Living Set Apart

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone has looked at my life and said “goals”. I always think to myself, if only you knew the half of it. It’s amazing how we can look at what someone has now and desire it, not knowing everything it took for them to get there. If we understood what each person’s journey has consisted of, I don’t know that we would envy or long for what they have.

My mother was the first in her family to graduate high school and go to college but she had to return home after becoming pregnant with me. She raised me as a single parent, making only $10 an hour. For me, this meant growing up quickly. This meant growing up not feeling whole. What is it like to have expensive clothes? What is it like to live in a house? What is it like to have your dad around? I had no idea.  

Then, a series of events happened that changed the trajectory of my life.

I was molested at 13.
In an abusive relationship by 17.
Was raped at 19.
Dove into another abusive relationship at 20.
Attempted suicide.
Sunk into anxiety and depression.

Keep in mind, I grew up in church. I knew what the Bible said. I knew what I should and shouldn’t do. I went to church on Sundays but every other day was lived how I wanted. I battled having an inconsistent relationship with Christ.

During my final semester of college I was the furthest away from God I had ever felt. I didn’t know that I could ever feel close to Him again.  

In 2016 Solange came out with a song, Cranes and in Sky, that became my life’s anthem - she just got me. In it she sings “I tried to drink it away. I tried to sex it away” and that’s exactly what I did yet nothing changed. That IT simply wouldn’t leave. I didn’t know what IT was that I was trying to push away. Was it my lack of confidence? Was it the pain of past abuse that would ambush me just when I thought I was having a good day? Or was it the fact that I had done everything right and was getting ready to graduate without a job?

 This IT consumed me day and night and told me I was less than. IT whispered in my ear that I was too far from God to call on him for help.

One night it all became too much and I was contemplating suicide yet again. It had been almost three years since the last time I had those thoughts, so I called my mom and I cried uncontrollably on the phone with her for two hours. In between sobs all I could utter was “Why me?” My mom listened to me cry out to God for help and mercy. She prayed as I begged God to be happy again.

In that moment, I heard God tell me “Baby girl, I just need you to trust me. I can work with where you are.”

It was that afternoon that I decided to live intentionally and pursue God as fiercely as he pursues me. I made a commitment to honor my body and to protect my peace. Within one month I had a job offer with a marketing agency. My women’s organization has grown tremendously. My relationship with myself is the healthiest it’s ever been, and I can now say I have JOY. Even on the bad days.

My journey was hard, but I find so much happiness in the fact that God set me apart and trusted me to be able to endure this life. Now I can tell little girls who don't have their fathers around that they are loved. I can honestly tell sexual assault survivors that they can still live their best life.

I love people. I love Jesus. And I hope everyone I encounter feels that. As I continue to walk in this freedom, I’ve found rest in obedience to God. I don't have it all together and I won't pretend to; I don’t have to. Because grace doesn’t mean that you’ll always get it right, it means that you’ll never be so wrong that you can’t be used.