Encourage Yourself

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Unlike my relocation to Philadelphia, my move to the DMV did not go as planned. And it is probably safe to say that the move was not God’s will……at that time. But Romans 8:28 reminds me that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose.
I had the tedious task of packing up my parents apartment. My parents…..no correction…..my mother had a lot of stuff!!! I joke and say they left me to clean out their apartment because they didn’t want to. Cleaning out their apartment was tedious but fun. I found items that brought back memories. I laughed often while packing their apartment. But there were also moments I cried.

I am grateful to the property manager of my parents apartment complex. She was very understanding and gracious and allowed me to stay there for three months. But the day had come and I was headed to Washington DC. I was excited about moving to the DMV! I wanted to settle in the area so I was really hoping that God made this work for me.

I moved in with a friend. He was leaving soon for military duty so the plan was while he was away, I would house sit. It was a fool proof plan. I would look for employment and by the time he returned the following year, I would be ready to move into my apartment. Turns out I was the fool with “my plan.” It is said if you want to make God laugh tell him your plans. He was laughing hysterically at me.

I spent my days searching for employment. I was desperate. I had no money and I needed to work. Each day I sent out 10-15 resumes. Initially I was choosey about the jobs I applied to. But as time went on I became even more desperate and started applying everywhere. I applied to Walmart, Target, McDonalds; anywhere that had a We Are Hiring sign, I applied. But no one was calling me for interviews. I knew it was bad when McDonald’s did not call. Every day I struggled with trusting God. Every day I struggled with my faith. But every day I reminded myself of the promises of God:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” ~ Romans 8:28

“Now faith is the substance of those things hoped for and the evidence of those things not yet seen.” ~ Hebrews 11:1-2

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:6-7

Day in and day out I encouraged myself in the promises of God. Some days were better than others but every day I dwelled more and more in the peace of God.

One day I was having a bad day. I was feeling sorry for myself. I was discouraged and struggling to believe that things would turn around for me. I was praying and crying when suddenly I stopped crying. Instantly the tears stopped and I felt an amazing sense of peace come over me that I had never felt before. It was as though God wrapped his arms around me and held me. My body relaxed. The tears stopped. And I felt calm, renewed, strengthened, as though I could go on another day. It was in that moment that I learned of the peace of God which surpasses all understanding.

Time marched on and still no leads. I was getting calls for interviews and even had second interviews; but no offers of employment. I continued to encourage myself in the word of God and in song. Three months after arriving in Washington DC my friend learns that he would not be deployed. A month after that he tells me he was ready to have his home back. I had to leave? Where was I going? I had no job. I had no money. I had nothing….literally. I was what I coined as borderline homeless because I also had no place to call my own. There are storms and then there are “Perfect Storms” and I was in the eye of my perfect storm.

The crying continued. I longed for my mother. I needed her to hold me. I needed to hear her say, “It’s going to be ok baby.” I needed her. She would know what to do. But she was gone. I had no one. I was alone. “WHY DID YOU TAKE MY MOTHER GOD?!!!! WHY?!!! And God said, “because I needed to teach you to trust me and live by faith, and if she were alive you would not learn what I am trying to teach you.” That was such an aha moment for me. I thought about it for a moment and then said, “So now what God?”

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” ~ Psalm 121:1-2

But while I was looking to the hills, I was also looking at my friend to fill my emotional needs. I was looking to him to make me happy. I was looking to him to make me feel better about myself. But I heard God say….

“I AM in your life!”

“I AM the one who gives you joy!”

“I AM the one who loves you.”

“I AM your provider!”

“I AM the one who died for you!”

God was also teaching me not to look to anyone else to do what only God could do in my life. Only God is able to fill the void in my life. God is………

I had to move but where was I going? I had options; Florida, Hawaii, or back to Philadelphia. I weighed the pros and cons; packed up my car; said goodbye to my friend; and headed back to Philadelphia. I wasn’t clear what my next move was, but I believed……

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About Shannon D. Robinson

Shannon Robinson Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland (Go Ravens!!!), I discovered early on that I am very opinionated and passionate about my opinions. This has brought on the realization for me that I think differently from most people and it took some time for me to come to grips with that unique side of me. Writing for me is often an escape. A place I can go with my thoughts and opinions and not have to concern myself with offending anyone or not agreeing with someone. My thoughts and opinions are mine and God’s and I know that He doesn’t judge me on them. My writing is a personal journey that allows me to be transparent with self (and sometimes others) as I believe that nothing I have experienced or gone through on this journey called life was meant for me to keep to myself. Somewhere there is another woman who is experiencing or has experienced the very same things, thoughts, and feelings I have and it is my prayer that my story in some small way helps her to see that she too can come through. While at the same time giving God glory for his wondrous works. I appreciate you for stopping by and sharing in my journey as I try my absolute best to navigate it as smoothly as possible; even when I come across detours and bumps along the way. ~ Hotep

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