Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
This past weekend, I did a thing. I finally moved my stuff to Georgia. My family and I got on the road at 3:00 am on Friday morning, drove to Washington DC, packed up a 15-foot U-Haul, drove to my new home, drove two hours back to my mom’s house, got up on Sunday morning, drove back to my new home, unpacked the U-Haul, dropped off the U-Haul, and finally drove two hours back to my mom’s house. On December 1, I will officially move to my new home in some undisclosed location in Georgia.
I am sharing this story because even with all these steps listed, there were many things that happened in between. Of course, there were plot twists and challenges and our customary fight among the strong Black women of my family. Through some technical mistake, the U-Haul reservation was canceled, and we had to drive to Baltimore to get a new truck. My arthritic back almost gave out on me while my cousin and I were moving a heavy item onto the truck. I almost fell asleep when it was my turn at the wheel. We almost ran out of gas because it was after midnight and many gas stations along our route were closed. The biggest thing is I had to say goodbye to a city that had been my home for over 12 years.
My move to Georgia was not my plan. It was God’s plan. I fought God the entire way. However, during the pandemic, God shifted my ministry direction, which meant that I had to cut my expenses down to a minimum. Getting a new high-paying job to match my ever-increasing expense in DC was not the option God chose. Moving back to Georgia, where I spent most of my young adult life, was the only viable option God gave me.
Moving back to Georgia meant facing mistakes and heartache that I’d left behind in 2003 when I moved to NYC. It meant remembering things that took me to a very dark place. It meant fighting through the dysfunctional relationship that I’d always had with my Mom to create something special and sacred. It meant fighting for my place as an adult in a family of baby-boomer ultra-strong, ultra-independent Black women who expected to be the same when I am more free-spirited like my Dad. It meant facing all my successful classmates, sorority sisters, and line sisters who had done more with their life than I had done over the years. It meant questioning God and therefore questioning myself – a lot. It meant cutting some ties and leaving some things behind in DC, including a table that I really don’t remember why I bought it. It meant a lot of things.
What got me through all this transition was being grateful.
At any point during my time living in NYC and DC, things could have gone extremely wrong. I spent most of that time alone, away from family and people who truly care about me. I made a ton of stupid mistakes and lived to tell about them. The one thing that never happened was this – God never left me and never stopped loving me.
When my family couldn’t be there, new friends appeared. When money was short, God sent donors and patrons of my artistic endeavors. When I kept getting laid off from one non-profit after the next, God always provided a new job right on time. When I couldn’t pay my rent, God would get me a gig that was just enough. When I didn’t have money to eat, God had some organization, church, or group would host a party with plenty of left-over food or God would remind somebody who owed me in some way to take me out to eat or take me to the grocery store. God has been more than good every single moment of every single day of every single year that I have lived in the big city.
While I have never lived life in a straight line, God has always kept me the straight and narrow. While I don’t have a lot of material possessions, a husband, and children to prove that I am worth the time God gave me on this planet, I have a lifetime of experiences, pen, paper, a computer, and all types of writing devices that I use to keep sending words to people who want or need to hear them.
I say all this to say that I am a writer who is finally taking herself seriously.
Even though I’ve written Love Speaks Daily since 2009 and thousands of pages of poems, books, plays, essays, and many other things, I thought of it as a hobby, not a ministry, not a career. Most of that writing came naturally, and I didn’t take the time to market and sell it. While I felt compelled to write, I never saw writing as a call until recently. God sent an amazing group of Christian artists my way who are teaching me that being an artist is a call as much as being a preacher, teacher, lawyer, doctor, stay-at-home parent, pastor, faithful friend, working parent, caretaker, and anything else God has called us to do. They are also teaching me that as a worker, I am worth my hire. I am not talking about money as much as I am talking about purpose. While success is often defined by external metrics, true value is always defined by God.
As I reflect on one of the few writing things that I share, Love Speaks Daily, I want to let you all know how grateful I am to be on this journey with you.
I am so grateful for every single one of you who read Love Speaks Daily because it keeps me motivated even when my fingers hurt from moving boxes and furniture and stuff.
I am so grateful for every single one of you who shares Love Speaks Daily with others because it reminded me that I can touch the lives of people I don’t even know.
I am so grateful for every single one of you who was honest and unsubscribed from Love Speaks Daily because it caused me to be more tightly focused on my audience versus trying to be all things to all people.
I am so grateful that God took a chance on me, and you came along for the ride. I hope that I have been as much a blessing to you as you have been to me. I hope we can continue to grow, heal, flourish and learn to love God, self, and neighbor together.
It’s all about gratitude.
Today as we prepare for the big day of Thanksgiving, let us take delight in all the moments of gratitude along the way. We need only to remember that every day is a Day of Thanksgiving.
Prompt for Thought: Write about and share at least 20 things for which you are grateful. Thank someone whom you have never thanked or have not thanked in a long time. Share something with someone who needs it more than you do.
Prayer for the Journey: God, with a grateful heart, I want to pray for all my readers and those who chose not to be readers. I am grateful for their presence in my life, no matter how brief. They all have made me a better writer and a better person. Thank you for their lives and the value that you place on those lives. Thank you for all they have done to spread and experience your love in this world. I pray that you bless and keep each one of them, God. I pray that make your face shine upon them, God. I pray that you are always gracious to them God. I pray that you make this upcoming big Thanksgiving Day one of many more to come. In Jesus’ name. Amen.