may joy meet you in the morning

IMG_1982 (2)Happy New Month

early in the morning, I will celebrate the light, when I stumble in the darkness, I will call Your name by night

In my last post I wrote about how tough the last few weeks have been, you can read about it HERE. Usually, I leave it all here and don’t come back to tell about my okay days, and the mornings when joy met me by the time my feet touched the floor.

God has been showing up

But in unexpected ways.

At my lowest, sometime last week, I kept repeating to myself, ” I have no one, I absolutely have no one.” but I know this is a lie. There was this battle in my heart, where I wanted to keep saying “I have no one” but I felt in my heart that i really didn’t believe it and it was the enemy willing me to say it enough so I would believe it.

you can have all this world, give me Jesus

My hearts desire

Everything isn’t all of sudden perfect, God didn’t perform some magic trick and all of sudden my life was golden. God didn’t make the pain go away. But what God did was remove the hopelessness from my heart and replace it with peace. God gave me strength to wake-up and accomplish the tasks before me with a clear mind, I still cried when I laid down, but I got shit done. God gave me a song and he softened my heart and I was able to let go of my pride.

I don’t know how tomorrow is going to look like but today, I am okay. I am okay with the mess and the tears. I am okay with the sadness, and hopeful that it will pass. I am okay with the fact that tomorrow might be a struggle but thankful that God is already there waiting to meet me and hold me.

God is good. I am thankful that I know this truth…

You have no rival, You have no equal, now and forever God you reign. Yours is the kingdom. Yours is the glory. Yours is the name above all names.

I just pray peace over anyone who stumbles on this post. I pray for peace and grace in whatever situation you’re going through. I pray the Lord will give you rest, and that you find joy in the morning.

 

 

Success is not a solo act

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve done everything by myself, for myself. I was one or I am one of those people who would rather go a day without eating than to ask a friend or family to borrow a few dollars. I’m not sure what my true motives were, but I always said to myself, ” I don’t want to burden other people, because they may have their own issues going on.” While a true statement, the fact is that, I thought I didn’t need help from others. I thought I had to be silent about my problems because people may rejoice over them.

Growing up I learned to keep my problems to myself. I learned not to share my troubles and to keep my short comings to myself. I was told outright and I learned mostly from peoples reaction to other peoples failures. I noticed that people really tried hard to hide their flaws and God forbid, if that flaw was exposed, that person was ridiculed.

A few anecdotes 

  •  A lady gave birth to a child with down syndrome, for a while she wouldn’t take the kid out. When she finally did, people trashed talked HER for giving birth to a child like that. 
  • Another was, when a lady’s husband cheated on her but of course she tried to hide it, when it was out in public she was ridiculed.
  • Just going back to my primary school in Ghana, final results were posted in public and woe unto the person who came in last place. He or she would be called out in front of the whole school and the students will be ordered to “boo” the person. 

The truth

When I was younger, I thought nothing of these issues, all it reminded me off was to protect myself and not share my failures or downfalls.

Recently, I’v been learning about sharing. One thing my current pastor says a lot and preach a lot about is community. He always says,

You can’t do life on your own

This is the truth. Life isn’t meant to be done alone. We all need support systems, my friends have been pumping this into my head all weekend. You need to tell people you are struggling with finding employment, they may not be able to hand you a job but they’ll know to make connections when opportunities come up. You need to tell people how you’re feeling, they may not be able to fix the problem but they can tell you that you are not alone or simply be a listening ear.

Another one of my issues with seeking help was, I thought help had to look a certain way and come from certain people. But another truth is that,

support may not look like how we imagine

So, we have to be open to how support shows up in our life and embrace it when it does show up.

Tell me about your support system? How do you show up for people in your life?

The presence of medicine, is not the absence of God

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The strong black woman, God and mental health

I remember having a conversation with a friend about the increase in black women getting on YouTube confessing that they’ve been struggling with anxiety and depression. Some lived to make a video about it, and some unfortunately had committed suicide only for their friends and family to share with viewers that they had been struggling with depression. These types of videos were received fairly well, but what got my friend and I talking about it were the other comments about their depression being fake, that they were weak, or they don’t pray hard or often enough. I remember one black girl in 20s stating that, she didn’t think Christians should be depressed. I could definitely relate. As a black African woman who is a Christian, there were days when I felt that my anxiety and deep sadness were only present in my life because I wasn’t reading my bible enough and me crying everyday was weak and I really just needed to get over it. I needed to be strong. I needed to be the strong black woman that I am supposed be and only communicate with God, more. Communicating with a therapy was the “white thing” to do.

Fortunately for me, I have learned that mental anguish is no respecter of race or ethnicity. It happens to all of us and it is our responsibility to seek the help we need. The idea of the strong black woman has to be redefined or banned all-together

The strong black woman is the woman that accepts everything, holds her tongue, doesn’t cry, doesn’t vent, she is this stoic emotionless woman. Her response to every situation, even when she is the victim, no, especially when she is the victim is to fight back with silence. Not with grieve, not with sadness, not with tears, or anger. The black woman have been trained to suffer silently. In black communities, the best compliment a black woman can receive is that she is a “strong black woman,” and on the days she dares to complain about her burdens, she is advised to take it to the Lord in prayer.

The truth is that this world is full of struggles and we cannot avoid them. Things WILL happen to us that will affect our mental state, for some people more severe than others. Some may experience seasonal depression, some kind of anxiety, clinical depression and some may have even more severe form of mental illness I don’t even have the terms for. But the refusal to address it and seek help is a self-imposed struggle that isn’t virtuous. It does nothing for the one silently suffering and for the generations to come. How strong is mother who never sought help for themselves? How strong is a mother who didn’t heal themselves and can’t admit that she is broken? What about the scars? Aren’t they a symbol of strength? Pretending to not have been injured makes you scar-less, how then can you tell your story of healing?

Strength is finding solutions. It asking for professional help. It is going to the hospital. It is partaking in self-care so you can care for others. It is seeing God in everything. It is believing in prayers. It is believing in medicine. It is an acceptance. Strength is being vocal about your stress and anxiety. Strength is knowing that that the presence of medicine isn’t the absence of God.

It is time that we acknowledge that strength comes in different forms and redefine it for the black woman. Strength isn’t carrying the burden of the world and of your heart by yourself, quietly in your prayer space.

So for the strong black woman I say this to you; that strength that help you carry on even after you’ve read the many articles telling you, you are at the bottom of everyone’s list, that you are the least paid, that you aren’t beautiful that the hairstyles that you’ve always worn were ghetto until it was on another person. The strength that equips you to still wake up and call yourself beautiful. The strength that allows you to hold it together when your world is falling apart, THAT STRENGTH! That strength should enable you to mourn, to share your stories, to confess that you are sad. Use that strength to walk into a therapist office, lay on their gray uncomfortable chair couch, cry your heart out, vent to your heart’s content and admit that you are tired.

Tap into that strength to make you take the pills the psychiatrist you saw prescribed to you, use that strength to go to your therapy appointments faithfully. Use that strength to share your story about your mental health journey and the revelation that although God answers prayer and heal through miracles, God also performs miracles through medicine and professional support.