I’ve never really thought that I was that interesting. That any story I told about myself would be worth repeating out loud. Our lives are normal to us, and it’s not until we share them with others that we give ourselves permission to be curious about the truth of who we are.
Of why we are.
The testimony I want to share is specific to this moment. I could not have curated or created the series of events that led me here to the circumstances that led me to my new church home and to the individuals who have been instrumental in healing a rift in my faith that was 3 years in the making.
Late February, the beginning of March of 2019 my family imploded. The nature of which I’ve shared in private conversations with people God has reassured me I can trust. Which brings the total number of people I’d personally told to 8. While I’m sure worst things have happened to better people, my family imploded. And it decidedly changed the course of my entire life.
As a direct result of this implosion, two things happened:
One, I was my family my family was I and that family does not exist anymore. Which is odd to say because no one died. So I find myself in this era of grief that feels perpetual.
And two: I stopped trusting God. I can only articulate this in hindsight because at the time, I did all of the “functional faith” things, which is really “performative faith” lite. I still went to church every Sunday. I taught Sunday school. I paid my tithes. I showed up. I continued to blog I even preached and prayed during services. But Monday -Saturday? I did just enough. Until eventually I just stopped.
I quit my job as a teacher and began temping and floated through life for about a year. Then around the anniversary of what we will be calling “The Implosion” NYC went into lockdown and I welcomed depression with open arms.
My life had been up until this point, a series of micro-traumas that I was never given the space to acknowledge let alone process and being forced to stare at the four walls of my classroom converted studio apartment alone, was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
I was raised to trust, believe and obey God, but when the only grandfather I had left died from Covid complications at the end of March, I had serious questions for a God that was supposed to be just, loving and kind.
The series of events that were:
-Hearing New York City rally behind its health care professionals as refrigerator trucks lined up outside of hospitals to store the bodies of the record breaking corpses that Covid produced
- While watching a black man be choked to death
- After my family imploded and I was left alone with a lifetime worth of micro traumas to process
Found me on my kitchen floor weeping to my aunt (who is also my godmother) trying to convince her that hearing her voice through the phone was sufficient enough. As long as she kept telling me she loved me, I wouldn’t act on the suicidal ideations that promised relief in the form of eternal rest.
I was tired. The family I knew no longer existed. The God I loved had forsaken me. I just wanted rest.
And God being God began this series of nudgings back to Him, reminding me that I didn’t have to die, to find rest in Him.
God began whispering to me, trying to remind me that He never left me or my family, or the world. I wanted to give Him the benefit of the doubt, so I tried to position myself to hear Him better. One of the ways I did that was by unfollowing celebrities, meme and gossip accounts on my Instagram page. I replaced them with local churches, honest Christians, and a few other faith centered accounts.
I can’t remember if my now friend A. (shortened for privacy purposes) was in charge of Hope Nomad’s IG or I found her business page, either way through IG I began interacting with A., which becomes so much more interesting to me because, while I remember being at Hope Nomad, I don’t really remember interacting with A. in any specific way until she invited me to hear her preach at her new church.
I honestly can’t even remember what A preached my first Sunday at her new church.
I do remember feeling overwhelmed by God’s presence and His answer to the prayer I’d been to broken too say out loud, but God heard anyway in my tears.
In August of 2021, I wrote in my journal, “I crave a spiritual safe place, so deeply it kind of hurts. I want a place where I can grow, and learn, and participate. I want to stop holding my breath waiting for the worst or something bad to happen. I want to be ok. God, I pray that you show me the path to ok”
So on Sunday March 13th, during my first service at A.'s church God told me “Here, you can rest. Here, you can heal.”
I can not successfully articulate my relief.
Sunday after Sunday, not only has God been pulling phrases and prayers out of my journal during the sermons at my new church home, when I missed 2 weeks and came back to a sermon and demonstration about Kintsugi, which I had known as Kintsukuroi the title of the book I self-published in 2017..?
I don’t know how to explain this, but I’m going to try: when I wrote/compiled the poetry pieces that would be published as Kintsukuroi I was looking for a way to describe hope after brokenness and how being healed is something different than always being whole. Obviously, I didn’t know that I had not yet been fully broken, or that my healing wouldn’t require me to operate as if I were whole. That sermon, that Sunday finished a thought God had started in 2017.
I can’t tell you that I’m back to trusting God completely just yet, but I do want to share with you this poem I wrote inspired by the journey thus far:
An untitled poem
When I was young
Made of stardust and dreams
When I believed the impossible
That the world was more than what it seemed
I could close my eyes and leap
Trusting that wings would sprout
Or a net would catch me
So sure that my bones would never hit the ground
Then time passed
Creating mountains out of molehills
Every promise of victory that the peak was supposed to hold
Manifested as a sucker punch to my soul
And a free fall from an altitude that quite effectively shattered me
Now I’m in a valley
I can hear the echos of the celebrations happening at the mountaintops
And I travel the path of the valley in fear
With all my broken parts packed away
But heavy with me
I still feel too young to be this tired
Mature enough to mourn my naivety
There are steep inclines ahead of me
That I close my eyes to avoid
As if by sheer force of will
I can move forward without having to climb up
Yet that is not how forward works
The tighter I close my eyes, the wider the incline grows
There is no way forward except for up
So I unpack my heavy broken pieces
To rebuild trust to climb with
Hoping, that maybe faith
Will meet me on the way
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