twin or even the both of us ? What would my life look like if the doctors couldn’t successfully bring my twin back to life ?
Nevertheless I’m thankful that my mom sacrificed her own life so I could have life. She’s been making sacrifices for me even before I was born. She’s a great mother I’m truly blessed God constantly reminds me of this.
I didn’t have a dad growing up so I’m passionate about adopting a little boy one day even if I have kids of my own. I’m passionate about tutoring elementary school and middle school age children because I love children. I recently went to a missions trip in New York to help out a tutoring program. I was a babysitter in highschool. I tutor kids regularly at my church. I’m a tutor at this program called “Whiz Kids” at Soma Community Church. Sometimes it feels like I’m giving back to my younger self because I wish I had what I was giving to these kids. Someone to look up to. I even desire to have my own kids one day.
I’m passionate about ending bullying and/or advocating for bullying awareness. I got bullied some in elementary and a lot in highschool. I’m passionate about college ministry because I mentored a freshmen during my junior year at Lincoln. I’m passionate about men’s suicide awareness and suicide prevention because I struggle with suicide thoughts. I can’t even look at a knife without having suicidal thoughts. I wonder how long will this go on ? I had enough but how could I give up ? I have to keep living it will get better. I even attempted suicide via drug overdose in November of 2019. Sometimes I wish it was successful so I didn’t have the memory of me trying to kill myself.
I’m passionate about advocating for people especially men getting therapy because personally it has helped me a lot. It honestly has even helped me cope with the memory of my suicide attempt. You can’t change the past but you can learn from it.
I’m passionate about telling stories through photos because that’s when I feel the most alive. I feel the most purposeful. It calms me down and gives me life. It’s something about taking a photo of a sunset that warms my soul. I’m passionate about writing because it’s a God given gift so I better not waste it. Gifts are free and are from the heart. They can also bless you and so many other people. Have you ever seen it that way ? The gifts God gives us isn’t just for us but for others. Use it. Don’t waste it. What are your gifts ? What are you passions ? If you don’t know discover it. Try new things.