#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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#TBT Egypt 2011

Three years ago a group of friends and I took a huge trip, and Cairo, Egypt was one of the stops. We were there in August, in the midst of all of the political unrest. Two weeks before our scheduled arrival a clash broke out in Cairo outside of the courtroom where former president Mubarack was on trial. I can’t say it was the most stress-free time to visit the country. We went through a metal detector before we could enter our hotel. When I jokingly asked what it was we were being screened for, the officer succinctly answered, bombs. Although serious, his attitude was nonchalant. As if this was everyday activity in his world. Maybe it was, but it certainly gave us pause. Cairo wasn’t our favorite, but it was the most interesting leg of our trip.

#TBT: couple of pictures.

Join in and post a #tbt trip photo and share your story in the comments.

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#TBT, Beauty, Blogging, BlogHer, Body Image, Confidence, Criticism, Dating, Empowerment, Flatbush, Growing Up, insecurities, Introvert, Love, NaBloPoMo, NaNoWriMo, NYC, Self confidence, Teenager

Teenage Memory

This #TBT post is from a 2011 post about a memory from my teen years.

misfit

***

I was a gangly *no curves to save my life* and dark-skin teen who always had her head buried in a book. Not exactly the Kim Kardashian beauty of teenage boys’ lustful dreams. Their rejection hurt, but what really cut deep was being rejected by boys who should have liked me – black boys. But they didn’t. There was nothing special about me in their eyes. I wasn’t fair, I did not have light eyes and my hair wasn’t especially long. I was JUST black. Nothing exotic in my genes. Greater than the sin of being homely and black, I had no butt to speak of. No junk in my trunk. No “onion” booty: described by Urban Dictionary as a “booty that looks so good, it makes grown man want to cry.”

Those awkward teenage years were exacerbated by the bully who made it his business to torture me. My bully was an overweight and and pitch-dark boy who girls found unattractive and tended to overlook. As author Richard Sennet points out in Respect in a World of Inequality, the condition of “not being seen” had produced in him “a desire to avenge.” And I was the target of his vengeance because he saw in me his most hated feature. Every day he was forced to confront the thing about himself that caused him the most grief – his skin color.

As a teen I didn’t have the foresight to understand that his problem was not with me. I was simply an easy target. His anger was rooted much deeper. His real issue stemmed from generations of black self-hate that was encouraged during times of slavery when the darker slaves were relegated to picking cotton and working in the fields while the lighter ones (those who more closely resembled their European masters – usually as a result of interracial rape) were able to remain in the house as servants and had the opportunity to be educated. Why we play the game of who carried the heaviest burden is beyond me. Slavery is slavery is slavery. But that’s another topic for another day.

Anyway, I internalized his treatment of me and spent years chasing the standard of beauty that I was sure he and others would value. I used skin bleaching creams religiously, seared my hair straight with hot combs and relaxers, and prayed fervently for the type of butt that black boys would appreciate. Imagine being God and listening to those heartfelt prayers.

It wasn’t until years later (hello Black Studies classes in college!) that I had the strength to confront my demons and work through the self-hate. While I was fortunate enough to have that opportunity, I’ve often wondered whether my bully had the same chance. I hope so, but who knows. You can’t combat issues you never acknowledge. As they say in AA (or so TV tells me), the first step is admitting you have a problem.

***

What’s a memory from your teenage years?

NaBloPoMo_November

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#TBT Doubt (no, not the movie)

My first official #TBT post. A blog entry from 2011. I’ve come a long way with this journey since then; and I’ve learned that faith, like everything in my life, needs to be strengthened by prayer daily. And that’s a good thing. It means that I’m depending on God to be God. Where I am weak, He will be strong.

***

I’m attending a 13-week series on prayer and we’re using the book No Easy Road by Dick Eastman as the guide. I haven’t started reading the book yet (I missed the first two parts of the series), but so far the series is having a great impact on me.

The third session of this series is entitled The Peak of Unbelief. It’s about the barrier that doubt places on prayer. Something that I’ve been struggling with. It was jarring to hear that doubt, like faith, is a choice. Although I hate saying it, I sometimes find myself thinking “I can’t help it” when I don’t trust God to do what I’ve prayed about. But the truth is I’m making that choice to doubt, and not fully trust in Him. Where is my faith?

Another great point that was brought up is that when you’re constantly in fellowship with God you gain a sensitivity to what He wants for your life. As such your prayers will align with His desires for you. To answer the question ‘Where is my faith?’ (at least as it relates to prayer), it was shaken a few years ago when I failed to received something that I prayed for and wholeheartedly believed that I would receive. What I’m learning (now that I’m trying to rebuild my faith in prayer) is the truth behind praying for the things God wants for your life.  It’s very easy to be upset about the prayers God doesn’t grant us without considering whether this would have been the best thing for us.

Here are some takeaways from last night’s session. Be motivated to walk in fellowship with God, pray and TRUST that He is listening and wants to grant your requests.

Would love to hear about your prayer journey, or your journey with doubt.

Takeaways

Hebrews 11:6 (NLT) – It is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

“It matters little what form of prayer we adopt or how many words we use, what matters is the faith which lays hold on God and touches the heart of the Father who knew us long before we came to Him.” ——-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Prayer projects faith on God, and God on the world. Only God can move mountains, but faith and prayer moves God.” ———- E.M. Bounds

Matthew 21:21-22 (NKJV) – So Jesus answered and said to them [disciples], “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree [cause it to whither because it did not produce fruit], but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

“Prayer is asking for rain. Faith is carrying the umbrella.” ———Robert C. Savage

Points to Ponder:

Why do you think doubt is so destructive to the prayer life of a believer? How can a believer build his or her faith in such a way as to diminish the impact of doubt when it comes to praying believing prayer?

Take the time in prayer to express to the Lord the things that you feel have created doubt in your walk with Jesus. Ask God to bless you with supernatural grace to pray “without fear or doubting.”

Faith

 

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