Posted in Faith, higher education, Life, purpose, Religion

No Regrets on Purpose

“If you could go back and change one thing in your life, what would it be?” is a common question asked on a regular basis on a variety of different platforms and situations.
My answer? Nothing. Because the smallest change could literally change the course of my entire life.

My freshman year I [briefly] attended a HBCU in Virginia. And while now, I look back on my experience and time there fondly, at the time I was depressed, homesick and unhappy while I was there.

Years later I am able to set aside the depression I experienced and remember mostly the valuable lessons I was taught there, both in and outside of the classroom. Those lessons stuck with me and even shaped me into who I am at this very moment.

Leaving that school was devastating, as I looked at it as coming home empty-handed. No college credits under my belt, no degree, nothing. Just feelings of failure and embarrassment as I enrolled at the local community college.

But who knew that in the moment of my despair, the foundation was laid for my personal and character development? Who knew that depression I went through would strengthen me and position me to encourage others later on? Who knew coming back home would lead to even greater opportunities, meeting my husband, and discovering my passion for education?

God knew. Just like He knew in the Old Testament story of Joseph, that Joseph getting sold into slavery by his own brothers, being imprisoned and punished, would set him up to be one of the highest ranking officials in the country, putting him in a position to save his family’s life during a famine, one of the worst ever.

I’m sure Joseph never saw any of that coming. But I’m sure if he were alive today and you asked him if he could go back and change anything in his life, his answer would be the same as mine.

“Nothing.”

And how do I know this?

Genesis 50: 20 told me so.

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

You may have lost a loved one. Or some friends. or a job. You may find yourself in a situation you never expected to be in. But God allowed it to happen. It all has a greater purpose.

You losing your job led to a career change, or allowed you to be able to take care of a sick relative. Losing friends allowed you to make new friends, appropriate for the season of life you are in now. God knew what you needed before you did, before you even opened your mouth to ask Him.

Your pain, your frustration, has purpose.

God is interested in our happiness, our success, our triumphs, absolutely He is. But He is more concerned with making us like Him. And whatever He has to do or use to do that, He will.

Take comfort in knowing that God wants you to be the very best version of you possible and He will bring you to unexpected places so that can happen. Trust that God knows better than you or any of us ever will.

And in times of trials, frustration, devastation, despair…know there is a purpose, a reason for it all.

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Posted in Cleveland, Education, Faith, higher education, Life, Married Life, Relationships

Time to Fly

I’m such a chicken…I can go literally ANYWHERE in the country for grad school and I’m afraid to go TOO far from my family and in-laws but I’m too scared to fly from the nest…or at least to fly too far away. Every time I’ve gone somewhere unfamiliar, I’ve always ran back to safety, to my comfort zone. Never mind the fact that I wasn’t always happy there.

When I left for Hampton at 18, not only was I dealing with depression, but I was also dealing with homesickness. I was over nine hours away from home. I had plenty of resources available to me that I could have taken advantage of…counseling, TRIO, I had 2 ‘big brothers’-upperclassmen who adopted me as their little sister & had taken me under their wings.  I opted to go back home instead and deal with depression near my family.

Fast forward three years, I was over 18 hours away when my grandmother passed away-I was in Southwest Louisiana for Alternative Spring Break, and my beloved grandmother was on her deathbed, and I knew it. We all knew it. I remember wanting to stay home instead of doing ASB that year…my mother urged me to go, because I couldn’t prevent anything from happening. And she was right. And just like I feared, I ended up getting that call that my grandmother had passed away, while I was down south. It was incredibly hard, but thankfully, I wasn’t alone.

Why am I telling these stories? Because they have everything to do with me being afraid to leave the nest. I’ve been talking about leaving my hometown ever since I was a little girl. And I’m scared to leave home. Scared to leave my family and the only city I’ve ever known. Scared that I will have trouble making friends wherever I end up next. Scared that hubby & I will have trouble finding jobs. Scared that I will fail and end up back here.

I seem to forget that the times that I DID step out of my comfort zone? Yes it was scary…but it all worked out. And I always had the time of my life. Including this current job now.

I really do need to step out of my comfort zone with graduate school, and trust that everything will work out, because it will. I think also, I stay here in town, not expecting things to change, but they do, and they already are changing. Life goes on, whether you are ready or not, and I’m finally realizing that, as I watch all of my friends step out of their comfort zones and do amazing things. It’s time for me to do the same, to face my fears, and not only survive, but thrive.

It’s time to leave the nest, it’s time to fly. Wherever we land, everything will work out. Might not be smooth sailing at first, but things will work out. And best part is, I won’t be alone this time-I’ll have my husband by my side. In the words of my wise friend/sis ‘yes we definitely need to face our fears and get out of our comfort zone, because GOD knows where he wants to take and place us, we just have to put that trust in Him.’