As I sat in pure silence the other day, a bit sadden after reflecting on the events that changed my life forever ten years ago that day, I tried to collect my thoughts. It marked the beginning of insurmountable challenges I would face as a result of unexpected changes in my life that left me helpless and hurting. Remembering a time when I lost control of what I thought was a stable life and there was nothing I could do about it. I felt I suffered not to live, but only to die from the discomfort, agony, and pain in my body. I thought my life was over.
For a long time, I could do nothing but talk to God. I poured out my heart to him. I told him there are so many things that keep getting in my way preventing me from truly walking in my purpose and my calling. At times, I wanted to give up and turn away from my calling. Times when I felt I didn’t have strength to go on. Traveling through unfamiliar territory, down unknown paths, forever winding roads, never knowing where it would lead. Convinced when I became a believer things appeared less complicated in my former life.
I believed it was easier to retreat and go back to that which was comfortable, convenient, and familiar because it meant I wouldn’t have to deal with being uncomfortable or be inconvenienced. I told God I wanted to do something different and not do this anymore. But something just wouldn’t let me give in, no matter how many times I spoke these words. I couldn’t help but know that God was in the midst of it all. Every time I thought I wanted to give up, God had a way of sending someone to affirm his purpose.
God just would not let me be. When I couldn’t sleep and lay wide awoke early mornings with thoughts running rampart in my head, trying to figure out what is it I am supposed to be doing. He kept on pushing me. God was sending a message. It was something he needed me to hear. I don’t know why I was having such a hard time with this. God clearly had already sent the answer. I guess I just was not listening.
Transparency. I must be honest with myself because I cannot move on until I let go of what’s hindering me. I know there’s an anointing on my life. The devil wouldn’t give me the time of day if I didn’t know Jesus. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Then one day I realized the magnitude of suffering, trials, and tribulations I experienced was necessary although it had been twelve years I first began and ten years this month living with chronic pain. My life changed forever. But none of this was about me. God was preparing me for what’s coming. I can feel in my being that it is going to be something bigger than me. God would get the glory.
It is where my spiritual journey began. I had to go through some things as part of my spiritual development. God was shaping me into a better person; helping me to grow for a greater purpose. That I may be used by him for his glory to fulfill his purpose. And although I may not feel equipped to handle it, God knows it is the best thing He designed just for me. It’s coming.
One day I woke renewed as tears welled in my eyes as I’m listening to Smokie Norful’s Dear God. When hearing the words, I was in tears. It was speaking to me. Thanking God over and over for setting me free. I wanted to tell the story of a life that may have been troubled over the years, but showed the life I now celebrate and by the grace of God I’m here.
To celebrate the spiritual journey I’ve traveled, I thought what better way to commemorate the occasion, with the help of family, than to create a video with Smokie Norful’s Dear God capturing timeless pictures and some of my favorite quotes I created over time to inspire others as well as myself of the life I managed to overcome by the grace of God. To chronicle my journey filled with smiles, hope, and life renewed. Thankful God set me free, even at times when I didn’t understand it.
I’ve come a long ways even though the journey seemed like forever. Not realizing then it would be my testimony. People may have walked out on me when I thought I needed them most. It didn’t matter. When I look over my life, I have no regrets or complaints about what I’ve gone through.
I may get discouraged at times and want to give up. Change and growth was necessary. I will keep my eyes on the prize. I won’t give up. I won’t look to the right or to the left. I will look to the hills from whence cometh my help. I’ll keep growing stronger in my faith. God never promised our life would be easy. He promised he will be with us through eternity.
Life has a way of showing you who you’re meant to be when you go through trials that are far from easy. Many may have left along the way. I thank God he didn’t let them stay. He knew there were some that couldn’t go with me. They couldn’t handle where he’s taking me. Look at me. Grace looks good on me! I’m a living testimony. I will walk in my destiny.
Thank you Smokie Norful! This is the story of my life. Lord I thank you for my life.
Be blessed! –JD
John 16:33 “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (NLT)