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Alone but not forsaken

David’s life teaches me so much about what it means to be a leader. As I read through the final chapters of I Samuel I saw a man who spent a great part of his younger years running for his life. I am sure there were moments midst his running that he felt discouraged and unsure of the future. However I loved how God gave him the support of Samuel and Jonathan when he needed it most, in the earlier stages of his calling. The immediate moments that followed being anointed as the future King.

Now, although I never posted my thoughts on the amazing friendship Jonathan and David shared, I couldn’t help but feel inspired to pray to God to send me a friend or someone who like Jonathan who in this stage of my life is there to not just listen but encourage me and allows me the room to live in the emotions and fears I am facing in this season. I admired how Jonathan recognized David running and sought him out to encourage him in chapter 20 of I Samuel. Even despite his father’s beliefs and thoughts, Jonathan was loyal and I also can’t but pray that God enables me to be that kind of friend and leader in society my entire life. 

It is so interesting to me that Jonathan’s death comes almost as suddenly as his relationship with David started. In David’s most distraught stages of life God had placed the right people in his life to encourage him and remind him midst fear that he was called to be a king of thousands. So my true question was how David must have felt when not only Samuel passed away but in fact his best friend, comrade Jonathan. Where did David find his strength? Where did he find his courage? What made him a man after God’s own heart? Truth is he was naturally alone but spiritually God had not forsaken him, and I believe that despite the uncertainty certain strongholds may have brought him, one thing that David never failed to do was to seek God and run to God when his plan, his ways and his agenda failed. He lived his life freely but time after time as you read through the chapters of his life, David would pray, wait for an answer and then immediately move.  This is where I feel many of us including me mess up, doing the seeking without the living, maybe forgetting the obedience part. Doing the waiting but somehow forgetting the praying, or a combination of each of these things.

There is sincere truth in the saying that God has people in our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime and I think sometimes it is easy to attach ourselves to those relationships rather than to the one who really gives each one of us a true purpose and depth, Jesus. David could have become depressed and in fact given up but he never lost sight of the fact that God is God. He praised God in the storm, he never forgot the goodness of God that was ever present in his life. He may have been physically alone but in fact he believed with all his heart that when mother and father forsook him God gave him hope (Psalm 27:10). Even midst the sorrow of losing a friend and even a mentor almost simultaneously David ran to Jesus and mourned at his feet. This illustration was something that comparatively reminded me of Jesus.

To be honest lately I’ve experienced moments where I have felt alone. I haven’t been too sure on how to express myself and quite frankly have a hard time trusting that those people who say they’ll be there for me, will actually be there. I sometimes test friendships hoping that the true friends will prove themselves and yet I end up hurting myself and pushing them away. Now it is hard to stop such a vicious cycle when you have a really hard time trusting people, and I’ll admit I am in the wrong for behaving this way and that too frustrates me, but let’s be honest and see who hasn’t felt this way before? Who is okay with the disappointments that may have come from ended or abusive relationships. So as a result I sabotage things myself, because it’s better things end on my terms than to be left abandoned, heart in and wondering what happened? Now, as I look at what I have confessed, I don’t see a person living like Jesus. And as I began to ponder on Jesus and his life, and his relationships I was left feeling humbled and assured that Jesus knew what I was experiencing, but handled his situations with total class and humility. How? Let me show you. 

Jesus had 12 disciples but I felt He was only really close to 3 of them Peter, James and John. Yet, even in being that close to them He was denied by Peter, betrayed by Judas, unrecognized by his disciples upon his Resurrection from the grave, never was visited by any of the men, nor his body taken care of by any of them after his death, he was abandoned by his friends and forgotten upon his death. Now I am not Jesus but in similar ways who hasn’t gone through similar issues in their lives? Your close friends forget your birthday, leave you out of an event they are all going to, you’ve proven your loyalty and yet you still feel as if they do not appreciate you, you’re constantly sacrificing yourself, your needs and your ideas for the betterment of the group, you’re a burden bearer and yet alone. You are constantly dying to yourself and nobody is there to help you…except Jesus.

I look at how easily Jesus could have become discouraged, frustrated and saddened by the mere fact that despite all the miracles He had performed, all the love He had shown others, He had to search them out and prove once again to them who He was. Hadn’t he shown the world His loyalty when He died on the cross. When He not only gave His life but paid the ultimate price for them and us all? But how great of an example Jesus is of a leader. In it all He did not do any of those things and in that He proved to me that although I may feel alone; although there may be times where the good you and I do in this world is not remembered by those who should remember and although you have to be strong enough to bear others burdens midst having your own, Jesus shows us that even in those moments if God is for us who can be against us.

There comes a point in all of our walks where all we might have to hold on to is the very promises of God. We may look around us and feel alone as if everyone around us is just to oblivious to the fact that we are emotionally distraught and having a hard time expressing the very heart and core of our struggle. Our crys for help seem to be misguided, misunderstood and we fail to reach out because quite frankly you have no idea how to even begin to express to anyone just how you feel. Your fears and troubles stretch far beyond what you even know and the thought of trying to understand that all ends in frustration and hopelessness. Not a fun place to be ever and so rather than stopping, we run. At least somehow we are seeing some results but even the most elite runners get tired and need to rest sometimes. 

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Or as another translation of this verse says: We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.

How easily we forget that Jesus knows exactly how we we feel. He is the author of our stories, the perfecter of the imperfect. He has gone through life so that we might live. I encourage those of you who feel alone to press into Jesus and with his help continue living. Believing that the good that He has started in your life, He will perfect. Each day you wake up and your two feet hit the floor God has enabled you to live life again. You may have to prove your worth to people, you may have to show your wounds but God has got your back. Be strong and stay strong. The best is yet to come.

You are not forsaken.

-Eunice

I am NOT my hair…part two and closure..

I never envisioned looking myself in the mirror a little over 365 days later, sad that I would be putting my hair away again for the first time in months. If you were to ask me a year ago just how comfortable I was with my au’ natural I would’ve said no, but these days my words and attitude about showcasing my God given hair has changed.

I always joke with some of my friends, that the problem in this world has been the Becky’s from elementary school that bounced around the playground locks flowing in the wind, while my knocked knee ashy self, rocked two intricately imperfect placed pig tails, more like poof balls, on the top of my head. As far back as I can remember, I always wished I had Susie or Becky’s hair. So when I called my dad up freshman year of college in desperation for a blessing to rock my own Becky…I was absolutely thrilled when he said yes, and my life would be changed forever.

That is until I realized how many times my natural hair journey would stop and restart because I did something horribly wrong to mess with my curl pattern. So after cutting my hair short again for about the 3rd time in 2 years, and seeing my sisters hair flourish and watching natural hair video, after natural hair video, I was done. I had enough, and felt God telling me to do something…

365 days without a weave…

Dramatic…I know.

Here is the link to that post:

http://chasingproverbs.tumblr.com/post/58581028381/i-am-not-my-hair

Now…

For me this natural hair decision was incredibly challenging. At the same time I am thankful I took the time to write about the earlier stages of that journey, because without it I wouldn’t have realized how much I’ve grown.

Here are some things I have learned:

1) I don’t need to be Solange Knowles or Beyonce to inspire change…In one year I have watched many of my friends who like me have been natural for some time, rock their natural hair for the first time w/o extensions or weaves. Especially when we all live in environments where people don’t quite understand the struggle, having the support, encouragement, and honest opinion from a “sistah” was and continues to be a blessing.

2) There will always be haters. Welcome them and ignore them… What struck me the most was the various opinions of certain people. There was positive feedback from some, and not so great feedback from others. I really had to develop a certain level of confidence along with doing my best to ignore negative looks and to refrain from reading into what I thought someone may be insinuating by their constant looks at the top of my head. But that’s not to say there weren’t moments where someone was a bit too honest. For instance, I had a student once tell me that they one, did not like my hair the way it was and two I looked better with longer hair.

3) My level of professionalism and my natural hair will always be interconnected somehow…It is crazy how much something as insignificant as hair plays a huge part in how we see each other. Even as my friends and I venture into the professional world, it is interesting how we actually have to engage in conversations about how to wear our hair to interviews or work, and almost 90% of the time the result or consensus is that we are to not wear our natural hair into an interview and opt for a more conservative hairstyle (no curly afros) to the office.

How ironic and interesting it is that after sitting a friend down to tell her that I think the reason she wasn’t getting teaching jobs was because of her current hairstyle, she decided to forgo the Tina Turner lioness wig, straighten her natural hair and pull it up into a sophisticated bun. This was probably her 5th interview to date and a few weeks later after changing her hair, I got word that she landed the very next teaching job she interviewed for.

One could say that this has nothing to do with her hair, but things like this happen often. Yes she was well qualified for each job she interviewed for but I do think there is truth in the fact that her hair change helped. And even if it wasn’t that, I think it goes to show you that hair too many women of color is something that we have to be cautious of, along with everything else in this world we have to be cautious of when it comes to professionalism.

Now a year later… I am convinced that although I am way more confident with my natural hair, this hair thing will be something I will deal with my entire life, and even if not personally, I think there will be plenty of young women of color like myself or maybe even my children that I will have to make an extra effort to tell them just how beautiful their hair is. Luckily for up and coming generations, the natural hair movement is a real thing, and thanks to youtube and other resources, whenever one needs new inspiration, there is so much out there to encourage and help anyone in need.

So what did I learn over the course of a year?

Well…I can say I learned that I have versatility. So whether I am wearing a weave or my natural hair, I can confidently walk into any room or meeting, corporate or not, and look around and say, “I got this, and I am beautiful”. It’s even more encouraging seeing some of my friends embrace their kinky hair these days. I don’t think I would’ve realized how much support existed around me had I not done this. I cherish and recall the kind words of strangers this past year and honestly, it sounds stupid to say this but, I have a greater self-confidence and a greater belief in the beauty that I am.

Call this another open confession, sappy or whatever, but it’s the truth, and I know plenty of women who have found liberation in being all of who they are, even if just for a season.

I turn 25 years of age tomorrow and scrolling through my blog I found this post I wrote a little over a year ago. Feels liberating, and I am proud to say that with the exception of very natural looking looking braid extensions I accomplished my goal of no weaves for a year, and it did in fact work. I’ll be sure to write a new post soon about this journey and what it has taught me!

chasingproverbs:

It has been a very long time since I’ve written much of anything important or personal, but sometimes some folks just say the things we feel internally so much better.

Over the past “few” months there have been hills, valleys, calm seas and ocean storms just depending on the day, season, or hour….

Mornings with Jesus

"The Lord will comfort Israel again and have pity on her ruins. Her desert will blossom like Eden, her barren wilderness like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found there. Songs of thanksgiving will fill the air."

Isaiah 51:3

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3:22-23

It’s a new day. Thank you Jesus.