I sat under the moon tonight…

…and I was reminded of Someone bigger than myself. 

I have this problem (well, not really a problem, more like an opportunity). So, I have this opportunity that I find myself knocking on the door of, and I am terrified. I knocked on this same door in January, and to my surprise, it was locked. I honestly didn’t expect the person on the other side to refuse me entry into a place I knew I belonged. I said nothing, and I stopped moving. I gave up so easily at one silent no. The plan I thought I heard from God was gone. 

I briefly mentioned in one of my previous posts that I was reading Love Does by Bob Goff. In it, Goff mentions how sometimes God is waiting on us to not just knock on our doors but to kick them down. I agree with that. I think we, myself included, lay down in defeat too easily. We hear a no and allow that no to stop us dead in our tracks. We plan and plan and rework those current plans in hopes to not make the same mistakes again. The idea I believe we don’t entertain enough is that we didn’t make a mistake. We didn’t miss our opportunity. We just didn’t knock hard enough or long enough. People have the power to change someone’s life, and Goff talks about that too. I think when we remind someone that they have that power, they want to use it for good. 

For the last couple of weeks I’ve found myself too scared to knock on the same door because I didn’t want to make any noise! How courteous of me. Now is not the time for manners. Now is the time to do. So, right now, I’m sitting under the moon, but tomorrow—tomorrow I’m wearing my combat boots. I’m reminding myself why I’m doing this, and I’m going to remind the person on the other side of that door why they should let me in. 

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Kind Reminders from July

1. Life is not tit for tat. (1 Peter 3:9) 

2. Your Jesus music ain’t all that loud when you can only hear outta one ear. Turn it up. Sing louder. You are praising your God. (1 Samuel 6:14-15 / Psalm 135:1-3)

3. Anything done out of hurt feelings will be instantly regretted. Forgive others, and forgive yourself. (Matthew 6:14 / Colossians 3:13)

4. Let. The. Cars. Over. Always. (Matthew 7:12)

5. A split mind is a divided mind. (2 Corinthians 10:5 / 2 Corinthians 13:11)

6. You don’t have writer’s block. You just didn’t pick up a pen. (Philippians 3:13-14)

7. If you ask for a month where your attitude is adjusted, you better be prepared for it. (Psalm 51: 10-12) 

8. You must yield to authority in every circumstance. (1 Peter 2:13-15)

9. Don’t be afraid to cry in church. We’re all going through sanctification. (Proverbs 28:13 / Lamentations 3:40) 

10. If you never seek, you will never find. As Cassey said, “How can the job call you if you didn’t even apply?” (John 16:23-24)

11. Trust God because of who He is, not what He’s done. (John 14:1)

12. Any gift from Him is a good gift. Do not doubt it. (1 Corinthians 12:4) 

13. The further you get from Christ, the more you miss the gate that protected you. (Deuteronomy 28:6 / John 10:9-10)

14. Do not be quick to cut corners just because no one sees. That two second stop at the stop sign will not kill you. (Proverbs 17:20)

15. Do not choose your way when wisdom is readily available. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

16. People mistake your serious statements for silly ones. For example, “They should empty the mall and build a Jurassic Park.” *begins singing theme song* Let them believe you were joking. (Proverbs 17:22)

17. You love to plan. You love to do lists. You love scheduling, but don’t be such a stick in the mud that you can’t roll with the punches. (Proverbs 16:9)

18. Everyone always looks a little mean or sad until you smile at them. (Proverbs 15:30) 

19. Eventually you must pay what you owe. (Matthew 22:20-21) 

20. Quit keeping track of the past. Let go of the wrongdoings. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

21. “I love you, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” (John 14:34)

22. Give thanks always. Things are never as bad as they seem. (Philippians 4:4-9)

23. At some point you will have to go back the way you came. (1 Kings 19:9-11) 

24. It’s very easy to speculate what you would’ve done if you were someone in a given situation. Don’t. You have no idea of the circumstances that person is in, and most likely, you will need that person’s assistance when you’re in that situation. (Matthew 7:2)

25. If it is meant for you, it will not pass you. (Romans 8:28-30) 

26. All laments (Psalm 22) end in praise (Psalm 23). 

27. His love sometimes means discipline. (Hebrews 12:4-8)

28. Try and try and try and try some more. (Jeremiah 8:4 / 1 John 5:4-5)

29. You can do it on your own, but you don’t have to. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

30. Be truly excited for someone else’s accomplishment. (Acts 11:15-18 / Romans 12:15)

31. “He who the Son sets free is free indeed.” (Galatians 5:1)

Why a blog? Why me? Why now?

My entire life has been centered around wanting a family that I was good enough for (or one that was good enough for me). I used to spend hours upon hours battling with the things that were said to me. 

“It’s good, but it’s not great.”

“I didn’t think you were going to make it for a while.”

“I didn’t believe in you then.”  

Those things sting, and they sting a bit more when they come from the ones who should be looking out for you. I’ve grown up a lot since those words have been uttered over me. I’ve grown in God. I’ve grown up and out and always towards the Son, even when I didn’t know it (or accepted it). 

The tag line to my blog is, “It only takes two to make a family.” I’ve spent my entire life (luckily, only 25 years or so) chasing after people to get them to be apart of my life–to get them to stay. I’ve recently come to the understanding that no matter how hard I try, there’s only one person who can love me like I deserve to be loved, and that’s by my God. 

I spent so much time looking out and wondering why I couldn’t have what other people had, that I didn’t notice who I needed was The One I was pleading with. He saw every fight. He was there for every tear. He showed up to every event. He gave me strength for every battle. He was there for every new hobby and every single victory. He blessed me with favor in the most unfortunate circumstances. He was my family before I knew He was my family. 

Over the course of several months, I’ve grown to love Him in a way that is so much bigger and wider and deeper than I could have ever imagined. I love Papa with everything I am and then some. That’s why I’m writing a blog. My faith, although it began blossoming with what I saw as a setback, was something that was sustaining me for years without my knowledge. Hindsight is always 20/20. Always. Looking back, I see the moments where Papa was present. I see the moments where He guided me away from danger. I see the moments where He stood up for me, but more importantly, I see the moments where He let me fall. I see where He let me choose to get back up, to try one more time. 

There’s a million and one reasons to not do something, but all you need is one to go for it. Elohim is my one. 

My Faith Began with Failure

I remember lying on my floor writing my admissions essay for Truman State University that would ultimately alter the trajectory of my life.

I waited until the last two hours of the deadline date to start. The admissions essay was due at midnight, and there I was, hustling to make myself sound worthy of an acceptance letter. For sure, I knew, that this school was where I was supposed to be. It was a dream campus with a dream alumni list—Jenna Fischer and my cousin. I could be close to my grandma and cousins again. I could be home. My grandpa was gone, there was no changing that, but I could visit where he was resting. In one hour and fifty minutes, I wrote all my fears and shortcomings into my essay. I was transparent and terrified, but with only two hours, I didn’t give myself room to feel or be much else. I submitted my essay at exactly 11:59 PM. I woke my mom up because I was crying and excited, and I wanted her to listen to my essay. She didn’t that night, but she did tell me that she was happy I submitted something.

Two days later, I received a call from the admissions officer.

“The admissions board loved your essay! They loved it! When do you think we’ll receive your high school transcripts?”

I told her to wait while I checked my email. “You should have them today.”

“Great! We’re looking forward to you coming to Truman!” The admissions counselors were passionate about my attendance, and their passion gave me reassurance that I would get in with no problems. I took their enthusiasm as my acceptance.

I called my mom. I rolled off a list of things I needed for my dorm. I debated what kind of room I wanted, “I’ll take the five roommates, but I’d prefer only three.” I was able to go home again, and although the school was technically hours out from St. Louis, it was still in the same state. My mom congratulated me and hung up.

Around 4 o’clock, I received another call from the admissions officer.

“Aisha?”

“Yes!” I noticed her voice was less chipper, but I ignored it.

“Unfortunately, we are declining to accept you for this upcoming semester. They really loved your essay. It’s just,” she paused for what seemed like hours, “they’re a little concerned about how your last semester of high school. I’m sure if you went to a community college and applied again… Aisha?”

I swallowed and put on a smile, “Yes, I’m here. I definitely will go to community college and apply again. Thank you so much.”

“Good, good. That’s really the best plan. Go there for a year or two and get back with us. We’d love to have you. Thank you for applying. Again, I’m sorry.”

“No, thank you. Have a good day.”

“You too.”

I was lying on my bed—supine. My tears filled my ears. I couldn’t even bring myself to panic. Truman was the only school I applied to because I was sure my writing could carry me anywhere. It didn’t. It failed me.

For weeks, I stayed in my room in the dark watching Grey’s Anatomy and neglecting my life. I wanted everything to stand still because my only plan failed. My mom briefly reminded me of what I said in my essay and told me to apply elsewhere.

“Not every place has the same deadline.” As much as I hated to admit it, she was right. I found a community college in Albany. I applied. I was accepted, and the rest is history. Many more nuanced and intentional things happened, but what fun do I get if I lay out everything?

It took me about three weeks to pack all my stuff and get prepared for my new residence. I met my roommate on Facebook. I looked up helpful hints for first year college students. I was excited. Was the school Truman? Nope, but in a lot of ways, it was something better. Darton State College was the first place I met Papa. It was the first place I stopped holding on to what separated us. It was the first place I decided on who I would be. It was the first place I experienced a love that only exists in purple flowers on the side of the road. For ten exaggerated months, it was my home.

I posted my essay below. This is where I started, and since then, I’ve slowed down, but I’ve never stopped. Sometimes, I’ll get distracted and move backwards or sideways, but I eventually end up moving forward, and truly, that’s made all the difference.

 

Keep Moving Forward

 

Aisha Harris

 

Journey: passage or progress from one stage to another. I have heard of people taking steps beyond their comfort zones, and reaching these amazing goals that they have set, never imagining that they would someday reach them. As a child, we see, in movies and in books, how the protagonist must take this rightful step, feeling fearful and with hesitation, to begin a journey that will inevitably move them in the right direction. We also learn that it is never the actual destination that matters, but the path we must travel on to get to the destination; that is where the true magic lies. I write this to you as someone who has not stepped out of her comfort zone, yet. Someone so frozen in fear, that I am nearly incapable of following through with something that will do wonders to my world. Applying to Truman is the beginning of my journey. For the first time in my life, I am not just saying I am going to do something, but I am actually doing it. I am applying to college. This is something very simple, that millions of Americans do every year, but for the last six months, I have been frozen in a time frame—watching everyone move on with their lives, and me, solid, stuck in my sedentary spot. I believe I have clenched to the ground long enough.

Throughout this last week, I have been coming up with reasons on why I would not be accepted, why something that matches my personality to a T, will go wrong. Every time, I tried talking myself out of applying, I thought of the opportunities that will be presented to me, if I allow myself to take a leap onto the first stepping stone. I have lived my life so much on other people’s terms, trying to obey, to the severest measures at times, and it has done absolutely nothing for my self-worth. Now, when it counts the most, I have become the living definition of trepidation.

This, my life, is not something I like to take lightly. I have been trying to plan out my journey attempting to predict the obstacles that I could come across. Well, here I am, blindsided, because an obstacle I didn’t expect came along—my mom. She refuses to see me plan out everything, and instead of letting me move at my own speed of comfort, she has pushed me outward, hoping that my feet will firmly land on the ground. My mom is not an obstacle, but rather a moving barrier behind me, pushing me forward. She is always pushing me forward. I do not expect for her to always hold my hand at the beginning, but the comfort of having her there is more than enough to get me moving to the life I owe myself.

No longer will I allow myself to move at my leisure, to get anywhere in this world. I would have missed out on my life by the time I had it planned out. I have come to realize that with journeys, comes living, not just being, but having an essence for the admiration of life. I have to take things as they come, good or bad, in order to grasp a full appreciation of my life. I cannot plan my whole life out, so why try. The best way to get anywhere is to have faith that you will get there, where ever your ending is. Whichever way my admission status goes, acceptance or rejection, this is still the beginning. I have still moved forward, and I know this will take me somewhere that even I could not have planned for. To conquer: to overcome by force.