Wednesday, January 25, 2017

I have to do, what?!

I remember constantly being reminded by Christian television shows, sermons, and even the Bible that it's a woman's job to submit to her husband. Now, I don't know about you, but after being raised for nineteen years of my life by a single mother, and never really seeing her submit to anyone; submission is almost a foreign language in my life. I'm not quite sure when my hate for submission happened, but I'm pretty sure it happened when I was growing up; seeing my mother not have to answer to anyone. For me, her freedom was liberating; but I'm sure for her, that her "freedom" was a prison.

It's easy to look at submission as a "prison", especially if we haven't done the research to actually understand what submission is. 
Before we can even imagine submitting to our husbands (speaking in future terms for myself!), our first job is to submit to God. 1Peter 2:13 says "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.". This scripture even instructs us to submit...but to the Lord. 

Why is submission so important?
Well, when we give ourselves over completely to God, amazing things happen. 
The very decision that kept you awake all night becomes easier to make. 
The argument that you had with your boyfriend, reveals things that you had been searching for.
And overall, the voice that you have been praying to hear is finally heard!

Don't you see? Submission is not a prison, but an opportunity to be led to better and greater things; that maybe you would not have been able to see if you were making those decisions for yourself. 

Yes. I know what you're still thinking:
Submitting to God, one without fault or mistake is a lot easier than submitting to someone who may be full of mistakes.

I agree. It is. It's also scarier. I was dating a guy once that I really felt was the one for me. I was excited to finally meet a guy that was funny, loving, and just nice to be around. After two months of dating, I called a friend and began gushing about this guy who I was head over heels in love with. Immediately, my friend asked,
"Have you prayed about this?".

Well, the answer to that question was "no". I refused to pray about this guy, because I was terrified that God would tell me that he wasn't the one for me...
And sure enough, that's what God said.
I later called the guy, and explained that we shouldn't see each other anymore.
When he asked, "why?", I honestly believe that God spoke through me, 
"I can't submit to you, because I don't trust your leadership!".

It was true.
I didn't trust his leadership. I didn't trust where he was going, let alone did I trust to walk the path he was still struggling to find. Submitting to that was impossible. I could'nt do it. I refused to do it. 
And I'm happy that God didn't allow me to do that. 

So, stop hating submission. 
In Christ, its easier to submit...

And perhaps the reason that you are so afraid to submit to your (future) husband, or even to God is because you don't trust the leadership.
Lay all your worries and fears at His feet, and I promise that submission will be your best friend!

New Year, new content.

Hello, 11:11 readers!
I know that I have been M.I.A for about a year, but I'm back. I'm going to be doing my best to continue to bring back amazing God filled content that will hopefully bring us all closer to God, as well as another way to link together in our purpose. Many things have changed in my life, I'm sure as they have in yours...

But, in the last year, I have and am still overcoming my depression (as mentioned in one of my earlier posts). I don't want to misinform anyone that depression is something that can be wiped away in a couple of weeks or even in a takes time! But eventually, everything comes together, and you learn not only things about yourself, but triggers that may set you off. You learn things and new ways to never return back to that dark, empty place that your titled as 'home",

I really wanted to just say hello to you faithful viewers, and I am really believing God that this will be the year that 11:11 reaches out to more people, and gives a voice to those that feel silenced.

I hope you all are having a great new year,
And I'm looking forward to growing and hearing from you.

This year,  I will hopefully be looking for guest bloggers as well as those who would like to collaborate in writing.

Please feel free to email me with any questions, or anything that you all would like to see written at:

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Living In My Dark Tunnel

Imagine washing your hands and discovering a papercut on your finger.
Better yet, think about the time you experienced a migraine, and as you needed life to stop in motion for a while; it continued on fast and loud as usual.

"How does it feel?", she asked. 
"It feels like Im in a tunnel searching for a light that everyone else has.", I replied. 

To me, that was my definite answer to describing depression. I secretly have battled depression on and off for the past six years. Now that I think about it, I don't know if I had a name for it at 21. I just knew that some days I could mask my emotions alot better than others; while on other days I had to convince myself to get out of bed. 

I remember the days leading to my 25th birthday. I, along with coworkers planned to go out and have dinner to celebrate my arrival to a new age. I was so excited. I had just moved to this city about 6 months before and couldn't imagine a better way to turn 25 than getting dolled up and going out. Instead,the morning of my birthday, I sent a mass text canceling the events due to "not feeling well.". In my defense, I didn't feel well. Granted,my stomach wasn't hurting, and I wasn't experiencing a migraine; but I was 25 living alone, with no husband, boyfriend, or kids. That in itself made me ill. 

I answered my phone once. My grandmother called to sing her traditional "Happy Birthday" song,that I often looked forward to. This birthday, I couldn't even put a smile on my face when I heard her sing.   Immediately after she finished singing, I rushed off the phone in fear that she would be able to tell that something just wasn't right. Her call was the only one I answered. My cousin, even concerned stopped by my apartment to check on me. Covered up in a blanket, I met her at the door saying, "Im ok,I just don't feel well."

And that was that. 
Episodes like that, weren't uncommon; but I still didn't understand why I couldn't find my light for my dark tunnel. 

I wanted to experience life like everyone else, but I couldn't. Anytime, I tried mention how I felt, it was brushed off by titling it a bad day. Thats the thing...
my bad days were becoming more like bad months. 
I just still couldnt understand why this was MY life. 
I even went back to my lifestyle of praying, but that didn't even seem to help! 
On a daily basis, flawed and all I tell people about Christ and how amazing it is to know him; whether by having conversation with strangers, or by my social networks--
but it became a little difficult to believe what I was preaching the more and more dealt with this monster of depression.  

In April 2015, I hit rock bottom. This monster was going to win, and I just couldn't fight it anymore. I didn't want alot. I didn't crave a relationship with people anymore. I didn't care to make anyone laugh,  because I could no longer even make myself smile. Walking up and down my stairs became more difficult to do with my aching bones, and eating became nonexistent. I attempted to talk to family about it, but in return I would get the standard "You have so much to be grateful speech." as if I wasn't aware.  For me, thats what made the fall to rock bottom hit alot harder. 

I knew I had alot to be grateful for, but yet...I wasn't fufilled.
One night, as I was driving back home, I found myself passing by several 18 wheeler trucks. One after another, I passed them and thought to myself , "This is how I can end this...".

I pulled over on the side of the road with emergency lights on,and just sat. I remember screaming to God,"I believe in You! I know I wasn't created to feel like this! Fix me!! Im tired, and I don't know what to do..."

I knew if I didn't get help, this monster that I was battling would win. So, I sought counsel. 
After, sending a mass text to my close family and friends explaining what I was dealing with; talking to my godmother  about counselors, and spending countless days just wanting to find my light in this dark tunnel that had become my life;I started doing my work.

For me, doing the work included, finding some way to crawl out of this dark tunnel that had swallowed me whole. I got people involved, I continued (and still continue) my sessions, and I kept moving forward.

Despite, any bad day or set back, I had to learn my triggers and find some way to work past them.
Depression for everyone is not the same. Some people will work better with medication, while others will work better with just talking to someone. Either way, you are not in this alone. Depression is a beast! Even though some may view it as something that can be controlled, its not.

While at rock bottom, a church member Mrs. Daisy told me, "This has nothing to do with you! The enemy is trying to cut you off at the root so you are can't produce good fruit. Don't let him.".

So, to those secretly living in pain, in that dark tunnel without a light...
Im praying for you!

You're not in this alone!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

My life as Fall

"The trees are about to show us, how lovely it is to let the dead things go."
My favorite time of the year is Fall. During this time in the midst of the football games, and the seasonal clothing change; the weather seems to get to the perfect temperature. This particular season not only causes us to change our choices in clothes, hair color, and makeup; but the world tends to get a makeover as well. The trees that once held leaves, no longer can; and are forced to release something they once held onto so tightly to before. Whats even more interesting, is that before the leaves are released, they change. 
Before they fall, the leaves that we become so use to, change from green to an array of different vibrant colors. 
Who would have known that the process of letting go, could be so beautiful?

Just like Fall, we all reach a point in our lives where with changes, we have to let things go. Sometimes, that old relationship that was so fufilling seems to die. We tend to change more than just our hair, makeup, and clothing selection, but instead we change entirely. What was once "just ok" to deal with, no longer is worth it anymore. We are ready to let these dead situations go, but yet we tend to hold on to them; despite how life is forcing us to just release them. 

Its tough, beautiful.
 Its really hard to say "goodbye" to any situation or person; no matter how much pain you were enduring to continue to cling on to them. 
But you want to know a secret?

It gets better. 
Just like those once green trees, you too will transform and have to let some dead things go; to grow, and to make room for something new. Our lives, the older we get, become more and more like the seasons. We go through these life altering changes that are scary and even dreadful at times, for us to not only depend on ourselves, but depend God. 

Again beautiful, its tough. 
But it does in fact get better. 

Just like Fall, this season of your life too will end. 
But not before you let the very things that you are clinging go. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Single Season

 Like many, I have experienced the single season. The single season, consists of a season where you just can't "get it right" in the relationship department. After many attempts (and I do mean many), you can't help but feel that you may have a sign permanently nailed to your forehead reading "undateable". But I can promise you this..that sign isn't real. I promise that you don't have a sign on your forehead, and that you are worthy enough to one day be in a successful, fulfilling relationship. I know how frustrating this season can be, but understand that just like all seasons, you HAVE to learn a couple of things before being promoted to the next. 

When I was younger, my goal was to be married by the time I was 19 (thank God, only He knows best). Every year after turning 19, I beat myself up over not being married. Even after one or two serious relationships, I found myself always frustrated with the fact that I was always single. I wanted to go on dates, and have long conversations with the opposite sex. I wanted to be reminded how pretty I was on a daily basis, just like many of my friends were...
but that didn't happen.

In my 26th year, I learned a few things while being single, and to be honest, these lessons made the single season worth every moment. 

Lesson 1:
Just because you don't have a particular person always reminding you how attractive you are, doesn't mean you aren't.
I always found myself struggling with finding myself attractive. Unlike most of my peers, I didn't have a boyfriend telling me how gorgeous I was, so I had to learn to do it myself. I had to learn to wake up every morning and find something new to love about myself, and remind myself that this was something to love. Not only by myself, but by many. 

Lesson 2:
Being single is NOT a life sentence. 
I know how long this season can feel. I know how it feels to always think "eventually, my appointed one will come along....". And guess what? Eventually, they will. Right now you are in hiding. God has put you aside to work on you before He brings forth your appointed one. This step is the most important one to understand in the single season. Just because you don't have people flocking to you left and right, doesn't mean that you will forever be single. Stop speaking that over your life too. God not only wants us to trust Him in what He's doing in our lives, but He still wants us to speak life over our lives as well. This season will end, and you will be better because of it.

Lesson 3:
Settling is NEVER an option.
Stop. I repeat. Stop settling. No matter what the world tells you to do, sometimes you have to become deaf to its advice. According to many, I remained in the single season, because I refused to settle. After years of listening to that advice, I finally took it. It was the worst decision ever made in my life. I had always said that I didn't want to have sex before marriage, and yet the world had advised me that I would have to, in order to end this single season. They said that I would have to be ok with being cheated on, and even date those that I just didn't find attractive in order for this season to come to an end. After taking the advice of the world, the only thing that came to an end was me. I lost who  I was completely, trying to settle for less than what God had in store for me. Just because the world tells you that you have to settle to be happy, doesn't mean that you do. Remember this:
"When we settle, we are telling God we are just not patient enough for what He has in store for us."

Lesson 4:
It's ok to be alone.
I have always hated being alone. My brother and I are 14 months apart, so I like to think that I was born to not be alone. After moving away for the first time when I was 24, I spent many nights crying because I was alone. I was in a new city with no dating prospects or even familiar faces, and I was miserable because of it. I found the constant reminder of "enjoy this time" from my cousins. They have been together since college, and even after starting a family, they both gave me the constant speech of pacing myself, and not being in a rush to not be alone. It took time for me to finally enjoy this time of being alone. The moment I finally realized what being alone was, I regretted ever fearing it. This time was all about me getting to know myself, and enjoying my own company. I always looked at being in a relationship as a cure for being alone...when in reality, its only a diversion. 

Lesson 5:
It's ok to want to be in love.
The most amazing thing happens when you meet the one that is meant for you. You fall in love.  I just wanted to be in love, and for most part, I just wanted someone to love me. And to be honest, I was sick and tired of everyone telling me that I was wrong for wanting to feel this way. I wasn't wrong, I was human. From birth, babies cry; sometimes wanting to be fed, changed, and many times just wanting to be held. I wasn't some pathetic hopeless romantic; I was human. It was ok for me to want to have someone to conquer the world with me. It was ok for me to want someone by my side when I did the impossible. And it was even ok for me to want someone to be my shoulder to cry on when life kicked me down. 

We have got to stop telling ourselves that this single season is a punishment, or life sentence. Instead, we have to learn from this season, and grow because of it. 

My dear singles, this isn't your destination, just a visiting place for you. Keep going. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

I had to fail

"Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go, just remember how far you have come. Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won, and all the fears you have overcome." -unknown

I remember the summer after my freshman year in college. After a rough first year of adjusting to college, I made the decision to quit school. It just wasn't for me, and I was tired of wasting my time. Before going to my mother with my decision, I went to my older cousin. At this time, he had started his second year of teaching and coaching football at our high school; and I figured that he would understand the struggle of not wanting to return back to this "hell hole" named college. 
"I don't think I want to go back.", I said. 

His face showed no expression, and his tone showed no emotion, when he asked "Why?".  For about  15 minutes, I went on and on about how hard the classes were, how I felt so out of place, and how after struggling through the first year, I refused to fail at something everyone expected me to do so well at. I told him that college was just not the place for me. I was a free spirit. 
Free spirits like myself didn't belong in a cage like college, but belonged floating around the world discovering their purpose. 

Still with no emotion, and almost "Bill Cosby" like, he told me how full of crap I was. He refused to entertain the thought that me being a "free spirit" was the only thing that was going to stop me from getting my degree. He knew, just as much as I knew, that I was afraid to fail. This conversation between the two of us went on for hours on end, and he ended it with;
"You know, if you're scared to fail, you'll never succeed."

What in the heck was that supposed to mean? After quitting school, I worked here and there, never really feeling fulfilled by anything; and throughout the years, he would remind me through conversations, how I would never succeed, being afraid to fail. I didn't get it. I mean, I heard of many prerequisites for success; but I couldn't recall hearing that failure was one of them. 

After two years of working non stop at jobs that led to only dead ends of self discovery, I was left unemployed for the first time in about five years. I remember calling my mom upset, asking "What am I going to do?!?!". The first question my mother asked was, "Have you registered for your classes?". So that is what I did. The next day, I returned back to the "hell hole" I once feared, and registered for classes. For one year, I did not work. ANYWHERE. I applied for places, but did not get 1 interview in an entire year!

I had failed. Although, I was now back in school and doing exceptionally well; I was left with no vehicle and no money (other than the couple of dollars I earned writing papers for my lazy classmates). Often times, I would hear how lazy I was during this time from family members, and oddly during this time, my cousin was often present saying "This is all apart of the process...keep going."  How backwards was this?!? I just wanted to work, earn money, and find my purpose... how was being in school getting me any closer to my success?

A year after I returned to school, and even made up two school years, in one (yes, I was about that business) I got a job at a local bank, where I stayed at for 2 years. Throughout that time, I often found myself wanting more and wanting to know what else was out there?  I went to some and expressed how I wanted to move away from home. I mean, after being in the same place for the last 23 years, I think I deserved to move away and see what else the world had to offer. But I would constantly hear "You're crazy! Why do you want to move?"
"What happens if you move away and fail?"
and I even heard the comebacks of:
"You're going to fail."
"When you fail, I'm going to remind you how you should have listened to me!".

How discouraging is that?!? But eventually, I braved up. I took the advice of my cousin, and moved three hours away. Thankfully, I accepted a job at another bank which located me to the very same city my cousin and his family had just moved to. With much excitement of the new change, I was sure I had hit my destination of success. After living with my cousin and his family for 6 months, I signed the lease to my first apartment. Now, don't get me wrong. The experience in this city was not what I expected. I had high hopes of meeting and making new friends, finding a husband, and being able to "cheat" the idea of having to fail in order to succeed; but that's not how it worked out. I made no new friends outside of the few from work,  the dating pool did not have a high selection of candidates, and I often considered myself a failure when it came to where I was in life.

But that's exactly what I needed.
After spending well over a year in this city, I accepted a position in a city only 2 hours away from home...
And this is where it hit me:
I was no longer allowing the fear of failure to hold me back. No matter what, I refused to allow the cruel words of those who had no faith in me keep me away from where I needed to go.

I often look back over the last couple of years, and I can't help but smile at my progress. I've failed, several times. The ideas that I've had, and plans that I've set forth, haven't always led to the correct destination; but through every set back, I haven't remained the same. Go out. Do things that you've never done. Fail a couple of times. And from each failure that you run into, you will soon see that you haven't failed at all, but that you've only taken a step closer to your success.

My prayer for you 11:11 readers, is that you will no longer be afraid to stumble. You will walk bravely across unfamiliar territory and make a believer out of yourself! Proving others wrong is not always the goal, many times, its proving ourselves wrong.

Don't be afraid to fail.
I promise, you'll be better for it. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Dear Son,

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Dear Son,

Although you're far from present, you're often thought about. As your mother, I know that I'm  obligated to protect you from many things; but unfortunately, some things not even I or your father can keep you away from. This day and age for men like yourself is dangerous. Unfortunately, no matter how many degrees you get, how loved you are, and how valuable you are to the world, some people will forever look at you as a mere target. To many ignorant people, you will be considered dangerous, a threat, and deserving of mistreatment just based on the color of your skin.

Dear Son,
Love and respect them regardless. Don't form any opinion on any race, sex, religion based on bad experiences. Everyone is not the same. 

My prayer for you love, is that you understand that despite of what the world says you are, you're worth so much more. I know that you'll make mistakes, and I know that your father and I will mistakenly TRY to define you by your mistakes...BUT DON'T YOU DARE LET US! Or anyone else for that matter. It's so easy to judge others mistakes, when we have by God's grace and mercy been able to avoid making them. But my King, these mistakes are only stepping stones to get you closer to the path God has prepared for you. Let Him continue to work not only IN you, but through you.

Dear Son,
You will meet a girl one day, and I'm sorry to say this, but I will be jealous of not just her...but of them all! Forgive me. Your dad and I will have talks for hours about me being too overprotective of you, but my's not just you that I'm overprotective of... it's also your heart. Treat not just your wife, like a queen; but EVERY woman you encounter. Pray for her, dear son. Love her. Lead her. Respect her. Yes, I know, praying for her may not be the most popular, but you HAVE to understand, that being a leader at times requires you to do whats not considered popular at all times. 

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Dear Son,
Like I said before, I will be jealous of her. But, I will NOT tolerate you ever disrespecting her. No, I'm not taking her side.
But I do remember the many tears I shed over men who didn't treat or love me correctly. I can still feel the heartbreak from my first relationship, and even the embarrassment of staying around men who were just no good for me. Son, those tears are real. Don't take them lightly. I know that you hate seeing me cry (even though I know by now, you've learned I'm a cry baby), so learn to hate seeing her cry too..
and do your best to not make her. 

Dear Son,
Read books. Play Sports. Travel. Have Fun. 
I know that your dad is constantly having talks with you, leading you to your manhood, but my King, understand that he not only wants you to be a man, he hates to see you grow up. I'll do my best to remind him that you're just a child..

Dear Son,
although you are just a child, you are a child that will grow into a black man; and making sure that you grow into that role properly and successfully, your dad will not rest until that is done. We will mention names like, Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin, and Mike Brown; and the older you get, and the more you hear these stories about these black men you will understand your dad more.  He's not meaning to be too hard on you, he just loves you; and yes I love you too, but I just don't think I can love you quite like he does. Its different my King. A dad's love is so strong, while at times a mom's love can be soft. You'll understand more when you have your first son, and even your first daughter. 

Dear Son,
You are so worthy. God says so. Follow Him, and when you're terrified to come to us, go to Him. You will never understand just how much He loves you, until you go to Him needing EVERYTHING, while having NOTHING to offer...
and yet, He loves you just the same. 
Pray, dear son. 
Keep your focus on Him, and I promise you that He will lead you to places you could never imagine your feet would touch. 
He is God, and He's so real!
Trust me. 

Dear Son, 
The world will forever try to label you, and I know how frustrating this may be. Keep a heart of God, forgiveness like Him too, and I guarantee that the weapons will be formed, but they just won't prosper. 
You are an heir to the throne. You are not just a black king...but a king!

remember that, dear son.