With every step closer to 30, I felt different. I knew I had been undergoing transformations, but this felt like more than self-discovery, and it wasn’t like some of the transitions from before. It was like the quiet whisper of wind right after the storm. It felt like the slowing of the Merry-Go-Round…just enough exhilaration to remind you of the ride but equally enough calm to prepare you to get your footing. With each step, burdens didn’t feel as heavy and others became easier to put down.
Please forgive me that there wasn’t a new Thoughtful Thursday blog last week. As of last Tuesday, I had every intention of posting, I even considered it on Wednesday too. Then Thursday I found myself wanting to simply enjoy turning 30 years old. I spent my birthday, July 26th, laughing with friends, pampering myself, and eating good food. When all was said and done, I was content with my day.
Also, I intentionally used “peace” opposed to “piece.” You will understand the play on words shortly.
If you have been following my last few blogs, “Journey to 30: Don’t Get Stuck,” “Journey to 30: Who Am I?,” and “Journey to 30: Fret Not,” you’ll see that I have shared with you lessons learned on my journey to 30. Furthermore, my posts over the last year and a half have chronicled the transitions I’ve endured as well as the transformations that I have undergone. I have forgiven, healed, and grown right before your eyes. The funny thing is, when I started blogging again consistently last June, I thought the transformations were to prepare me for Chapter 29. I just knew I’d wake up on my 29th birthday and be totally different. Ha! I woke up at 29 and agreed to another year of life without reading the terms and conditions. You know how we are with reading those durn terms and conditions. We don’t read and rush to click the accept button because we are most interested in the upgrade, then later we are baffled by what we signed up for. It felt as if on my 29th birthday I found my seat on a Merry-Go-Round braced for a pleasurable ride. What I didn’t foresee was the speed picking up so much so that those on the sidelines of my life would sometimes be nothing more than a blur. I didn’t predict feeling sick and tired from the whipping motion of the ride. And while some moments were fun and exhilarating, others only led to my prayers for escape. As I approached 30, I could feel the ride slowing down. Things came back into view and I found clarity with people. The whipping wind around me became gentle breezes, and then the ride stopped. The weekend before my birthday, I stepped off the ride of my life and, just like at the carnival, I had to secure my footing and get my balance. And then it happened…
My journey to 30 led me to peace.
Some time ago, I asked the Lord to show me myself even if it hurt me, and he did just that. He allowed me to see not just the shiny surface of my life, but the crevices that hadn’t received much light or attention. I hated what I saw because I thought I was better than that. (Take that as you will.) Then God tasked me with the assignment to deep clean my life, not just that “straightening up” mess where I hide my junk out of plain sight. Just when I thought my hands were full with ME, God instructed me to begin walking in my purpose. He told me to go dust off old dreams, work towards publishing my book, and to release my music. I [reluctantly] said, “Yes, Lord.” Over the next several months I found myself becoming more and more consumed with my assignments, my purpose, and his will. Interestingly enough, taking the focus off of me and what I wanted allowed him to clean the jacked up places in me AND I fulfilled my assignment.
July 26, 2018, on my 30th birthday, I released my song, Your Promise, to iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, and a bunch of other different digital media outlets.
So what does any of this have to do with peace? I’m so glad you asked.
Obedience to God is the first step to peace. Selah.
When I submitted my life to God and what he wanted for me, some of the most difficult and impossible tasks became possible. I’d be lying if I said they were easy because most weren’t, but it was possible because I wasn’t trying to do it in my own strength. Example: God softened my cemented heart to forgive people who had broken that same heart. God broke down my pride so that I’d be able to receive help from people who wouldn’t take advantage of me. He worked double time to refocus me when I would lose sight of why I needed to be obedient. All of those things, both big and little, where steps on the journey that led to my ultimate destination: not just 30 or a new chapter, but peace.
Last Saturday, I had a single release concert, and I called it The Turning Point. My pastor confirmed through a sermon something that God has been showing me: after transition comes the turning point. Think of the structure of a story. In a typical story narrative, there is an introduction followed by the build up with conflicts and tensions. This leads to the climax or turning point. After the turning point comes resolution. All of my transitions and the tension connected built my life up to the place of my turning point. But what was on the other side of that turning point? PEACE…resolution. I’ll prove it. Over the last month or so, God began giving me such resolve concerning quite a few matters that have been heavy on my heart. These were issues that I had spent months crying over, losing sleep because of, and rearranging my life for. It was as if God stepped in the room of my frenzy to hush me and it. Even in the cases when I didn’t get my way, which actually is all of them now that I think about it, God has allowed me to be perfectly fine with the outcome.
If you have come in contact with me over the last 15 days or so, you’ll attest to this unusual calmness over me. Even when I don’t want to be, I’m mellow. A friend called me to tell me about her new job, and even though I was proclaiming how happy I was, the inflections of my voice were minimal. Everything is just even right now. Initially, I thought something was wrong with me until I accepted that I was experiencing the peace of God.
I hadn’t had peace in so long that I had forgotten what it felt like. I love this peace.
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
1 Peter 5:10 [English Standard Version]
While in my transition, I grew frustrated with God. There were times that I felt as if I was being punished for something that I had done or maybe even didn’t do. The measures to clean out and heal my wounds seemed to be as painful as the trauma that caused said wounds.
God’s reassurance: it’s a process not punishment.
Life is filled with a plethora of processes but what first comes to mind is pregnancy because that in and of itself endures several processes. Pregnancy is all about timing. It isn’t my goal to take you through a Family Life course, but oblige me. From jump street, conception is about timing. A woman has to be a the ovulation stage of her menstrual cycle, and the sperm has to make a mad dash to the egg before it dies off. Once the egg is fertilized, it has to successfully attach to the uterus. For the next several months, the woman has to carry the promise of her baby without it being tangible. In that time period, there are tests, cravings, pains, discomforts, joys, and expenses. Approximately nine months after the process began, there is one last process…labor. I’ve know of women who have delivered before their due date and others after. In a lot of cases I’ve heard, “That baby will come out when he/she is ready!” But when it is time, it is time, and there is nothing you can do to stop it.
In the scripture above, I see an illustration of a process. First you have to endure the transition, tension, conflict…the suffering, then there is a turning point. After all of that hardship, sacrifice, loss, and pain, GOD HIMSELF will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. OMG! God will restore for every loss. He will confirm/support/secure you. He will strengthen you in every area that became weak from the fight. He will establish you…set you on a firm foundation. Within the last 15 days, God has done just this in my life. I don’t have it altogether yet, but my feet feel established on a firm foundation, I feel a little bit stronger, I literally feel safe in God’s arms, and I wholeheartedly believe restoration AND recompense have hit my life. *insert tears*
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.“
Philippians 4:6-7 [New Living Translation]
To you who may feel stuck and weary in your process…hold on a little while longer. You may not be approaching a milestone birthday like me, but that doesn’t mean God doesn’t have a turning point just for you; it is in HIS view. And once it’s time, it’s time! So while you are still suffering, fighting, building, and transitioning, do as the scripture above instructs us. Don’t worry. Pray. Tell God what you need. Thank him for what he’s already done. THEN……. If I were in church, I’d dance! THEN comes his peace that blows your mind!!! It is more that what you can even understand! WOOOOAAAH! AAAAAAND that peace, the one that knocked your socks off, is also going to guard/protect/cover your heart and mind as you live in Christ. Whew! Thank you, Jesus!
Philippians 4:7 perfectly describes this season of my life.
I don’t know what Chapter 30 holds…I didn’t read the terms and conditions again. BUT I know that with whatever comes my way, I’ve got God’s peace.
I hope this helps.