I am Woman.

This is my first time posting on the website since I made the decision to have a complete abdominal hysterectomy. I felt myself walk away from writing. I felt myself walk away from opening my heart to the world (or at least the small section of you who follow me) and I was confident that this was okay. Not anymore. In creating this blog, I vowed to share the authentic pieces of life that most people cower away from. I promised my readers that no matter the circumstance, I was their open book. My sole purpose is to reach at least one person who is encouraged enough by my story to either share their own or break free from bondage. This blog was supposed to be a source of service, and service does not stop when it gets hard, so neither will I.

I had the surgery on May 9, 2018. It wasn’t until 9 days later, at exactly 3:19pm that I pressed my head up against my mama and wept. I wasn’t naïve enough to think that I would be okay immediately after, but the crying was so raw, so intense, so painful, that all I could do was sleep after. She held me. I’ve never been held like that before, and I’m thankful that even in the depths of my brokenness, her love prevailed.

Fair warning, this may be a long post, but as these tears rub against my cheeks, I’m confident it’s supposed to be shared in its fullness.

I won’t talk about the sleepless night, the desire to walk on days I couldn’t, or even the physical pain that came with surgery. I want to share more about the mental battle I found myself in; the battle for my joy. There were a few words I wrote over and over again in my journal. I went back and highlighted them so I could visualize their continuity in my heart. These words have led to more growth than I could conjure up on my own, and I’m excited to share. The pictures in this post are a product of a photo-shoot that was supposed to exemplify the beauty in that. There is beauty in my process, and although many people may not sit and wait for it to bloom, I know it’s coming. I thank God for sending Emily  , her camera, and her love for service in truth my way.

LIFE+ POWER + WOMANHOOD

Life: This one has been fairly new in my journal, and conversation with friends. I’ve written life 78 times since the morning of my procedure. Many of those times, it was paired with the word “Create.” I felt like I’d completely relinquished my ability to create life. I felt broken, but more than that, I felt like I’d broken myself. Maybe I should have taken better care. Maybe I should have had kids sooner. Maybe I should have done things differently, and I would be able to do one of the most beautiful things this dark world has to offer; create new life. I gravitate toward nature. Flowers, trees, animals, generally anything that goes through a process most people won’t sit and watch– in order to become what it is intended to be. I found life in myself. I saw growth that I’d started to ignore because I was losing a part of me that I’d cherished for so long. I learned that I have the ability to breathe life. My words have power, and in using them to glorify God and serve His people, I can rest in the fact that losing the ability to give birth naturally is a loss, but a gain one in the same.

 Sunflower

Power: Since May 9th, I’ve written the word power in my journal a total of 157 times. Power is simply defined as one’s ability to do something. It almost seems silly to say it, and quite honestly, when I mentioned having struggled with power very few people understood. I’d felt like I lost power over my life. Not only was I unable to decide whether or not to have children, I was at a place physically where my body didn’t allow me to do anything. There were days I couldn’t stand up, walk, bathe, bend, stretch, and I never realized how the ownership over my physical self was being stripped away. It hurt. I felt useless and more than that powerless. It took weeks for me to finally sit down, anger in my heart and fear in my eyes, and admit that this power was never mine. Time and time again I tried to justify my brokenness with half-hearted encouragements. I needed to fully rely on God, and so I did. The power of His love has slowly been restored in me. I’ve never felt more empowered and driven to bask in the fact that even I am precious. I am fierce. I cannot be duplicated, and there is no woman like me. He created me uniquely beautiful from the inside out, and I love it.

Shakiya

Womanhood: Since April 9th, I’ve written the word womanhood in my journal 198 times. Clearly, it’s been heavy on my mind. Dear people in this life, when a woman is faced with barrenness, please, I beg of you, do not say “Well there’s always adoption…”

  1. This completely disregards the fact that she had a desire that has been stripped away. That in itself hurts. So, imagine walking into the hospital and handing that same desire over along with its future possibility… saying, “well do this INSTEAD” is a dagger. Stop it. I know people who have gone their entire lives wanting something, and that desire is there because it has every right to be. There’s no sense in offering up an obvious ‘solution’.
  2. This completely disregards the fact that these women are likely mourning the death of an unborn child. That may sound farfetched to some but think about it. In conversation, most people mention what sort of parent they’ll be if they aren’t already. They discuss the desire for a son or daughter and why. It’s pretty common. That’s gone. Respect that loss.

In addition, I felt like because I’m unmarried, and childless, my worth in society somewhat plummeted. Hi, I’m Shakiyla Solomon, an educated Black woman and whether or not you want to admit it, that means nearly nothing in American society today. Few people will get excited or even encourage women in their careers, traveling, personal growth, or entrepreneurship because those things don’t make a “woman.” GRANTED, these are not absolutes, and I’m thankful that there are some exceptions, but for the most part, marriage and children define womanhood. I love my life. I love the direction it is going and I’m thankful that I’m finally at a point where the world’s desires for me don’t align with mine and that’s okay. I didn’t realize how much society had molded my own thinking, and in this silence, I found freedom. Does that mean I won’t adopt? Absolutely not. Does that mean I’m shunning all men? Not at all. What I am doing though, is living life at the pace its moving and learning to embrace it. I’m growing.

Shakiyla

These three words continue to penetrate my mind and heart, and as I sift through my personal healing, I’m learning that there is peace on the other side. I will soon be in Africa, and there I will have the ability to love, serve, and lead children and young adults in the ways of love and life. I have been granted the opportunity to serve in a capacity I never thought possible. I’m thankful for these lessons, and more than anything, I’m thankful for the evident growth that has come along with them. Find your truths. Find the things that are hiding behind the lies that have slowly drowned you. Cover them. If you feel like you can’t find them. If you feel like you are an exception and that there is no peace awaiting you, message me and we can work on finding and/or creating one together.

Thank you for reading.

I love you.

The Adoption: Welcome

adoption-hands

Firstly, I really just want to thank everyone for the ABUNDANCE of support and prayer thus far. It’s only been a few days and I am still overwhelmed with thankfulness. My family and friends have for the most part been extraordinarily supportive and with the hand full of responses that somewhat hurt, God has provided peace as the days go by.

I’ve decided to just keep you all informed on my blog. It seems a bit easier. Also, they’re really informal and can often be wordy. This is primarily because I ramble, so if you’re just like “No Shakiyla, Stop” we’ve probably never held a conversation. This is Just a warning.

Today was a big day. I had my last observation in Student Teaching prior graduation, and it was a breeze. I very seldom get nervous, but I guess that with all of the other things on my mind, I began to crumble under pressure. Even still, my Supervisor was moved at the way my students respond and interact with me after only a few months and that was super encouraging.

Today was also officially the beginning of the adoption process. We had orientation and I met the sweetest girl who is also attempting to adopt for the first time. So do you want to hear about how I almost had a heart attack? Of course you do. I looked at the list of dates for training and the first one of three was on May 16th. Yep, May 16th. Which happens to be my college graduation date. The only training dates after those were in November. Yep, November. So I legitimately took a deep breath and asked the instructor if there were any other options. She said, “Well Ms. Solomon, those classes are the CPR courses and although you won’t be certified, it’s mandatory that you be there. You would just have to re-take that course in mid-July to late August” My response, “What if I’m CPR certified until 2017?” “OH GIRL, YOU’RE FINE THEN!” I’m pretty sure I almost had an accident when she said that. I’ve never felt such a rush of relief. We talked about pretty general things. It consisted of paperwork, our personal objective, and the asking of questions that we’d been holding in the entire time. The most amazing thing about it all though, was the fact that there were so many interracial couples. I forget how sweet racial harmony is because it’s clouded by racism and the hate that it entails. I couldn’t stop smiling at them. They could very well think I’m a complete psycho, but I guess we’ll get past that. May 23rd is my first training session and I ask that you guys continue to pray. Last week I started writing letters to my son/daughter and I didn’t fail to mention, by name, the amazing people that prayed for him/her long before we ever locked eyes.

I’m finally doing this, you guys. Two years is a really long time of having to plead and beg and just wait for God to give me clarity. In that waiting though, I’ve grown in more ways than a few. I don’t think I could explain in words how much peace I have in my being. I’m not sure if that made sense. I just finally feel like I’m on the path God has always had for me, not my own, not rebellion, not walking in fear, just sweet obedience and I love Him for granting me it.

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

iRant…

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Generally before starting a blog I do a ton of research, praying, or even asking others’ opinions on the topic at hand. None of that happened here. This is completely at random and I’m almost skeptical of how it’s going to end.

*dives in*

I just texted a really good friend of mine

“It’s weird how much I love those kids…”

He didn’t say anything back but the more I sat on my couch and thought about reasons that would make my love for anyone weird, it didn’t seem weird at all. It seemed natural. I have this sort of attachment to the children I meet. It’s so much deeper than I’d ever expected it to be. They make me want to be a better woman and love with everything I can muster. I just need for everyone to hear me out really quick-like…

We have GOT to start focusing on the children around us. I know so many people, in so many different living situations, and so many different  on “child raising” that it seems necessary to remind the few followers I have to love a child. Initially, I thought this blog was going to be about the necessity of men in children’s lives, which is definitely a necessity but it is by no means the only one. Hence the picture of the father and son I decided not to take off. I stand firm in the belief that a Godly, confident, humbly selfless men can have more of an affect on a child than they’ll ever know so it frustrates me when I don’t see those kinds of men running to the opportunity to do so. In the same instance. Children need the gentle, quiet, nurturing spirit of a God-fearing woman to set the same example and assist these men in upbringing these babies. I’m not sure if you’ve read my biography but I want to adopt. I’ve always wanted to adopt. I know now more than ever in my life that adoption is and will always be heaviest on my heart. I know that has nothing to do with everything I’ve said thus far but it can, I promise it can. Every time I find myself pouring into a child I feel like I’m doing what I was created to. So many of my relationships with families at Abraham’s Tent are founded on the simple fact that I wanted to adopt those children. Now, that’s obviously not happening BUT that doesn’t mean I’m unable to reach out as far as I possibly can and do everything in my power to show those children that I love them and will always love them. I seriously have no idea what this blog is supposed to be about. I don’t even know what I should title it, or if I should. All I know is, as a body, we need to be sure we are reaching out into our community of children and loving them, Whole-hearted, unwavering, unconditional love.

I really thought I’d have a ton to say. I haven’t blogged in a while and a lot has happened since I last did. I looked through my phone and my journal and found so many places where I’d jotted down ideas for blog topics. Nothing seems right though. It’s weird. I’ve been reading in Romans, Deuteronomy, and Isaiah a lot. My mind is sort of all over the place with those scriptures. There seems to be one common theme though, the restoration of God’s love and the power in His sovereignty. Maybe I just need to be restored. I was talking to a friend of mine about an hour ago and I told her how I had this yearning to just ball up and have God’s presence pour over me. I didn’t realize how bad I wanted it until I said it aloud. I know He moves in power. I know I’m His daughter. I know He loves unconditionally and unwavering. I’ve really been finding rest in those truths.

Isaiah 58:11

Meet MawBea

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This is MawBea, she just happens to be the most amazing thing to happen to me since January. I’m somewhat a caregiver, I sit with her a couple of days a week and help her with things she needs help with. We talk a lot and spend a lot of time telling and listening to each others’  stories. So, a couple of Thursdays ago, for the first time in a while, MawBea asked me why I wasn’t “going steady” with anyone. Initially I had what I’d say all figured out, being I get asked it so often. This time was different though. I asked her why she asked me that and she said, “What’s wrong with these men? Why can’t they grow up and have enough faith in love and the Creator of it to jump in!?” My mouth hit the floor. I don’t think she was saying it to say that I was so special, I legitimately think she wondered why no one had committed to me. As we continued talking she started telling me stories about how she and her husband met, this was in the 1950s by the way. She went into detail about how much she didn’t pay him any mind at first. Later in the story she said how he decided that he wouldn’t give up so easily and so the pursuit commenced. She told me the biggest leap of faith she had to do was to trust that her husband would love her unconditionally & that until that moment she didn’t think her life really started. By this time, I’d  completely stopped talking because her story captivated my 22 year old peanut brain and this is what she proceeded to say,

“Shakiyla, did I say it right? SHAHKEEEELUHHH? I love that name. Shakiyla, why are you so scared to love?”

I didn’t say anything, I literally sat there and stared at her as if she’d spoken in another language. So, being the delicate little flower she is, she threw her ink pen at me and said,

“I know you heard me! What makes you so scared to love? and don’t say you’re not because I see it on that lil face. You love tough girl, sometimes too tough, but it’s as sweet as friendship bread, why not give that love to an amazing man of God that you know will protect it?”

To my surprise, I didn’t start crying, I simply replied “Fear.” & she reminded me that there is no fear in love.

Yep. That’s what happened. 20 mins into me going to work, this conversation filled the room. I’ll never forget that day y’all. Out of no where she unknowingly told me what had been the heaviest thing on MY heart and used the sweetest most simple scripture to remind me of how INVALID that was. Now, my life has definitely already started, I have goals and desires, and this is not the 1950s but those truths stand just as firm as my fear sometimes. Sometimes.

If she knew I was writing this blog about her she’d absolutely slaughter me! So y’all better not SAY A WORD. She’s more of an answered prayer than she’ll ever know and It’s the little things like this that remind me of her virtue. She’s so special and I just think I need to start sharing things like this with y’all. Disagree? Go have ice cream and take a nap, you’re crazy.

                                                                                                                     

MAW BEA MOMENT OF THE DAY:

She was walking up the garden in the picture above and the shovel was lodged in between the wall and her walker, so I go, “Maw Bea watch that shovel” and she replies, “I see it baby, thank you. Now, what am I watchin for? Is it gonna dance or somethin?” I told her to LEAVE ME ALONE, and she blew me a kiss. She’s my best friend.

“They can’t BE what they can’t SEE”

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The title of this blog came from a man I can definitely consider a friend, leader, and brother in Christ. He said it with so much heart that I couldn’t help but carry it away with me in my spirit.

 I was watching a video last night, that’s January 27th, 2014, on the floor in my living. It was an interview between a 19 year old Black male (James Broadned) and an unnamed interviewer. The boy was awaiting trial for two counts of murder and pleaded innocent on both charges. That wasn’t all James had to say though. Throughout the interview, the interviewers asked him an array of questions related to the murder, the people murdered, the deceased’s families, his family, and his emotions toward the situation as a whole. Without completely giving you the dialogue of the interview, I will attempt to show you why I feel it is necessary for us, as a people, to step out into this world as an example eager for change.

When asked what he came there to do during the interview, he simply replied, “I wanna tell yall my story..”

Throughout the interview the reporter had him re-tell the story of the murder, he was more than willing. In one instance the reporter felt it necessary to remind him that he’d killed 2 young men, Broadned laughed, the reported asked him if he had any remorse, he responded with, “do it look like it?” There was one major occurrence in this video that really took my heart and shook it to the core. That’s probably why I decided to write all of this in a blog.

Toward the end of the interview he started cursing the boys he killed, their families, God, and the Devil. The interviewer responded with, “some people may say you are the Devil..” and Broadned responded with, “maybe, look me in my eyes and tell me what you see.” Now, I was more than frustrated with the fact that the interviewer would even fix her mouth to choose those words as a necessary response, but that wasn’t what turned my stomach. That boy really asked her to look into his eyes in search of an evil that I can’t even understand sometimes.

Here’s the beauty of our God. He gave us His Son, who willingly laid His life down as a payment for the sins we committed, right? That’s our Gospel. In that laying down of His life, He became our identity if we would choose to accept Him and pursue such characteristics. So in that interview, when James would have said look me in my eyes, there would have been the confidence of Christ. But he didn’t. He absolutely didn’t. It is so clear to me and the thousands of people commenting on the video that the boy needs help but I’m not sure how many people realize that he is ONE in a MILLION. We can sit up all night and watch videos like this, go to boys’ homes, visit women’s shelters, boycott strip clubs on Bourbon, and give pity faces to the kids that are engulfed in these sorts of situations, but what we need  to do is move our feet. As children of God we are called to go into this world that we should know is dark and be His light. A light is POINTLESS in a place that already shines; this is why it’s so necessary for us to MOVE.

11 “For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God. 16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy.[a] I will feed them in justice.

Ezekiel 34:11-16

This is our God. He’s the example for believers. A couple of months ago I asked an acquaintance of mine if he could make a point to reach out to a young boy I met a long time ago. The boy has been following in the wrong footsteps and really tampering with a lifestyle I’ve seen and experienced lead to death and lots of heartache. It scared me, so I did what I thought necessary, and called on help. The person I asked apologized for their lack in the past, expressed how busy they’d been, and said they’d try to do better. I didn’t expect an apology, I just wanted help. As far as I know, the boy still hasn’t seen him. They haven’t had contact, and that hurts me more than I realized, especally after watching that video. There is absolutely no bitterness, just a lack of understanding. I get that we have our own lives, and I understand that sometimes we get busy, hell I understand that some people reading this may be thinking ‘THAT BOY IS NOT OUR RESPONSIBILITY’…but it’s not responsibility that should drive ANY of our work for the Kingdom, it’s love. I’m learning that more and more everyday.  No matter how busy or pre-occupied with life we get, we need to sit down and remember that

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

Colossians 3:1-3

this reminds us that our lives are HIDDEN in Christ. Synonyms for hidden include, UNSEEN, KEPT OUT OF SIGHT, & CONCEALED. This means that our lives are absolutely, positively, NO LONGER our lives. Our lives are lives granted us to go out into this world that has been DEEMED defeated and show the beautiful light we thank Him for every time we open our sinful mouths to sing

“Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee, how great Thou art, how great Thou art”

Oh my goodness you guys. We have to share His love. I’m not saying we can save every boy from the death penalty, every girl from street corners, every kid from drugs, every anybody from anything really, I’m simply saying we need to stop saying “I’ll try to do better” and just DO. These kids can’t be what they don’t see, and man we can show them something really special, I just know we can.

I’m totally open to hear feedback, criticism, encouragement, suggestions. Anything really, I’m open to anything.

I’m gonna go pray now. My goodness I hope you do too.