So for those of you that don’t know, I started law school a few days ago. Everybody was happy about it & proud of me…except me (pretty important piece missing, huh?). I wasn’t happy about starting law school. I wasn’t excited about one class. I wasn’t looking forward to anything but graduation...which I wouldn’t get without suffering through the first day (and every other day in between). I wasn’t excited about law school for a few reasons. First of all, everybody was giving me horror stories about how terrible it was & how classes would go (apparently, I won't breathe for 3 years). More importantly, I wasn’t looking forward to starting law school because I was behind. I’m at a private institution surrounded by people who are like….5th generation lawyers (literally FIFTH!!!), while I only knew one attorney. While at orientation, people were asking about how to survive the Socratic method, and I was sitting there trying to figure out what that even means, and why it’s so terrible. I felt like everybody around me knew so much more than I did. They sounded sooooo prepared (or at least conscious of what’s ahead). People were asking about things I didn’t even know existed. I didn’t realize until a few days before classes started that I had major reading assignments due the first day (about 80 pages..80!!!). This, of course happens when I don’t have the $1400 to pay for books. On top of the first week being rough because it’s the first week of law school, I have the added burden of preparing to move into my apartment at the end of the week, so I need the resources for that as well. To summarize the tragedy entitled ‘Valencia’s Life After UT’: I haven’t had a coach/mentor throughout this entire “get to law school” journey, so I did a lot of stuff wrong…and late. Therefore, I started out my new journey….feeling like I’m already in last place.
A friend of mine was born and raised in New Orleans. He survived Hurricane Katrina, and later moved to Baton Rouge. From what I know, he has quite the history. He wasn’t born with a silver spoon or anything like that. He didn’t have the easiest childhood, etc. Long story short, he’s the complete opposite of my cute suburban upbringing, ok? He could’ve easily been another statistic or negative stereotype, but instead, he went to Louisiana Tech University, played football, and is now an engineer (A FREAKING ENGINEER!). Now, I can’t tell you exactly what he makes, but I know he makes engineer money (lol). So, I’m always calling him a baller (simply because he can spend more money in one sitting than I may have in my bank account at the time lol). The interesting thing to me is that every time I call him a baller, he responds with something along the lines of “nah, I’m just a dude from the hood”.
On another (slightly unrelated) note, my mom told me she’d let me take my bedroom set and move it into my new apartment to help me save money (quick praise break for a queen sized bed, dresser, and nightstand FOR THE FREE). On my first day back home, I walked in my room, looked at the dresser (that I haven’t actually used in years, and saw that it still filled with books I’d read as a teenager, high school awards, jewelry I’d forgotten about, and the mirror was packed with pictures (yep…I did that lol). That was just on top of the dresser, so we’re not even considering all of the clothes in the drawers that I haven’t worn in God knows how long. Now, I know nothing about moving furniture (my previous apartments were furnished), but in my mind, that old stuff would be dead weight and make it heavier to move. So, I would have to get rid of the old in order to make room for the new. Looking at my dresser made me realize that I need to take the same advice that I've been giving my friend for the past year. I'm at a point in my life where I need to let go of a lot of old stuff in order to move ahead.
Less than 24 hours ago, I felt pretty broken. I felt like I was out of options. And so, I did what I always tend to do when I get frustrated with life, and quite frankly, frustrated with faith: I fussed at God. I told Him that I was confused. I did everything church taught me to do. The faith that I had was completely dedicated to this issue. Three different doors…all shut. Three different opportunities for breakthrough. Three different ways that I saw a way out. THREE. Not one, THREE. Bouncing back after one setback is cool. It’s what I expect myself to do. I’ve been churched enough to throw my rocks like David. I know how to pull on the faith of Abraham. See it before you see it, etc. Cool…got that…but what do you do when EVERY door you thought God was going to use to pull you out of the fire is shut? Like, really God? EVERY door?
This is where I was, so, I fussed at God. Now, this may go against everything that your Big Mama told you about Jesus (because we are not to question the Savior, right? sorry…not sorry), but when I get upset, I get a little…loud with God. Not disrespectful, I’m just the regular “GOD I NEED TO TALK TO YOU” voice that rings up from the earth. I told God that I didn’t get it. I’ve been reading the Bible all of my life, so I know that it says I’m the lender & not the borrower. I know that it says that all things work together for me. I know that it says that whatever I ask in your name shall be done. I know all of that. Not only can I quote it, but God, I can open a bible & show you exactly where it says that. And that’s just the Bible! We haven’t even gotten to the things you said straight to me! Yet here I am. The Lender with the only option of being a borrower. Everything, most specifically time, is working against me. I say “in Jesus’ name after every prayer”…and the response I’ve received is absolutely nothing like what I hoped for. God, I’m done. I don’t know what you expect me to do. I don’t know what there is to do. I told myself that this was all a set up for your glory. You set it up to where I wouldn’t depend on people that said they’d help me. I told myself that this was it. This is the moment. This is the freedom. This is the end of the struggle. This is the day of my miracle!…and I feel like you’ve hit me with a big “ORRRRRR NAAHHHH”. I’m helping all of these people, and nobody’s here to really help me. Nobody really…gets it. I’m watching all of these people get delivered. I’m watching you pull all of these people through.What’s the point of going through this if the end result is something that I was planning to do a year ago anyway? I appreciate you for speaking to me, but why would you tell me that this is going to happen….and let me end up here? God, you’re supposed to do exceeding abundantly. This here? It’s not exceeding or abundant of anything good. Where’s my breakthrough? Where’s my fulfilled promise? Quite frankly, I didn't ask for this. I was comfortable with normal until you promised me greater. Where’s my greater? (I told y’all I was mad)
…and when I stopped sounding off, He started speaking…
Step One (so yall know what I'm talking about), here's Jeremiah 51:25-26:
“Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain, Who destroys all the earth,” says the Lord.
“And I will stretch out My hand against you, Roll you down from the rocks, and make you a burnt mountain. They shall not take from you a stone for a corner nor a stone for a foundation, but you shall be desolate forever,” says the Lord.
When I read this verse, I was beginning to feel like God had forgotten me. I saw multiple friends get new cars, sign leases, get full time jobs, etc. Like, everybody around me is getting blessings on blessings on blessings!!….annnnnd I’m still sitting pretty in this storm. I’m the one that everybody comes to for prayer, and I'm still trying to win the waiting game. I’m still….trying to figure everything out. I’m still…here…trying to remind myself of what God said & that life won’t be a constant struggle. It’s one thing to be in the struggle surrounded by familiar faces. At least then, you know you’re not alone. Life hasn’t singled you out to pick on you. But what about when everybody else is getting their breakthroughs, and everybody else is talking about what’s new…and everybody is holding what you think you need? That’s when it gets very easy (ridiculously easy) to put yourself in a corner & say that the storm wins. (do me…and yourself…a favor: NEVER give in just to get out; it’s never worth it)
It was in the middle all of that, that I randomly stumbled upon this verse. It’s not one that you hear quoted in church a lot, but it helped me, so hopefully it’ll help you…
Sometimes when we're going through storms, it gets easy to believe that God has either completely forgotten that we’re waiting on Him (like a child left in Walmart) OR that He’s stopped fighting the devil and turned to hit us with a 1-2 combo (or 3). It also gets a lot easier when we don’t even know what life was like before the storm started. I know that feeling...all too well. I know what it’s like to feel forgotten. I know what it’s like to have to be your own “faith support”. I know how it feels to wonder if God is fighting your enemies, or if He’s fighting you. I also know what it means to read Jer. 51:25-26 and realize how wrong we were.
Words from the Author
At the end of the day, these posts are the thoughts that run through my mind. These are the lessons I've learned. The doors that I've walked through. The path I've chosen. This is part of what it means to be me. Hopefully, it'll help you be...you. Let's grow together, kay?
Within the first year, Church Decoded was viewed over 15,000 times! FIF...TEEN....THOUSAND!....IN A YEAR! I am SO grateful to everybody that has ever read, shared, and/or liked a blog post. Ya'll have truly blown my mind. Let's keep telling (our lives) His story!