The Year of Growth.

I’ll go ahead and get right to it. I haven’t posted in about a year, and the last time I did, it was a short poem about an exhaustive break-up. I made the conscious decision never to go back to that place. I decided that I would start fresh emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and bloggally. (I know that’s not a word) LOL.

Last year was, in short, one of the most devastating and exhilarating ones I’ve ever had. I felt pain that I didn’t know existed and experienced freedom I didn’t know was inside of me. I could meticulously break it down, and tell you my lowest and highest points, but this isn’t my diary, and I think that until told otherwise, I will be conscious about keeping certain things between myself and God.

With that, I wasn’t sure what the topic of this blog would be, but as I tried to narrow it down to 3-4 ideas, I found that GROWTH was a recurring theme. I’ve been talking about growth all year, and today I went ahead and looked up the formal definition:

“the process of increasing in physical size.”

I was pissed. I mean I knew that growing had something to do with size, but I think the idea of growth has been much more than “increasing in physical size” in my personal life. I decided to define it for myself, because choosing another word would be too easy.

“the process of refining; flourishing.”

The question is, how do we do that? As people, how do we intentionally put ourselves in a position to become more refined and full with beauty? How do we make the necessary changes in our lives in order to become who we are intended to be? I think we’re supposed to just do it. I often hear people say, “easier said than done,” when I advise them to do things they may not want to do, but I don’t think that’s true anymore. The action isn’t always the hard part, it’s the emotional effect of those actions that are hard to handle. DO IT. Break off the relationships that bring all glory to anyone but God. Do away with the self-hate that you’ve justified for as long as you’ve known you didn’t love yourself fully. Remove yourself from people. Remove yourself from things. Put yourself in a position to hurt a little, that lack of comfort may be the push you need. There is nothing wrong with breaking down in order to rebuild.

Growth is a constant and it is imperative that we never think we’ve finished. There is always room for progress, and my past relationships taught me that I am often tempted to stop my growing process for the sake of someone else’s. For years I thought that was love. For years I thought that’s what true sacrifice was supposed to look and feel like. I thought that in order for me to completely and fully serve the people around me- I had to accept them destroying my personal peace. Lies. I listened to a podcast a few weeks ago, and the author stated,

“Fear and anxieties create this world where the only thing that exists is myself and the threat to the thing that I love..”

I wasn’t sure how that related to my life until now. There was an underlying fear that I may not have been loving intensely enough, and that fear convinced me that the only thing that existed was Shakiyla, and whatever was hurting the people I cared for. In that state of being- I lived a life of combat. Every day my sole purpose was to defeat the threat, in hopes that I’d come out alive. It was exhausting. It was impossible. I had a God-complex. I wanted to be the savior of all people I held dear, and in that pursuit, I died.

I say all of this to say, love is a call for sacrifice, forgiveness, and an unconditional presence in the lives of broken people (us). At some point, though, we have to stop and reflect on whether or not we are actually loving and being loved. We have to be sure that we aren’t sacrificing and being broken down for the sake of loyalty to someone/something that isn’t grounded in true love. It’s a complex thing; love. I think that the more we slow down in an attempt to understand it, the better we’ll get at expressing it.

I’m growing. I have forgiven people who ruined all that I thought made me who I am, and I have grown to love the woman I’ve become. I am walking in obedience. I am protected. I am growing.

Feel free to comment, and share.

I love you.

I Won’t Tell My Single Mother Happy Father’s Day.

Let me preface this blog with a couple of things:

1. The title wasn’t meant to trick you into reading it. No where in here do intend on twisting my words and giving my moms any recognition dealing with Father’s day. I titled it that way because it’s true and we both hold true to that truth.

2. This blog is intended for Christian women. If you’re not a Christian woman, stop reading it… If you are constantly seeking God and His will, as well as things that bring Him glory, this blog is for you. I’m not looking for arguments or controversy, although they may come, I’m simply speaking from the point of view of a 22 year old woman with two brothers who has watched her mother independently prepare a family for this life.

Now, with that being said, I do not wish my moms a happy father’s day. One reason being, well, she isn’t my father. It’d be really easy for her to completely do away with my dad’s existence and have us all acknowledge her as the father figure but truth be told, she isn’t. I think it needs to be known and understood that children need a father. Women that boldly state they don’t need a man are seemingly prideful or hurt by some absence. Now, I’m probably biting off more than I can chew but watch me chomp. Young boys need a man that can adequately show them what a man is supposed to look like. In the same token, young women need a man that can love them innocently and unconditionally. Again, this is me speaking from MY OWN experience. Father’s Day has always had this sort of stench in my heart. It weighs heavily on my emotions and insecurities. I know this to be true of my female friends without fathers, as well as the men. I have been more than blessed with multiple father-like figures teaching and loving me in a way that my moms simply can’t. Of these men, 3 are pastors and 1 is simply amazing. This same truth is evident in both of my brothers’ lives. We all need Godly men and my mom knows that and humbly let’s them guide us, not because she’s inadequate, because she’s practically perfect, but because that’s not the role given her by God. THIS IS ANOTHER OF THE MANY REASONS WHY WE NEED MEN IN THE CHURCH TO BE MEN. Not simply to go to meetings or play leader but to actually step in where they are needed and engage with the body.

In Ephesians, God shows the roles of believers and as far as Fathers to children, it reads very clearly, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Eph. 6:4

Growing up I always applied that verse to whatever man decided they wanted to be a “fatherly” figure and if the shoe didn’t fit, he got the boot. Children needing a father isn’t the only reason I don’t celebrate my moms being my dad. The primary reason for my not doing so is because she has so eloquently taught me who the Father of my heart is. She made it evident in her life and ours that no matter what earthy figure ceases to exist, our Heavenly Father is everlasting, unchanging, and will always love me and my brothers unconditionally. Perfect right? I know man. She’s amazing. I do thank her for that though, I sincerely thank her for not being a typical, angry, single mother. I thank her for trusting God with her children. I thank her for trusting God with her own heart. I find myself thanking her a lot. In my thankfulness, she still points me to my Father. Again, in Ephesians 1:3, God is blessed for His giving us, His undeserving children, Jesus as an atonement so we can rest in His presence and glorify His name. I love my Father. My pops, dad, papa, whatever you wanna call it. He is my all and my mother got to use my earthly father’s absence as a testimony of the faithfulness of our God. She did it. As hard as I’m sure it is, she continues to do it.

Ok. I have one more reason why I don’t do it, then I’ll go away. I know a lot of men who are spitting images of what God the father is to His children to their children. I think they can have the same recognition I give my moms on Mother’s Day. I grew up around very few men, let alone good ones so it’s weird seeing the “bash brigade” on Facebook and Twitter every Father’s Day, knowing the De La Rosa, Shepherd, Edwards, Davis, Robles,Thomas, and many other men that are MEN. Appreciate them. Encourage them to continue to raise their children up in the way of the Lord. Use this day to serve in love and peace.

That’s pretty much all I’ve got. God is my Father, not my mommy. My father was imperfect, similar to all of us. We are called to forgive, love unconditionally, and live a life that brings glory to God. So, CHRISTIAN, single mothers, what better opportunity to bear witness the the Father in Heaven to your children, than this?

-Shakiyla.

For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.” [Genesis 18:19 ESV] – See more at: http://www.gospelherald.com/articles/51605/20140613/fathers-day-bible-verses-and-quotes-christian-history-prayers-for-dads-husbands.htm#sthash.GUGbA7Ym.dpuf
For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.” [Genesis 18:19 ESV] – See more at: http://www.gospelherald.com/articles/51605/20140613/fathers-day-bible-verses-and-quotes-christian-history-prayers-for-dads-husbands.htm#sthash.GUGbA7Ym.dpuf

im His daughter.

Image

I’m a thinker. I find myself sitting in the room, in my car, or at the foot of the Cross creating scenarios in my head. I don’t find it strange, sometimes it’s simply an interference during my day. So, I’m sitting on the couch in the living room right now right? I find myself thinking about what I would say to Charles, my father, if I had the chance. Now, my introduction wasn’t much of an introduction so I guess y’all don’t know much about our relationship. Well, to make a long story short, there was none. He left when I was 5, called on my 10th and 12th birthdays, called the week before he died, and died when I was 14. Now, you may think it cold of me to be all cavalier-like when discussing the death of the man that took part in creating me, but like I said before, we had little to no communication.

So, back to my initial thought. I’m just thinking, if I was ever given the opportunity to say one thing to him, what would I say? Well, I’m 21years old. I’ve never had to love a man and I’m struggling to learn how. My God is my Father and I sometimes struggle with learning how to love Him as well. All this to say, the whole “daddy” thing is not really my FORTE. Well, the more I thought, the more I ran through my head, the more I struggled with what I would even say.

I think I’ve concluded that I’d thank him.

I’d thank him for his deciding to build a relationship with my younger sister instead of me. That pretty much has shown me that NO man can ever be trusted to ALWAYS choose me first, other than my God. No matter my situation, age, innocence, nothing. God is the only one I am absolutely sure has chosen and always will choose me.

I’d also thank him for leaving my moms to raise me on her own. She is now the spitting image of what it takes to become a God-fearing woman WITHOUT the leadership of an EARTHLY man. She had to learn on her own what it meant to devote herself to God. She had to understand that she is not the father in our family but is given the honor to let God take the leading role when raising up my brothers and myself. She was put in a situation where when provision was questionable, her faith had to be solid in the fact that our God was the provider. She had to see him as the head of the household and teach us to look to Him for guidance and understanding.

I think I may also thank him for calling me when he was sick. Not sarcastically, or out of spite, I’d whole heartedly  thank that man. In those few minutes, laying at his bedside, watching him waste away, he showed me that no matter how wrong someone has ever done me, no matter how hard my heart will ever grow, no matter how abandoned, betrayed, deceived, or rejected one person has ever made me feel, that I am called to love them like my Father has loved me. I vividly remember that night. I see his face in my mind more than I’d like. I remember. Those memories simply remind me of how bad it can get, but it’ll never compare to the way I deny God with my sin and he continues to sit and my bedside, as I’m wasting away, losing myself, trying to tie loose ends, he still sits at my bedside and pours out His love to me in the most pure and satisfying way.

I’m not sure why Charles did the things he did. I’m not sure why he left. I’m not sure why he called. There are many questions I’ve wanted to ask him but now, while I sit on this couch, listening to John Legend, I’ve decided that all I’d want to do is thank him.

My God is more Father than he could have ever been and having to tell myself that when I struggle in any relationship is just another form of growth…i guess…

Matthew 23:9 says

“And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.”

that verse brings me a ton of peace. I’m not sure when I’ll do a “biographyish” blog. I’m not really sure if i even want to. I just know I’m really thankful for my daddy and the way He loves me.

goodnighty ❤