#TBT, Bible, Blogging, Brooklyn, Career, Christian, Dating, emotional, faith, Family, Fear, Flatbush, Give Back, Growing Up, jesus, jesus christ, Love, Marriage, NYC, prayer, Wedding

You can’t always get what you want. And that’s not a bad thing.

Life is quite funny.

By God’s grace, D recently found a new career opportunity in NY. What this means is that after six years of what was supposed to be a year of living in New Jersey, I’m heading back to Brooklyn and taking this Jersey Boy with me. His friends think I’m elated. I’m happy, but it is bittersweet.

When I first moved here I was sad and upset at having to leave NYC, but took comfort in the fact that it would be for only a year. 365 days. When it became clear that year would extend to four, I was bitter and disappointed. Thankfully, two years into living here, I was led to my current church – a blessing God knew I needed but wouldn’t have gotten if He hadn’t moved me to the other side of the Hudson. I had been away from God for a long time before that and was slowly (think tortoise steps) finding my way back. God placed me where I could get the support of an uncompromising bible-teaching-believing-practicing pastor and fellow believers to grow in my walk with Him. Fellow believers who helped me move past the guilt of turning my back on God and accept the forgiveness He offered after I came back in broken repentance.

I am happy for this new challenge ahead of us and the opportunity to change, shape and make a real difference in the neighborhoods of my childhood, but I am sad as well. In addition to my church family, my in-laws have made Jersey a home for me. Where there was no true emotional connection to the state when I first arrived, I must say that it now holds a special place in my heart that is uniquely its own. One that even New York can’t ever touch. How can it? This is where D and I started our married life. Jersey is forever tied to those memories.

Some may not believe me, but I am very grateful for the way life turned out. I am thankful that God overruled my wants and led me to follow His will.

Would love to hear stories of how your life took a path contrary to what you wanted but that turned out to be exactly what you needed.

Proverbs 19 21

#TBT from 2011

Same old story, different couple. 20-something Brooklyn Girl enjoys the highlights and pitfalls of everyday single life without care or thought to settling down. Brooklyn Girl meets New Jersey Boy online and thinks New Jersey Boy is funny. She’ll go out with him. Time goes by and BK Girl realizes that Jersey Boy is awesome. She’ll keep going out with him. More time passes and both BK Girl and Jersey Boy realize they want to keep hanging out with each other.

Jersey Boy proposes to BK Girl after a series of comical errors. BK Girl screams “Holy Crap, We’re Engaged!” before saying yes to nervous Jersey Boy on bended knee awaiting an answer.

BK Girl makes it clear to Jersey Boy – “THERE’S NO WAY I’M MOVING TO NEW JERSEY!” Jersey Boy agrees, but secretly wonders if maybe BK Girl doesn’t understand the meaning of compromise.

Jersey Boy starts the search for NY job. And he searches…and searches…and searches. Jersey Boy realizes NY job market is a bust. Makes more sense to keep current NJ job.

Jersey Boy agonizes over how to tell BK Girl that the stress of the reverse commute would eventually cause him to drive his car off the Brooklyn Bridge. BK Girl and Jersey Boy separately contemplate living apart while married – both agree that’s probably not the best idea. Jersey Boy nervously brings up subject of moving to Jersey to BK Girl.

Seeing the writing on the wall, BK Girl makes Mandelaesque sacrifice and leaves the bright lights of NY for the humdrum life of Jersey — at least temporarily.

What was supposed to be a one year stay has now turned into three with one more to go before Jersey Boy can be settled in his field.

With humor, BK Girl tries to embrace her current refugee status while dreaming of the day she can return to her homeland.

Join her on this cross-state journey as she embraces her life in Jersey while still maintaining her New York roots.

bklynjersey

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Christian, faith, Fear, Fellowship, Friends, Friendship, jesus, jesus christ, prayer, share, Trust

The Power of a Praying Friend.

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Momentarily overwhelmed by challenges and uncertainties I’ve been facing these last few months, this morning I practically fell apart during my prayer time. Okay, I fell apart. More like I curled into the fetal position, crying snot bubbles and taking quick shallow breaths that rendered me light-headed and unable to speak my heart to God. The more I tried, the less successful my attempts.

Unable to find the words for myself, I shook with anxiety while searching my phone for a fellow believer in Christ who could support me. Of the three go-to prayer warriors in my life, I called my friend S. When her voicemail greeted me after several unanswered rings, the disappointment tore a guttural cry from my spirit. I was devastated. Where I normally would have been searching God’s Word for the support I needed, that morning an avalanche of tears blurred my vision to the point of making the content of my Bible unreadable.

Not knowing what else to do, I wailed several few short sentences that found their way from my heart to my mouth.

  • PLEASE, GOD HELP ME!
  • GOD, PLEASE, I NEED HELP!
  • GOD, I’M OVERWHELMED!
  • GOD, PLEASE. HELP ME, PLEASE, GOD.
  • I NEED HELP.
  • GOD, PLEASE ANSWER ME.
  • I NEED HELP.

I kid you not that I did not finish the last sentence before I saw (the ringer was off) S’s name flash on the phone that I was still holding. Like a lunatic, I greeted her with laughter and tears. My voice still hoarse from my cries. God was listening! Where I was starting to feel alone, He was reminding me I wasn’t. When S prayed for me this morning when I couldn’t for myself, I was reminded of the following:

  1. God is compassionate and merciful. His heart is moved by His children’s pain. Even as the sovereign creator and ruler of everything, He still cares about each and every single one of His children who come to Him with a burdened heart.
  2. In His compassion and His sovereignty, God will sometimes choose to answer prayers immediately. More than anything, what I needed this morning when I was crying out was to know that He was listening. As He needed to when He calmed the storm for the apostles in Mark 4:35-41, I think He chose to give me that immediate confirmation because at that moment my faith wasn’t strong enough to see past my fears.
  3. As believers, we are the body of Christ. And as the body of Christ, we are to come alongside and encourage one another in our walk with Christ. Spiritually, I was at a low point this morning. By God’s gracious provision, He sent a sister-in-Christ who prayed for me and provided the support to lift me up and get me back on my path.

I am thankful to God for the power of a praying friend. I am thankful that He made S obedient to His leading and directed her to go in search of her phone even though she wasn’t sure why there was an urgency to find it. If you’re a believer and don’t have an S in your life, or a D (my sister), or a K (my brother-in-law), if you don’t have God-fearing, God-loving, Bible-believing and Bible-obedient supportive loved ones in your life whose first line of defense is to pray for you, then pray for God to lead you to them – or them to you. And while you’re at it, pray that He will make you one to someone else.

I may not be a friend, but as a fellow believer I am your family, so may those of you struggling today know that you have someone praying for you. As S prayed for me, I pray that you will take Jesus up on His offer to find rest for your souls by exchanging your heavy burdens for his light yoke.

Remember, as the body of Christ, we are supporting one another to do His kingdom’s work on earth. We’ve each been given the Great Commission and while we have an individual responsibility, we also have the collective responsibility to support one another in this work.

prayer

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Author, Blogging, Career, Coding, Confidence, Criticism, Doubt, Education, Empowerment, failure, faith, Fear, Feedback, Goals, Technology, Write, Writer, writing

If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you!

Learning to code is certainly challenging, but well worth the effort and time. I kicked-off 2015 not with a resolution, but with the goal of undertaking a project that would shove me out of my safe and comfortable bubble. And shove me HTML, CSS and JavaScript have done. And they’re just the basics. Let’s not forget that I still have the programming languages to learn. Hello PHP! Nice to meet you, Python! Oh, Ruby, you sparkling beast! Oy. Well, one task at a time.

So, what challenge will change you this year? What challenges have changed you in the past?

My Last Top 3 Growth-Encouraging Challenges

  1. Completing my very first novel. IT. WAS. HARD. REALLY. REALLY. HARD. But for the first time since I started keeping a diary at the age of nine, I had the confidence to call myself a writer.
  2. Sharing my writing. When I clicked submit and officially entered the 2013 So You Think You Can Write contest, my heart dropped to my stomach. There was no turning back at that point. I had opened the door for others to see my heart. I needed that experience to give me the courage to work towards becoming a published author. Something that hasn’t happened yet, but I refuse to give up on.
  3. Running my first (and only so far) half marathon. I was injured, cold, and felt like a truck had run me down. I remember praying with every painful step that the Lord would strengthen me to continue. He did. That experience was yet another confirmation of Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Happy New Year! I’m glad to be back.

P.S. I apologize in advance for the errors you might encounter in future posts as I practice HTML and CSS behind the scenes. 🙂 I’ll keep working with Skillcrush to improve my skills. I’ll be an expert yet.

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america, Blogging, BlogHer, Bold, Career, Confidence, Fear, NaBloPoMo, NaNoWriMo, Self confidence

Say yes, and you’ll figure it out afterward.

It’s Monday, yay! No, I’m not crazy to be happy about Monday. Just very glad I can almost breathe properly again.

Sooooo…. this evening I discovered this gem of a show on TLC called 90 Day Fiance. The show profiles several couples where one person travels to the U.S. to live with their overseas partner for the first time. The couples must marry before the visa expires in 90 days, or the visiting partner will have to return home.

Initially this post was going to discuss my suspicions about three of the six couples. I’m convinced the international partners are scamming the American ones. But I changed my mind and shifted the focus after watching the few couples that seemed as if they truly loved one another.

To leave your family and your friends, quit your work, and move away from the only home you’ve ever known, just to take a chance on a relationship that may or may not succeed, is a decision that requires courage. You’re coming to a country where you’re not familiar with the culture, you may not speak the language (as is the case for one of the partners), you will be unemployed for an indefinite amount of time, and your sole support system is someone that you’re still learning about and adjusting to. Someone you’re still working on building a permanent relationship with. That’s nerve-racking. But at least they’ve taken a chance. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. They can move on knowing they tried.

Watching this show I couldn’t help but think about the times I didn’t take a leap of faith. What would have happened if I’d done so? If I hadn’t allowed fear to keep me from applying to Emerson, would I already be established as a writer? If I had taken the job in South Korea upon graduating college, what direction would my life had taken then? What if I had accepted the opportunity to join AmeriCorps and moved to Maine? I make a conscious effort not to dwell on what-ifs because I don’t believe in coincidences, but what would my life had been like if I had taken any of these opportunities?

As I move closer to my self-imposed deadline to figure out my next career move, I’m praying that I won’t continue to shrink away from opportunities because I’m second guessing my ability to succeed.

I could stand to follow Tina Fey’s thought process when it comes to the next open door around the corner: “Say yes, and you’ll figure it out afterward” has helped me to be more adventurous. It has definitely helped me be less afraid.

What about you? Take the poll and then share your story in the comments section.

SAYYES

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BlogHer, Career, Confidence, failure, Fear, insecurities, Inspiration, NaBloPoMo, NaNoWriMo, Success, Uncategorized

Randy Jackson Syndrome

With his announcement that he’s leaving American Idol after 13 seasons, I can no longer claim Randy Jackson Syndrome as the reason I’m still staying put in my field after 8 years.

Randy Jackson was part of the original regime that included Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and Ryan Seacrest. Randy watched Simon and Paula leave to pursue bigger and better dreams, and while those pursuits didn’t pan out very well for Paula, at least she tried. Randy, on the other hand, stayed put and became less relevant with each new, better-paid and highly celebrated judge wooed to the table. He became the tattered, old pair of jeans whose season had long passed, but you couldn’t bring yourself to throw out for sentimental reasons.

He was the loyal “dawg” of AI. Smiling and giving his opinion even when no one placed value on what he had to say – or on his successful history as a musician, entrepreneur and producer. Looking in from the outside (as I was doing), Randy was the childhood best friend you didn’t have the heart to break ties with, and the one who wasn’t strong enough to end the friendship. A friendship you both recognized had run its course.

I’ve been suffering from Randy Jackson Syndrome for years: overstaying my welcome in my current career field when I should have taken a leap of faith long ago and try something new. Like Randy, I haven’t been able to move on. Is it fear? Partly. Greatly. Whether the fear is of failure, or of success, I can’t say for sure. Whatever it is, I need to find out – or better yet just make a move. I mean, even Randy finally realized when it was time to go and actually left. When will I do so as well?

How about you? Have you ever suffered from Randy Jackson Syndrome?

leap of faith

leap of faith

 

NaBloPoMo_November

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