Remember Why You Began

I think it’s appropriate that it’s almost been a year since I’ve made a post on here. I stopped for so many reasons. I was transitioning out of a bad situation into a good one. I was nervous about life. I didn’t think what I had to say mattered too much anymore. I felt weird about where I was in life and who I knew, that I removed myself from anything that provided any amount of comfort. I removed myself from my daily reminder that the little things matter.

So, let me give some updates, in bullet point fashion.

  • Last August I started attending seminary, and incidentally, stopped going to church. Seminary has been a collection of experiences, some of which remind me how celestial we truly are, while others scream, “We are dangerously human!” The fragile state of human existence is rather beautiful, intricate, and complicated.
  • This year I started working steadily in a courthouse. It’s humbling and high-stress work, but I’d be lying if  I said I hate it. It brings me some odd satisfaction.
  • I started going to therapy in December. I’m sure I’ll write so many more posts about how therapy is a sacred space, and everyone should have a therapist. Right now, I will say that it is amazing what I can do when I feel understood.
  • I was honest about my job hopping, but I’m not sure if I was honest about my home. Last year, I almost lost my home to foreclosure. I’m absolutely grateful I didn’t. To be very honest, I’m not sure how it is possible that I’m still in my home. In the twelve months, I think I made four or five payments. Any other time, I would’ve said God wanted me to have my house. However, since beginning seminary, I’ve learned that it’s important what I’m saying and what I’m not saying. If I said God wanted me to have my home, then what am I saying to those who have lost their homes? Working in a court system, I meet hundreds of people who have been evicted due to nonpayment, and it’s humbling every time. Never would I stand before them and say, “Well, God just wanted you out.” I’ve learned not to speak for God. I’ve learned that there are no tiny graces. I hurt for those people who have lost their homes. I mourn for them picking up the broken pieces. I don’t have the words for what I feel, but I am grateful that I was able to stay in my house.
  • I stopped going to my heavily Pentecostal non-denominational church (that I love and miss) and floated around in my seminary education. Sometime in November I read about Pauli Murray. In the book, All Out of Faith, I read her essay “Full Circle.” I still am unable to describe what it is I felt after reading. The closest thing that comes to mind is overwhelmed. I took in a glimpse of her story and fell in love with her, with God, with how our lives unapologetically come full circle into reconciliation. That reconciliation with ourselves, our families, and our current societal positions looks so different than what we could have ever expected. Rev. Murray was the first African American woman to become an Episcopal priest. Her story inspired me to visit an Episcopal church. I was a nervous wreck. I didn’t know the hymns, when to stand or kneel, but I did know the Nicene Creed (courtesy of my Church History professor), and I knew how to receive communion. There was something completely different about communion at that church than anywhere else. The experience was golden. It was fulfilling. There is something passionately intimate about being in silence, kneeling at the altar, and receiving the blood and the body of Christ. It was holy.

There’s so much more I could list, but that would take the fun out of all future posts.

Over the course of a month or so, I received notifications that multiple someones had liked a post from over a year ago. I would read what they liked, and remembered how I believed. How and who I believed God to be a year ago is drastically different from where I am now.  I began this blog because I wanted to further the idea that we are so much more than what we believe ourselves to be. We are magical and celestial and greatly heard. Since those notifications started popping up, those are things that I felt like the Spirit is trying to remind me of. All week, I have heard a whisper, “Remember why you began, Aisha. Remember why you began.” Those notifications and the feeling of freedom I have typing this is why I began. I believed this to be a space of transparency and freedom for myself and for others. So, I am beginning again on the same blog (instead of cutting and running like I would’ve before) and hoping that my life encourages someone else’s.

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The Details

Do you know God thinks about you? Do you know He hears every desire of your heart? Do you believe me as you read this? Well, He does, and you don’t have to go far to know it. He hears every outcry of your heart. He’ll bless you in the littlest of details to the life-altering moments just to remind you that He’s there. He’s listening, and you don’t have to wait for the big problems to arise before you call on the Lord.

I serve as an usher at my church, and we receive our schedule Thursday morning. I skimmed the email about halfway through, knowing I wasn’t on it for that week. I sat for a moment and started thinking about all the other ministries and for a few minutes set my mind on one in particular.

I said to myself, “I’m going to serve on that ministry.” My heart pointed to it, and I put that desire away for a rainy day.

Today, I was at church, and I had to excuse myself during the Apostle’s preaching because my allergies got the best of me. I was sitting in the lobby at a table watching the sermon on the TV and pouting about it. I was disappointed I wasn’t in the sanctuary. Every time I tried re-entering the sanctuary, I would cough so hard and loud that I became a distraction.

I strained to hear the remaining parts of the sermon. Five minutes before the closing prayer, I see, Mrs. C come out of the sanctuary. I hadn’t realized I was sitting at her table. She wasted no time in saying how she’s seen me around. She asked me what else I was involved in at the church. We talked for not even five minutes before she asked me if I was interested in serving with her. She runs the ministry I was thinking about Thursday morning.

The last words the Apostle said that I could hear was, “God’s got it!” And He does. He holds your life in His hands. He has every little detail planned out. He knows what you’re going to want, when you’re going to want it, and how He’s going to get you there. However, if I was really disappointed about my lobby seat, I could’ve waited in the car or gone completely off the grounds, but I didn’t. I sat at that table and tried my hardest to focus on the sermon, and there came Mrs. C extending an invitation I knew eventually would be mine.

So, I’m asking you again: Do you know God thinks about you? Do you know He hears every desire of your heart? Do you believe it?

It’s Hard to Dance with a Devil on Your Back

Yesterday morning, I used my 40 minute commute to work to tell God how much I needed Him. I told Him that I missed the time we shared together. I missed how He was my refuge, my hope, my security. In the last month, I bought my first house, moved across the city, dated a man who I was unequally yoked with, and started a business. Needless to say, I’ve been pretty busy. 

Instead of making time to spend with Papa like I usually would when things get heavy, I magnified my problems. I made my stressors so big that the only things I could see were my blessings crumbling to pieces. Recently, things have calmed down, but I still didn’t have Papa like I did before. Something was missing. My drive made me realize that my obedience was missing. The love and passion I had for Him had taken a backseat to the things of this world. Instead of admitting that I didn’t know how to get Him back in the driver’s seat, I tried to bend and twist my way back under His umbrella of Life. It didn’t work, so I asked for help. I asked that He move me, change me, mold me. And He did. 

Yesterday, my friend gifted me a book which is everything that I prayed about. Later that night, I went to church and had the honor of listening to the father of my Apostle preach a sermon he’s held for 50 years. Do you know what that sermon was about? It was about a story of love. How John loved Jesus so much he wrote Him in 21 different ways. His sermon was amazing and ordained by God. I don’t want to be so conceited that I believe the Apostle waited 50 years for me, but I’m just saying I don’t believe in coincidences. 

On the way home, I couldn’t express enough how appreciative I was, how much I loved Papa, and how awesome He really is. I promised Him then that I’m not sleeping on the couch anymore (when I’m avoiding my prayer closet, I sleep in the living room on the couch). I was the only one missing out…until I asked for help. 

All the situations I put off, like bills, appointments, and studying, I collected. I asked for help one more time, and suddenly, things got easier. My problems fell by the wayside, and for the first time in almost 30 days, I could breathe. I wanted to get up and run, but it was too late and the way Georgia is set up with these coyotes, it wasn’t working out. I did the next best thing, I turned all the lights off and played Florence + the Machine’s “Shake It Out.” 

For 30 days I lived in front of God instead of behind Him. For 30 days I was lost and lonely. For 30 days, I didn’t dance. Last night I did. I danced hard, and when I got to my job this morning, I was still dancing. 

Some problems can only be solved by dancing it out. Dance hard. Dance in public. Dance freely with your arms out and your head back. Dance because you know that whatever is gripping your spirit will not last forever. 

As Florence would say, “Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa 

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa

And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back

So shake him off, oh whoa”

As my friend would say, “Dance like David.” (2 Samuel 6:14: “David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might” NIV.)