A Moment with My Mother

Sometimes God does little miracles just to prove that He is God.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28 (NIV)

Years ago, I had very little relationship with my mother. I loved her intensely as a child but distance, time, and her own personal problems pulled her away.

She dealt with drugs the majority of my life. Due to that, she never really was allowed to come around unless she was sober and by herself. I didn’t really “know” who she was until adulthood. She was my mom but wasn’t “Mom” for years. Grandma Gwen was Mom.

When my grandmother passed in 2015, I spent my first night in my adult life with her. I was filled with apprehension but we talked until I couldn’t hold my eyes up. Since then, we’ve grown significantly. We’ve had long conversations. We’ve talked about relationships, love, and loss. She even sends me occasional gifts that surprise and brighten my day.

Recently, she sent me a letter that reduced me to tears (rightfully so).

Image of the card received and the included photo of Miles & His Mother.
The Flash USA Matching Short Set was peak 90s High Fashion

Dear Miles,

I just wanted to take a minute to tell you I love you. When I sit here with a paper & pen. I can’t think of anything but warmth and love and peace. Because I know you are safe and able to make it in this world. You are strong, you are loved, and you know what family is! Stay strong son.

Love Mom,

Shelia

There’s no way I can truly explain how much this means to me.

I didn’t know how wounded I was when it came to family until recently. The shock and surprise I’ve experienced from people saying they love me in the past showed me how cynical I became. Expectations left me wounded, so I decided to not to have any. Moments I hoped for were often left unfulfilled and I lost hope.

But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.

Genesis 50:20 (NKJV)

God said that it’s time to let go of that hurt, forgive, and move forward. Just receive love so that you can love others.

I feel loved back. I reach out to my mom and she reaches back.

There’s no big revelation or sweeping meaning I have today. I just wanted to share with you all something good in my life. I hoped for a family and God is building it right in front of my eyes.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:1 (KJV)

If life has broken you over and over again, trust that it will all work together for your good and keep faith. It makes all the things you hope for real. Keep the faith.

Turn Your Brightness Up!

#BeMagnificent🔆

Tree Rooted by Living Waters

The day-to-day stress of life can sometimes be enough to crush boulders. Between finances, politics, loved ones, planning for the future, and reflecting on the past, the pressure of daily life is sickening. I know that I’ve had moments where sometimes I threw in the towel and said I’d try again tomorrow. Somewhere in the world, a college student is re-watching the Office with three papers due in the morning.

Continue reading “Tree Rooted by Living Waters”

Conquering Lust

Sin was noise.

The more I sinned, the louder the noise got in my head. I would be overwhelmed by thoughts going in and out, continuously looping around my brain, day and night. It would get so busy in my mind, that the smallest thought would get lost in a maze never to be seen again. I would be paralyzed by words. Frozen by occurrences. Divided by past, present, and future.

I was doing everything right though. I looked the part. Women loved me. I acted the part. I had a handsome and cool crew of friends that commanded rooms when we entered. I had the prestige. People knew my name. I could hold a conversation with anyone. I could go anywhere and feel comfortable. I was doing all of the right things needed to be known, seen, and leave a mark. By all accounts, I should have been happy.

Even in laughter the heart may sorrow,
And the end of mirth may be grief.

Proverbs 14:13 (NKJV)

In isolation, I would fall into depression. I would go out with friends, drink, meet women, and whether I went home alone or not, would want to be left alone while being deafly afraid of being alone. I’d pick a different girl every night of the week to spend time with but really didn’t want to be with any of them. I would lay awake at night replaying scenes from the day, over and over again, with different decisions and outcomes nonstop. I would rationalize the good and the bad until no option was unscrutinized. Decisions left me anxious in times of action, and depressed in times stillness. Focus evaded me, confidence alluded me, I doubted myself, and at the same time, I didn’t know me at all. I was a bundle of nerves held together by scotch tape with a fancy veneer.

I’ve had numerous moments like this in life. However, three or four years ago, I didn’t want to deal with things the same way I did before; going out until I built a steady stable of women to distract me from myself. I didn’t want to hide in a bottle or beg to be around people that were similarly empty. Yet, I would stay at home watching those going out, faking happiness, but faking happiness together, while I sat at home wondering if there was something I was missing.

There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.

PROVERBS 14:12 (NKJV)

I filled that space with religion, but not God, for a while. I built expectations of church, family, and friends that were unreasonable and got disappointed when they didn’t follow through. I did everything to reach some semblance of peace. I reached towards God, not knowing why or how. My surprise was when He reached back.

I started to hear from God again around that time and in Lukewarm Obedience I decided to push through the things thought were the most difficult to me, Celibacy and giving up my social relationship with Alcohol. The alcohol was the easy part, I haven’t touched a drop in months, but the Celibacy was the hard part.

Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

2 Timothy 2:22

It was more than just the Celibacy that seemed difficult. I hadn’t been having sex but everyday was a challenge not to bow to lust. It was the masturbation when stressed, easy access to porn online, sexual photos on Instagram, shows/movies with long love-making scenes, freaky conversations on Twitter, lustful lyrics in music, and the constant thoughts about relationships. Everything was connected to make me desire personal satisfaction without limit. I was fighting hard, but it was only me fighting.

This past January hit and during a new 21-day fast, God’s voice became clear. He wanted to see how much I desired to be free from the things that bound me for such a long time. I didn’t just give up food, it was a time to get closer to the Lord. I listened to only Gospel music, gave up hip-hop podcasts, read my Bible twice a day, woke up at 5:30am to pray daily, fasted, and spent more time with my spiritual father. All this time with God started to calm me. The noise quieted. My nerves were eased and it was just better. I woke up every morning happy, and ready to get closer to the Lord.

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Isaiah 26:3

In 2017, I focused on my Celibacy a lot. Every day was a success, I constantly counted days and celebrated each one, but when I stumbled, I stumbled hard. I would beat myself up and that would cycle into me stumbling again. It would start off as reading sexual tweets from women masked as their sexual liberation and fighting against misogyny. Then, it would turn into looking at pictures or 10-second clips of beautiful women. Then, I’d find myself searching porn or looking at old “memories” of my exes. By the end, I’d be a big horny monster, still unfulfilled, but content until the next urge hit a few hours later.

God started off gradual. He didn’t force anything. He just asked me if I wanted to continue like this. He explained to me that overcoming sin is not something I can do on my own. No matter how hard I try, there will always be moments of weakness, but in Him, I am strong. He told me that the reason I fail is because I’m doing it instead of letting the Holy Spirit work in me to change my desires. He explained that the reason I kept going back is because I’m not willing to change my current life. I cannot have two masters: myself & God. I needed to pick one.

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Matthew 6:24 (NKJV)

God told me to clean my house. I looked around at my apartment and it was like I could finally see for the first time. I saw old artifacts, gifts, and reminders of women, dating back eight years, still taking up room. God told me to make space. While I was cleaning out my dresser, I came across my bag of emergency condoms. I was about to close the drawer when God asked, “Are you planning to fail?” I paused. Felt the truth, and I threw them away. God never yells or condemns me. He just asked a simple question. My answer shocked even myself. I declared to God, “I am celibate until marriage.” My whole body quivered for a second, and then I placed my trash outside for pick-up.

I unfollowed people on social media that lived in ways that I’d be negatively influenced by. My rules regarding women changed, putting space between me and women in relationships or keeping additional numbers of people around so I not alone past a certain time. I deleted ALL of my old “memories” of exes so I wouldn’t have anything to be tempted by. There was even a young lady, from my past that I loved dearly, that I had to let go. I realized I was leaning on her in case of emergency. If I had a bad day or something didn’t work out right, deep down I knew I could call her up, and she would make me feel like I mattered. She was my crutch. God’s words rang true, “Are you planning to fail?”

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 

Matthew 5:27-29 (KJV)

It wasn’t just lust I started to deal with, it was insecurities too. I threw away t-shirts and objects connected to certain times in my life that weighed me down. I let go of people and ideas that seemed to hinder my self-esteem. I looked at my life and removed all the distractions and stumbling blocks I could think of. I just wanted to be free. But, God had to tell me, this alone wouldn’t free me. My pastor said you can get rid of all the objects in your house, live like a monk, and still be bound. God said he was right.

It wasn’t the objects holding me back. It was me. It was the feelings, emotions, and beliefs that had to be broken and came out of agreement with. I held on to those things from so many years ago because I was afraid I wouldn’t get new things, meet new people, or have new experiences. I held on to the hope of meeting them again at another place, in another time, because I didn’t trust that someone could, would, or should love me again. I realized that even the lust wasn’t really about the sex to me, it was about feeling loved. It was about feeling like I mattered to someone enough to share their deepest secrets with. Sex was valuable to me. It was a way for me to prove I mattered and give weight to my existence. Yet, when I went even deeper, it was about my trust in God.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

I finally got it. Was I still planning to fail? Was I trying so hard to hold on to the past because those were my “best days”? Did I truly believe that was it for me? A handful of nights of spontaneity and liquor, followed by days of trying to retrace my steps, fix what was broken, or hold together until the next chance for letting go? I wanted more for myself. I believe that God wants more for me. Lust lost its luster. It became easy to give up the things I was holding on to because I trust God to give me better. I just have to be patient.

Lust hasn’t been a problem since. I might have a second here or there where I need to remind myself of God’s promises, but I feel more confident and calm than I have in years. I have no desire to get ahead of my blessings because I believe my Father loves me too much to not have the joy of someone to share my entire self with one day. I’ve tried too long to do it on my own with little to show for it. My Father put too much time and energy into shaping me for me to be giving myself away for such a low price and at such a high cost. Lust is a trick. It is the desire to take something ahead of its time without knowing if its yours or not. Lust is impatience, distrust, and pride rolled into one. Lust is a lot, but it’s not mine anymore.

Hope you all enjoyed this. It was much harder to write than I expected. My perspective has changed and I wanted to share my lessons learned. Do you have stories of confronting Lust? Let me know in the comments below.

Turn Your Brightness Up!

#BeMagnificent🔆

Digging Deep

My first post of this year, Working the Land, ended up setting the pace for many areas of my life. I haven’t talked about the prophetic here yet, but I didn’t even comprehend some of the things that were spoken over my own life by me. I didn’t grasp how deep God wanted me to go.

Continue reading “Digging Deep”

Reborn Daily

Summer is a time for adventure. Summer is a break from the chaos of the more hectic months while being filled with spontaneity. You want to barbecue with friends? Go ahead. You want to take a day trip to the beach? Do it! Every day is a chance for something new. Summer is bottled sunshine and joy.

Except when it isn’t.

For the last few summers, I have felt a deep loneliness. A dark, suffocating cloud that tries to remind me of all the pain and failures in my life.

I’ve lost friends, relationships, and family members all around the same time each year. Summer seems to remind me that I am broke and alone, trying to make the best out of what I have.

Solitude magnifies whatever is there at the time.

I have a lot of friends that I love dearly but most of my friends have their own lives and so many things going on that I’d hate to distract them. My family always wants to see me, but my financial situation always gets in the way. Then, the darkness from my grandmother’s Homegoing sits on my chest, making it harder for me to move. I get stuck, in my supposed lack of everything.

That’s when I realized how much I needed to work on being okay with myself. I wanted people around to validate my existence. If a person chose me to talk to or spend time with, that means I have value to someone’s life. When people weren’t around or someone left me, I would take that as a sign of my unworthiness. I am not meant to have close friends. I am just going to be alone.

Solitude is a great teacher of reflection but if didn’t realize you walked into that class, on test day, it’s going to be rough.

I sat at home wondering, why do I need to talk to somebody right now? I had an urge to fill up the silence in my life, with something else. The more time I spent reflecting, the more I realized that I filled up my free time with parties, events, and people because being truly alone scared me. When you are alone, that’s when you are forced to keep yourself company.

I started to think about my desire for relationships and how I had options and people that wanted my time, but something indescribable kept me from being content. I truly enjoyed some of these people but deep down I would go through periods of disgust, not with them, but myself. I don’t want to talk today.

I desire close friends but I’m so tired of opening myself up and then getting hurt. 

When I started to connect with God, things slowly changed. I’d be happier for a longer period of time. I’d feel good waking up and going to sleep because I read my Bible or did a devotional. But eventually, that glow would fade.

As it faded, I was reminded I had to build myself up again. Refuel with the Word, and try it again. I had to constantly remind myself that I was worthy because when I didn’t, I would feel dead on the inside again.

Every day I feel somewhat dead.

Every day I have to revive myself with reminders of love and worth.

Every day a dark cloud tries to form.

Every day I push the darkness away with affirmations and prayer.

Every day I feel down.

Every day I feel a little stronger.

Everyday the enemy attacks.

Every day my God keeps me safe.

I’ve struggled so much with self-love because I was raised not knowing that my value is in my existence. I am loved because I am. People in my life come and go but that doesn’t change who I am. I am loved. If I am not loved by anybody else, not even myself, I am loved by God.

I am loved because of my existence. I exist because I am loved.

I remind myself of that every single day.

What have been some doubts and dark clouds that you’ve struggled with? How do you change your forecast? What brings light in your life? Please let me know in the comments below!

Turn Your Brightness Up!

#BeMagnificent🔆

Self Love Defined

Love is everywhere. There have been thousands of songs and movies about love at first sight with a stranger from across the room, passionate forbidden love, and seasoned love strengthened through adversity over time. However, there isn’t much about self-love.

Continue reading “Self Love Defined”