His Love Is In The DETAILS!!!!

I was listening to a sermon this morning during my daily devotion and it struck a chord with me. Among other things, it empowered me to share a testimony I’ve been holding on to. Holding on to it because I felt it was too precious, too monumental to my life. I’ve felt like I couldn’t put its power into words, that doing so would be minimalizing it. I realize now though, that someone’s elses life may depend on me bearing witness to God’s goodness.

Back to the sermon though! At some point, the Apostle said something to the effect of, “Do you know how many people would be delivered if they knew God already knows their details?? When you realize God sees you, it will break you!” I took those words in, thought about what God Himself has done in MY life and wept right on the CTA bus I was sitting on. Why did I burst into silent tears on a crowded bus like a weirdo?? Well because that’s EXACTLY what happened to me!!

A long time ago, I was saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Ghost. I surrendered all of myself that was humanly possible, or so I thought. I submitted. I also called myself giving my life to God, but saving ALL the tawdry details. He’s so awesome though, that He saw them anyhow. He saw the hurt I’ve endured, the pain I covered, the loss I thought was healed, the emptiness I swore was filled, and He took it from me. He came and met me where I was, and delivered me anyhow, right there in THAT space.

He knew what I needed to save my life, even when I thought I had a handle on that too. I told myself I just needed Him to do this, this and that and I would handle the rest of the ugliness myself. It’ll all come out in the wash, I told myself. I couldn’t have been more wrong. He came and got all that too!! All of it!! He saw ME, every single piece of me and touched that too. TOOK that too.

In that time, I was blessed beyond measure by my vast village. Christmas of 2016 showed me that beyond a shadow of a doubt no matter what I have seen in this lifetime, I am loved, cared for, I matter. At a time where I was reduced to one of my lowest points my village crouched down to pick me up, showing me there are people who will fight for me when I have no fight left. The Lord truly sent His team of angels down and healed me in a mighty way!! Removed every single doubt that my life didn’t matter much, and sowed into me in such a way that I would NEVER have to worry about that again. I knew before we celebrated the birth of Christ the next morning, that my life had been forever changed. AND. IT. BROKE. ME.

That aint all though. During that time, my life was changed, I knew I was different, but I STILL held on to some things. Even some people. There were some portions of my life, some matters of the heart I believed I can handle myself. I began to endure hardships of the HEART that I couldn’t believe. I felt like “Lord what else do you WANT from me?!?!? You done took, returned & took again all my WORDLY possessions, what am I not doing right??” I began to experience every single form of heartbreak I had placed on another person, every dastardly thing I have ever done to a former suitor was done to me. I WAS HURT, in each and every way I have ever hurt someone else. God would STILL get the glory out of this though. It was THERE that I physically realized, GOD WANTS THE THINGS YOU HIDING FROM HIM TOO!! He wanted my ugliness, he wanted the terrible portions of me too. He wanted to make me new, but He needed ME in order to do so. He saw me, in my entirety.

AND. IT. BROKE. ME. It silenced me, overwhelmed me. Left me where I didn’t have anything substantial to hold on to anymore, BUT GOD!! I wondered, why would anything love ME so much?? Why would anything or anyone go so hard for lil ol me?? Was I really worth all this work?? God sat with me, stayed with me in that space until I met the ME He knew!! I was changed!!! Changed in a way that’s indescribable, broken in a way that I never knew I needed to be & I was so happy about it. I met me in that space. & I fell in love with her. I was shown WHY I was worth the work, why someone would go so hard for lil ol me!! & I’m sure it was uncomfortable for those around me witnessing me being so different, but imagine my own surprise as I began to move throughout the days, weeks, & months to come.

I’m sure the transition has been weird for most, is still weird for me today, but to God be the GLORY for the changing, the pressing, the stretching!! The ME that I met? Yall she so beautiful, so full of life and love, so selfless and giving, caring beyond measure. Her heart is so pure, she is so light it’s indescribable!! Her temperance is different, her movements not the familiar, her cares not the same. She lost the need to control people and things and situations because she has seen for herself who truly has control over her life. She is more grateful than she ever knew was possible.

The Shannon that was changed by a world she resided in before she got a chance to figure out how to navigate it was taken back, restored by the Lord Himself. The Lord gave her back the gift of trust, of forgiveness, of love, true love. I was molded again. Touched in places I didn’t know I needed to be. He has reopened my heart, allowed me to trust FIRST, love anyhow, and has repaired where I was broken.

I had been afraid before to let people touch the rough patches, the broken places. Now I know to share them for the world to see. They are MY stripes and living proof, EVIDENCE that the God I serve is a healer and a redeemer!! I also realize now that someone is at a place in their life where they are seeking the answers to their own questions, they are struggling with the same things as I was struggling with, and they are waiting for MY TESTIMONY. They haven’t been brought out of the darkness they’re experiencing because I’m pocketing the light the Lord gifted me with to give others.

My life itself is a GIFT and I realize now that I am but an instrument of the Lord’s. Where ever you are, no matter how dark or bleak it seems, no matter how alone you feel you may be, no matter how dire the straits become, The Lord sees you. He knows the details, and He loves you anyhow. Give him your ugliness, your brokenness, what you cant get right about yourself and watch Him change your life!! As I’ve heard many say before, there is LOVE in the details!!

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A Prayer of Desparation

The violence in Chicago is suffocating, and sometimes this is the only way to breathe…

“I’m going up yonder, I’m going up yonder, going up yonder, to be with my Lord.”
I just hope that He’ll embrace me when I arrive.
That when I lift my head and look The Most High in His eyes,
He’ll stretch his arms wide and welcome me into the realm of a new life.
That He’ll erase all trepidation and memories of my previous plight,
Correct my posture and show me how to walk in a righteous light.
That with one touch he’ll wipe away the remnants of all the tears I cried night after night.
That in an instant, all wrong will be right.
What had died in me will come back to life.
That the song in my soul will no longer be quieted.
& I’ll be forgiven no matter what it was that I’d did.
I’d encounter a brief reminder of my inheritance and be given life again.
Since I was born into a system not setup to let me win.
A society that damns our boys to hell before they can even dream of becoming men.
Leading them to believe that making it includes a life of crime, countless trips to the pen, and making babies they’ll never see again.
Ultimately being murdered cause it’s supposedly honor in getting your face on a tshirt and being carried by 6 of your friends.
That swiftly sweeps our girls into a tornado of treachery and sin.
Telling them that the only way to win is by having a fat ass and weave that hangs down to it, and getting on their back and underneath some man.
That it’s ok to have baby after baby as long as they’ll accept you at the aid office again.
That they don’t need no help cause that LINK card is the secret to their plan.
& I know I just pissed some folks off but,
I’ve sobbed so often and toiled over the turmoil in the state I’m in.
& I ain’t talking about Illinois, I’m talking about the fact that I’m a Chicagoan…
That I have two boys and daily I feel like I place them up against the wind,
That letting them play outside on our block is like an unspoken death sentence.
Where yeah it’s cops walking our communities but we still lack the resources to bring about the change needed from within.
Where it’s 6 gang factions in a 3 block radius and fear of their foolishness has frozen our streets.
& day after day we’re shocked by the disregard for our lives and left in total disbelief.
So I’ll go first if I have to, just so I can beg at God’s feet,
To have mercy on mine and do a favor for me, by bringing CHITOWN back,
Cause it’s only our babies that are losing out, being casualties of Chiraq.

Bloodshed

I live every day with a crippling, suffocating fear. I fear that each time I walk away from my 2 young sons, I won’t get them back in the same condition I left them. Yes, I’m a God fearing woman and I believe in the works He has for us, I pray constantly and plead the blood over my babies. I also understand that even in this world we live in and God controls, bad things sometimes happen to great people, and my sons are NOT exempt. I also live in Chicago, a beautiful city full of life and culture, that is stained by the blood of our babies. Where youth and adults alike proclaim YOLO and the mass mentality is concerned about when the newest sneakers come out, or what other folk are wearing, or what celebrities are doing, and the SAFETY and SANITY of my babies and all the others just like them aren’t a priority. Yeah I know you grown folks gotta live y’all lives too, you only get one, etc etc, but I don’t want my babies to have to live fast and die young, nor should you. When do we have enough?!? The loss of life is already insurmountable! When do we recreate our sense of community? When do we reclaim our pride and dignity as a people?!?! When can mothers and fathers stop fearing, believing, coming to terms with the fact that they may very well bury their own children?!?! How do we get our “brand new day”?!?!

Lessons In Loss

There isn’t much that’s artistic about this. It’s just how I really feel and what I really needed to say. Just because I Miss you Daddy.

Destroyed to my core in the very instant that you left,
I put on a brave face for the world and never really focused on myself.
Didn’t use any of those stolen moments to examine what affect losing you really had on me,
I kept busy with minor details until pain was something I refused to see.
It has taken me 2,355 days to realize how much this grief has kept me trapped,
And to realize that no matter how many tears I cry, not even God Himself is gonna give you back.
It’s been so hard for me to admit that pieces of me just wanted to cling to you and got trapped inside your coffin,
Even though the nightmares of my face being replaced with yours inside it came to me so often.
So many people told me back then that time would make this road easier, but 56,520 hours have passed and I STILL haven’t found that to be true,
And in my darkest hours I’ve seen that they buried so much of my heart and soul underneath that soil with you.
This though, has been a day filled with revelation and it hasn’t come a moment too late,
Because the woman I am today understands that for some of God’s greatest gifts we must patiently wait.
Daddy, God just spoke to me and told me to give Him every ounce of this load that hurts,
He also reminded me that before you were taken away, He loved me enough to bless me with you first.
He brought up all our adventures together, every powerful lesson I’ve learned,
And caught each one of my tears in His hand as He assured me that your rest is something you have earned.
He scolded me for apologizing for loving you so dearly and convinced me that was his intent when He introduced me to you,
And gave me word that you’re proud of who I am today and of the woman I am growing into.
He said that He agreed that some parts of me were buried the day we laid you to rest,
But that too was by His design and assured me that He knows best.
He showed me that the largest thing that I buried with you was the spirit of defeat,
And gave me example after example of how since I’ve lost you I continue to land on my feet.
He made me remember that I learned then that if I sought Him there was nothing I couldn’t overcome,
And that I’m continuing to run in this race because I’m being carried by His Son.
The thing that made me smile most was the last message He gave because I know in my heart that it’s true.
He said he understands that it is now 3,391,200 minutes later, but it’s OKAY if I still miss you.
I love you Daddy.

You Had Me At Hello…

I heard your whispers when you wished for me,
So I went to God on your behalf.
Although I didn’t have a name or a face to match with the voice,
I pleaded with him to give us a chance.
I explained to Him your need for my love and that I’d heard you say so yourself,
And I knew in that instant you could have only meant me,
that I was sure you couldn’t be speaking of anyone else.
He confessed to me that we were indeed created for each other,
but our union would not come without work.
He told me the task before me may not be easy,
and I definitely would not be your first.
He counseled me on how to strudge through the storms,
and when needed, how to carry us through unscathed.
Told me He’d waited for the right moment,
but my heart told Him I was ready,
and next was the blessing He gave.
He fashioned my soul’s song to match yours,
and with that, He sent me down to Earth.
An angel with a royal inheritance
seeking her king, Oh! What a blessed search.
My arrival didn’t come without trials,
I was tested and even experienced some pain.
I was armed with the foresight to know though,
that my reward would be priceless once you came.
I met handsome men, even rich ones,
some intelligent and debonair,
but as soon as they opened their mouths I dismissed them.
THAT voice just wasnt there.
When I saw YOU though, my spirit danced,
and my heart seemed to skip a beat.
I tried to gather myself,
but I’ll admit it,
I held my breath and waited for you to speak.
As I look in your eyes in this moment I can tell you,
there’s more power in your voice than you know.
Your declarations of love today don’t go unnoticed,
but you had me at “Hello.”

Somebody Challenged Me

Oh boy!!! Well, well, well. A certain somebody I know challenged me yall. So you KNOW I couldn’t wait to respond right?!?! 😀

“Renewed”

If I left it up to my past, I probably wouldn’t be real romantic.
Luckily I’m a lover who believes in renewal and second chances.
You see although I’ve been hurt before, broken apart by different beaus,
I wouldn’t change those experiences and am still grateful to the men I chose.
With each loss came new life and a different lesson learned,
That makes me hopeful for the future and positive that real love will return.
Folks shy away from commitment, afraid to catch it like a cold.
Forgetting to seek or desire a mate with which they have the opportunity to grow old.
I welcome the concept of my spirits match,
And vow to give him all that I am.
I’m smart enough to admire, respect, cherish, honor & appreciate a good man.
I keep my soul focused on forgiveness,
So my mind and heart remain steady.
Cause although I’ve never actually met him,
I love him already…

Love. That’s Life. Shan

Listen Up I Got A Story To Tell…

Wish there was a way to make this short! Aint really a nutshell big enough to be useful here though. From what I can remember, I started as a bubbly lil girl that smiled big but lived in fear. Life not always being what you see on TV became a lesson that was painfully clear. Early on I learned to function, but never really mastered trust. Knew that it may not always feel good, but live this life thing we must. Daddy’s lil girl but I kept secrets from him too, but as a baby wit grown problems that’s all I knew to do. I had a way about me though and folks seemed to love that. Took to me, accepted me, loved my personality, never saw what I was holding back. Cause I smiled big… Fast forward, I’m not so small and I began to make new friends and although I always felt I was nothing like them there was so much they seemed to understand. They gave me another life outside of pain, made life almost brand new. Those friends are still pressing wit me, helping me see life’s obstacles through. (Shoutout to yall! ;-D) Beautiful, bright, brilliant, I’m not tooting my own horn. I’ve just learned to speak those things to myself cause of some other names I’ve worn. Things that always kept me torn. Speed up some more, I’m a teen and I’m tryna find my way. Got stronger and learned to not respond to what folks who don’t really know me say. Had docs that didn’t know my story say shit like “She’s depressed, her actions are clear signs of post traumatic stress.” Stress? That’s what yall call it? Cause I felt more like repressed, held back, held down, forgotten, but a winner nonetheless. Did I forget to mention I ALWAYS smiled big? I did that cause as a tiny chick I had an aunt that introduced me to God and I knew well enough to go to Him when things got a lil too hard. Now having faith didn’t translate into a promise that I wouldn’t go through, it just gave me a plan, an idea of exactly what to do. I grew. And so did my smiles… Then came the weight loss and the fainting and extended hospital stays. The migraines and the heart troubles, I had some weary days. I met a man, I loved him hard and I took on his last name, but he had to go away and I was alone again by the time the baby came. The other man, he was my first love, always knew exactly what to say. Had a way of fixing me like no other but life took my Daddy too one day. That’s when I learned devastation. But I survived, and so did my smile. Things got good, things got tough. I rode the roller coaster of the living. Figured out how to make it with what life hands you and make the best of what you’re given. My liver failed, my brain swelled, they even told me my heart was enlarged. The believer in me though, she never forgot who was really in charge. My God!!! So. I. SMILED! Walking across the street, I got run over one day. I got past that too, here living to see more days. Now do you see WHY I smile?!?! I had some more relationships, those seemed to fail too, but I knew that I would make it even with the addition of baby number two. See my story isn’t a novel of “Life’s rough, woe is me.” Its a testament of faith and what strength, perserverance, and triumph look like to me. I am not yet, who I am to be. BUT, I’m STILL SMILING!!!