Hope Is Painful

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…But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 

That scripture convicts me to think bigger and increase my willingness to believe in what I haven’t seen. But can we just take a second and be real about how painful it can be to have hope?

Have you ever wanted a job really badly? You feel like it’s yours so you share it with a friend? Then you don’t get it. So then you find another one and the excitement comes back, but you don’t get that one either. So next time you keep it to yourself so that your hopes aren’t up and you can take your loss quietly.

Have you ever wanted to see someone be healed from a life destroying disease? You pray for them. You pray for healing. You continue to watch them suffer. You pray harder because you have hope. Then, it gets to the point where you see that it’s not getting better. Against all logic, you press beyond the cognitive dissonance and you continue to have hope. You see them hurting and realize that they need and want rest, but you continue to believe. The hope helps your mind rest, but makes your heart ache because your heart acknowledges the reality.

Have you ever decided to open your heart to someone new only to find that they’re gonna break it too? Part of you wants to try again, but the other part just wants to admit that having hope sets you up for disappointment.

After so much hurt and disappointment, life teaches us to be pessimistic or unmoved so that the bad doesn’t damage and the good comes as a total surprise. But I just want to say that no matter how much it hurts, have hope. Believe only the best things are coming for you and your people. Somebody has to see the glass half full. If you can recall the hurt that all the above situations caused, you can also recall life going on and eventually getting better after them.

Hurt happens. So does healing. Keep hoping for the best.

OhCAE?

He Is Listening

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In high school I was very depressed but I kept it a secret. So I secretly cried many nights and that was my only relief.When I got to college, I got saved and everything changed for me. One day I was sitting at my desk in my dorm and out of nowhere I could feel the same overwhelming sadness come over me and I almost cried but I stopped and reminded myself that I am new. 

I wasn’t sure what the appropriate response was, but I opened up a New Testament Bible (with Psalms & Proverbs) that was on the desk and randomly flipped it open and I read the first scripture I landed on. It said “Why am I discouraged? Why am I restless? I trust you! And I will praise you again because you help me, and you are my God.” (Psalms 42:11 CEV)

That was the first time in my life that I REALLY believed that God heard and listened to my silent cries because He said to me exactly what I needed to hear in that very dark moment. All I had to do was turn to Him (His Word). 

I’m grateful that God reminds me of that moment from time to time because when life gets difficult some days I can’t help but wonder where God is when I can’t perceive Him. But I’d like to encourage every reader by letting you know that God knows and sees all and He is concerned about you.

  

Not *JUST* One, Just… One

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single

A friend of mine offered to give me tickets to a game before.
She offered to give ME ticketS to a game.

A couple years ago I won a contest. I sent in my application. People voted for me. After voting results came in I was given TWO passes to a festival.

When I was a kid, my friend called the radio station at the perfect moment and she won a PAIR of tickets to a concert.

I thought about all these instances recently because I have been trying to figure out why is that when I go to restaurants I get the strangest looks when I request a table for one. “JUST one?” they ask. “Yes,” I reply with a gentle smile. “YES!! Isn’t that what I said?Why is that so difficult? I’m only one person. Can’t I go eat by myself?” I scream in my head.

outside inside(google didn’t have a better picture conveying happy on the outside, irritated on the inside but anyway…)

I guess it’s not so weird when I consider the fact that our world clearly expects us to come in pairs. I think that’s why we see so many people who battle sadness and depression that is brought on by the fact that they are *cringe* single ESPECIALLY as they get older.

This year I turned 25. Someone called me on my birthday and said “Wow, 25 huh? You’re about to have a Master’s. You have a good job and you’re living on your own. You go to church. Now, all you need is a man.” #SideEye

single-woman

Why do we accept a world that tells us that we are not enough alone? Think about some of the language we use to talk about significant others. “Other Half” is my newest favorite. That basically communicates that at my very best, until I am in a relationship with someone else, I can only be HALF of who I really am. Um… whet? It took a while for me to realize it, but truly I’m a pretty awesome person, by myself.

Starting from my childhood days, I’ve been Claricha and somebody else. I’ve always had cousins and friends by my side in every social situation. It was great, but I’m learning to get used to being by myself and still being happy about it. There are plenty benefits to being by myself and dating myself. I always want to eat what I want to eat. I always want to see the movies that I want to see. I only want to go where I want to go. I only stay as long as I want to stay. Honestly, it’s a pretty good set up.

So, no hostess at my favorite restaurant not JUST one, just… one.

Poker face

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I basically taught myself how to play the drums when I was nine. I watched other drummers and applied their techniques. I struggled with the same thing most drummers struggle with, keeping the tempo. The organist at my church would tap on the organ to help me out. Then his taps got louder. Then he started banging on the organ until one day I did what all hurting kids do when they get unjustly embarrassed. I cried.

My daddy called him to talk to him about how he’d treated me. All the women who saw what happened told me not to let him get to me because I was doing a great job. All the women except for my auntie. She made it clear that she was very disappointed in me because “No matter what, you never let anybody see you cry.” I can still see her face.

I took that and unknowingly adopted it as a part of who I am. I hardened myself over the years. I went from being the girl who’d cry at any emotional time to the girl who didn’t have feelings. And I wore the didn’t have feelings badge so proudly. That is until I got to a place where I felt my feelings had been irreparably hurt. I couldn’t hide it. I couldn’t shrug it off. I had to feel them.

Last night, I dreamt I wrote a poem. Here it goes…

For all those years of holding it in
For pretending I was unfazed cuz I didn’t win
For being teased for being fat
For being jealous of the girls who were all that

For being ostracized because I was a girl drummer
For feeling like I was too big to wear shorts in the summer
For being annoyed because I felt so tall
For playing down my achievements so others wouldn’t feel small

For telling myself I’m not pretty enough
For allowing my wit to make me appear tough
For beating myself up for having the urge to whine
For all the times I gave up without trying.

Sorry Auntie, believe me I really really tried.
But life has been so hard on me and after holding it in for so long
Today, I cried.

And I’m letting everybody see.
And I’m not weak. I’m me.
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I have learned that one of the greatest signs of strength is being strong enough to admit that sometimes I get weak.

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Little Girl, Are You Listening?

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(This is an old blog from 2012.)

One day, I was in the car with my sister and brother (Tan and Tyrone). Ty had just bought an old Mary Mary CD (Incredible) so we were listening to it during our ride. There’s a song on it entitled “Little Girl”. It’s a song that’s supposed to encourage young teenage girls to see their beauty and love it. As it played, I closed my eyes and envisioned my 13 year old self and inwardly I apologized to her for ignoring her feelings and making her pretend to be perfect and unmoved by her life.
I told her I was sorry for not giving her the chance to love the 200 lb body she had. I reminded her that she’s pretty even with all the acne. And I told her that even if none of the boys at school wanted to be her boyfriend, she’s still pretty and an amazing person who deserves to be treasured.
I actually shed a tear when I saw her response to the final thing I told her. I simply said, “I understand completely. I see through the façade and I care about the real you.”
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The picture that came to my mind was of me at my 13th birthday party. As my 23rd birthday is nearing I have decided to deal with the issues I’ve buried for so long. Like many girls, I dealt with a lot of body image problems. However, I never felt like I had the platform to discuss it with anyone bc I thought they couldn’t understand. I wouldn’t even admit to myself that I was bothered. I decided to focus on my good characteristics. I capitalized on the fact that I excelled in school. I completely ignored my emotions, publicly. But as a teenager, many nights I cried myself to sleep. I was so displeased with my life and I didn’t want to taint my image so I kept it to myself.
Now, I’m wise enough to know that that was just a tactic of the devil to isolate me and make me feel like no one was invested in me. But as miserable as I was, I don’t regret one tear filled night. 10 years later, I have a testimony and a great appreciation for every woe.

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I encourage you to acknowledge your past hurts. Reconcile with your inner child and be healed, in Jesus’s name.