Lesson #5: Friends & Family
You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them. ~Desmond Tutu
Sometimes our hearts get tangled. And our souls a little off-kilter. Friends and family can set us right. And help guide us back to the light.~Sera Christann
Let me just tell you there is nothing more important than the people God has connected you to. I can really say that after the year I’ve had, that if it had not been for my friends & family, I would be on serious meds and/or in an institute. The late night prayer meetings, skype chats, texts, FB messages, tweets, phone calls, they made all the difference in my surviving this tumultuous journey.
My (immediate) family is comprised of some of the most incredible women I know. My mom, my 2 sisters, and my god mom Ana. I think about the year we have had and I am simply amazed at how we managed to survive this year’s course of events. Aside from my dad passing, we have REALLY faced some challenges this year, things that I cannot even blog about. In areas of love, health, finances, battles of the mind, jobs, relationships, you name it. We have faced SO much this year and came out like pure gold.
I thank God for my mother, I really do. *cue the tears falling* I cannot think of a more incredible woman of God. A woman who single handedly planned her husband funeral from a laptop in the hospital waiting room while the breathing machine was being unplugged. A woman who made sure her husband was buried like a king amongst family, friends, and foes who gave little or no support. A woman who stood in all white to salute her husband being placed into a marble wall. A woman who has kept the faith in the midst of her greatest storms. A woman who has lived day to day believing God despite what it has looked like or how she felt. A woman who has shown herself strong in the midst of wanting to lay in bed all day to mourn the loss of her best friend. To the woman who has shown me that God is real. My mother. I cannot even fully describe in words what it has been to witness my mother persevere through these past 3 years. Before my dad passed it has been a journey. From leaving a six figure job, to moving to a foreign city, to fighting for what she knows is right, to transitioning to a life of retirement, to making major financial decisions on pure faith, to waking up every morning in pure expectation. Nothing has been more rewarding than seeing my mother laugh or smile. It has been a year of the unexpected, but my mother has done nothing but expect the absolute best from God. When I look at her, her journey, her story, her courage, I know God is real.
My sisters have really stood strong. My baby sis has shown me that my efforts have not been in vain. From winning queen of her school, to passing critical tests with flying colors, to making smart choices, to not succumbing to peer pressure, to facing tough challenges with a smile, to watching our daddy go in that marble wall, she’s become such a big girl this year and I am so very, very proud. My middle baby sis has shown that she is not interested in anything but greatness. From vindicating the Mitchell name, to carving her own path, to making sure she keeps our fabulous legacy alive on campus, to dreaming without measure, to understand her purpose, to not allowing the way people treat her dictate who she is to become, she has evolved and I am proud. Nothing has been more rewarding than watching my sisters blossom into incredible little women. I am so blessed to have built in BFFs and riding partners. It’s amazing how we’ve grown up to become such great friends and closer than ever.
Anyone who knows me knows that my family is my core. It is all that I have. I have gotten closer to one of my favorite cousins in the entire world. It’s sad that it takes someone dying for you to get close (or closer) to your family, but it is essential. What amazes me is how family traits and history always seem to flow throughout your family lineage. It is important to know your family’s plight so you don’t repeat the same unnecessary steps. I am grateful for the way things have transpired. When I look at the people I am NOT close within my family, I am not even hurt or disappointed. God just showed me that there will be less people with their hands out when I become a millionaire and very few can take credit.
Sigh….. my friends. What an incredible set of friends I have been given. Whether I have known a person a lifetime or a short time, I have grown to love and know some truly wonderful people. When I faced my greatest challenge this year, I made one phone call and my girl was at my house within moments to cook for my entire family, no questions asked. You would have thought we were having a birthday party. I hadn’t even realized that we were in the midst of planning a funeral because the house was filled with so much love. But that’s just it! With every loss of love or a loved one, God always finds a way to fill that void.
I have learned that it is essential to be transparent on your plight to greatness. It is ok to be a little vulnerable. It is ok to show who you are (just enough, not all of you). It is ok to let your mascara run a little. It is ok to cry and get it all out. It is ok to say you’re sad or having a bad day. It is ok to say you miss someone and genuinely mean it. It is ok to say you love someone and not necessarily be in deep, deep love. It is ok to be just who you are. You never know how a small statement of truth will alter someone’s course. I think it is essential to tell it all so you can move forward. I am at the point in my life where I really don’t care what people think or say. If someone one truly wants to be free, they choose to be. I choose to be me, no matter the cost. At the end of the day, someone wants that same freedom and may be looking to you for guidance.
My blog has been my medicine this year. Well, the cyber world in general. I have connected with some incredible people. From love, to friendship, to support, to just a few simple words, people have been amazing. Sometimes it’s ok to let new people in your life. Actually, it is very necessary. I think when you are raw and open about something you think you’re the one only struggling with, someone will come along your journey to let you know you are not alone. You become the beacon of light for someone else who is struggling with the same issue. You would be surprised at the people I have met, loved, and befriended this year. All in the midst of what I thought was the worst year of my life. These people made this year go smooth. Really. I know it is nobody but God to have me meet these people along my journey.
I have made friends overnight. It’s funny. I am not the multiple “BFF” type of person, but I have truly become more open to befriending people. Not to the point where we are all meeting up for coffee and joining the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, but enough to say, “hey, so and so is cool”. God has connected me to people through tears not necessarily years. It only takes a moment to connect to a great person. If not only for the moment, the purpose has been served.
Speaking of purpose, you cant over think a person’s purpose in your life, eventually they will show you. I truly mean this. I am currently in the process of trying to determine why God connected me to a certain individual. For as quickly as he fell for me, he has fallen completely off the radar. I have no idea why or how, but it has just fizzled. I ask myself, “God why send a new ‘him’ if he has no intentions of staying”. I have cried about it, tried to talk about, and done thinking about it. I cannot allow something to rent that kind of space in my head because the real estate is entirely too expensive. If he wants to stay, he knows how. The sad thing is, when he comes back to where he left me, I may be in a new location. It’s unfortunate, but it’s real.
If God grants you one opportunity, what makes you think He won’t do it again? If He is the provider, what is provided is trivial to Him. So, to think that love won’t find its way back to you is asinine. Nothing is without purpose and timing in your life. For every great thing you experience, another one is ready to find its way to you. Keep believing and know that the cycle must and will continue.
Loving who God has bonded me to and who He sends my way,