I took this photo recently at the MLK parade downtown in that Htown! I had a brief writing that came to me as I was about to post it to social media. It basically talked about how so many lessons were learned, dreams birthed, and fears were dismantled by my simple choice to move here from Louisiana.I didn't know and would have never imagined what was ahead, but God is and was there for each step.
I recently was without my car for a weekend due to some repairs. I had a lot of time to think during that time due to mostly being confined to my home. During that time, my eyes were opened to a new perspective about some things.
Some times when trials come, we have a tendency to speak and function in "woe is to me." Well, I don't know about you, but I know I have and occasionally still do operate in this mindset. So here I am on a Friday night heading back into the city from a conference and the most dreaded thing I could have imagined while driving in these Houston streets happened! I caught a flat! Here I am in my car like "Aw come on Jesus!" I tell you that night was the beginning of quite a few lessons. I won't go in to detail, but I had to in that moment not revert to my old ways of panic and everything else. Now I almost did revisit my old ways, but instead I redirected myself and prayed boldly as I remembered what was spoken at the conference. Can I truly serve God even when things aren't appearing in my favor?
So, I decided to put my issues aside and engage in conversation with the tow truck driver I was riding with as he towed my car away (yeah long night). He told me about his setbacks and aspirations. I tried to encourage him as I could see purely his heart's desires. The next morning, as I was again having my car towed, I met another tow truck driver. Again, I engaged in conversation with him and he began to share his setbacks and aspirations. I tried again to be an encourager as I could also see the pureness of his heart's desires as he worked hard to do his part in life. In that moment I began to truly see and understand that "God's thoughts are not our thoughts and his ways are not our ways" (Isaiah 55:8). When we step outside of the "woe is to me" mindset, we can see through our spiritual lens and therefore begin to serve for a higher purpose than ourselves. We can become encouragers despite our trials. I have learned that everyone has trials and so I should not operate in a mindset of craving sympathy from others but yet I should instead operate bodily through faith knowing that this too shall pass as I be of service to others.
So here I am on Sunday morning, a few days later, still without a car. I decided to Uber to a nearby church and it was here that my eyes were adjusted to see clearly. Am I the only one or has anyone had a judgmental mindset IN CHURCH?! Yes, in church!!! But then again church is for us all in whatever broken state we are in! At times in the past I've looked at someone briefly like, "They look like they had a rough night" or like "Why didn't they put anything in the collection plate? They look like they have money." (*Shaking my head* at my old ways). I guess I would forget briefly in those moments that I have too looked a mess in church at times with no money to put in the collection basket as I gave it to the club the night before! :O I digress....As I sat in church however, God began to open my heart to see some things. I don't know what it took for the person sitting alongside of me to make it to church. I don't know about the person who used the money they had left to catch a cab or a bus to get to church. I don't know about the week they had and the tears they've cried as they desperately sought to see God and feel his presence. I don't know about the single mother who hasn't been taught about God yet she arrives at church with her children next to her, yearning for HIS presence, in hopes that He may too touch their lives. I don't know about the pain, hurt, fear, desperation, and despair sitting along side of me in church. I simply do not know. And so it was in that moment, as I sat in that church with tears in my eyes, I began to realize that my purpose is simply to love and not to judge.
My goal is to "be the change I want to see," so therefore I choose not to operate in the old me.
To be an encourager and not a judger.
It is here I extend my heart and say to the person searching for a way,
"God is always near so do not fear, for He makes a way out of no way."
Trust and believe that He will see you through as you begin to understand