10 Months of Change

Change isn’t easy. I have been leaning into this change and thus been on a blogging hiatus. Now, I will catch everyone up on the past 10 months of life.

That one time I had two weeks to pack up my life and convinced my brother to dive my U-Haul to Austin.
That one time I had two weeks to pack up my life and convinced my brother to dive my U-Haul to Austin.

10 Months ago I moved to Austin with only two weeks notice to pack up my belongings and say goodbye to the people who have loved me so well. I had no expectations for moving or what would come my way. I just said “YES”. This “yes” has quite simply changed my life.

While in Austin, I’ve done everything I have never done before.

  1. I moved in with strangers and lived with them for two months. Thankfully they are not strangers anymore, they are friends and I am forever grateful for their kindness.
  2. I moved into an apartment with a friend of a friend who I met once. She turned out to be a wonderful roommate and person to live with.
  3. I only know one family here in Austin. No other friends.
  4. New job. New co-workers. New foster families.

I would love to say that following Jesus’ plan for me to move here was easy, but it wasn’t. I wasn’t prepared to be the one of the few black faces in a white place (Austin is 8% African-American, yep-you read right), I wasn’t prepared for the homesickness, the longing for my friends, missing my family, hard work days, and tearful nights wondering if I made the right decision. Stepping out to do something new is not easy. I have had to fight through the lonely moments because I know I’m supposed to be here. Trust me, I have tried to bail out and hightail it to Houston in anyway possible. One main thing I have learned here is consistency and trust.

Let me tell you, it hasn’t been easy but Jesus has blessed me with an amazing community of women and friends. They have loved me so well and I have such an amazing small group.

Pictures are worth a thousand words and these few images represent how good life has been over the past few months. There are so many people who have made Austin home and I only have a fraction of the pictures to represent who they are. The bible studies, small groups, BTB group, dinners, birthdays, and much more have made Austin so inviting. I have the best church, filled with the most loving and genuine people on earth. The joy I have today, trumps every hard tear-filled day since I have moved here. God bless my saint of a mother who listened to me cry and want to give up and encouraged me to stay put and push through, because life is hard sometimes (also, I am dramatic…) but God is good.

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ANC youth. Hands down, some of the coolest students in Austin.
ANC youth. Hands down, some of the coolest students in Austin.
Thanks to our small group, we met and now we are going to be roommates :)
Thanks to our small group, we met and now we are going to be roommates 🙂
Jada. My little love.
Jada. My little love.
This woman has been a strength and joy to me. Tasha, thanks for believing in me.
This woman has been a strength and joy to me. Tasha, thanks for believing in me.
When your Houston friends come and finish up filming for the HHope Documentary- life gets a little sweeter.
When your Houston friends come and finish up filming for the HHope Documentary- life gets a little sweeter.
Random road trips to thrift, get Steel City Pops, and Melt ice cream in Ft. Worth are necessary in the summer.
Random road trips to thrift, get Steel City Pops, and Melt ice cream in Ft. Worth are necessary in the summer.
Hair time with Remy. We both survived which gives me hope for doing my own child's hair one day.
Hair time with Remy. We both survived which gives me hope for doing my own child’s hair one day.
It's fun to dance at the Easter church service in downtown Austin.
It’s fun to dance at the Easter church service in downtown Austin.
Alison and Angie would try to convince me to run a marathon if they could but I am thankful they stuck with a 10k. Ha
Alison and Angie would try to convince me to run a marathon if they could but I am thankful they stuck with a 10k. Ha
Steel City with my road trip buddy.
Steel City with my road trip buddy.
Inner/Middle
Inner/Middle
The most precious teen mom and friend.
The most precious teen mom and friend I get to help through HHope (my non-profit for teen moms).
The United Nations.  We bring the diversity.
The United Nations.
We bring the diversity.
Katie moved to ATX and life here got better.
Katie moved to ATX and life here got better.

These people

Some of the best people in ATX
Some of the best people in ATX

Thank you Austin- Morriss family, for loving me so well.

Although life in Austin has been good, I was concerned about leaving my high school life group behind, as well as, many special friendships. What happens to the friends you leave behind? Your people, your best friends. Well, you just keep up with them. The past 10 months these people and more have stayed in my life. We made time for each other.

My small group girls in Houston
My life group group girls in Houston
These two. Rooftop talks about life and love. The have visited me 3 times or more since I moved and helped me on the hard days.
These two. Rooftop talks about life and love. The have visited me 3 times or more since I moved and helped me on the hard days.
I mean this guy. My dad has supported this ATX adventure 100%. He has come to visit and check in on me several times. Gotta love this guy.
I mean this guy. My dad has supported this ATX adventure 100%. He has come to visit and check in on me several times. Gotta love this guy.
My best friend and mother. She is a beautiful soul.
My best friend and mother. She is a beautiful soul.
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Juneteenth with my sis Mandy.
My music soul sister and laughing buddy. Holland, MI is too far but seeing you twice a year has been a great gift.
My music soul sister and laughing buddy. Holland, MI is too far but seeing you twice a year has been a great gift.
And of course, this guy- my delayed twin by two and a half years, has been the best supporter of me doing something new.  {Brother Myron and Sister Faitth. He gets my humor and laughs at all my jokes.}
And of course, this guy- my delayed twin by two and a half years, has been the best supporter of me doing something new.
{Brother Myron and Sister Faitth. He gets my humor and laughs at all my jokes.}
My college roommate. Our theme song is " I cant go for that" by Hall and Oats And "Work out" by J.Cole. This should tell you something about our friendship.
My college roommate and best. Just when she moved to Houston, I moved to Austin-tragedy. Our theme songs are ” I cant go for that” by Hall and Oats
And “Work out” by J.Cole. This should tell you something about our friendship.
My boo. Thankful that I have gotten to see her face several times this year. There's nothing like life-long friendships.
My boo. Thankful that I have gotten to see her face several times this year. There’s nothing like life-long friendships.
Because when you pass through Columbus, TX heading to Houston, its always necessary to stop and see your best friend.
Because when you pass through Columbus, TX heading to Houston, its always necessary to stop and see your best friend.

What have you always wanted to do? What’s holding you back from doing that thing? What’s holding you back from moving to that new city or state? Whats holding you back from applying for that school? Whats keeping you from doing something different?

LEAP PEOPLE, LEAP. Then LEAN INTO IT and KEEP LEAPING.

It only gets better.

xoxo

Lessons learned: The ugly truth about breaking up…

How do you start over?

I don’t see many articles or books talking about starting over after you have spent any significant about of time or energy into a relationship. Or maybe you had a short-lived physical relationship that has left you empty. Either way, if you have experienced any loss in a relationship, no one seems to talk about it that often. Its something you press through and get over it or “sweep under the rug”. Truth be told, we all know that moving on from someone you gave your heart or body to is not easy. It takes time, energy, healing, and renewing of your mind.

Songs, places, things people may do, can easily trigger a memory or thought about that person who was once special to you. You may spend months venting, laying in your bed, eating ice cream, drinking wine, crying, stalking their social media accounts, and replaying your last conversation; all in an attempt to forget or justify why things did not work out. You may think: Was I not pretty enough? Bold enough? Was I too emotional? Was I not skinny enough? Did I have too much baggage? Was my personality too overwhelming? Maybe, I shouldn’t have said that? Have we really grown apart? Are we truly going separate ways? Was this a mistake? I still love them but we are better off separated rather than together. I miss him but they are not good for me. I am lonely without them but I cannot tell anyone that because they will think I am crazy. I miss his smile and laugh, I miss their adventurous spirit. Is it really over? Are we really done? We have done this before, maybe we will get back together?

No. It’s really over.

Now it’s time for you to move on. How do you move on? Where do you even start? Good question, after a break-up, I have asked myself that often. Where do I even begin? This question is especially hard for me when I have scarified who I am to fit in, to be the person he wanted me to be. Oftentimes, I have felt like guys aren’t too attracted to a driven, focused, and confident woman; they are intimidated by me. This has caused me to shrink back and trade my confidence for fear and insecurities and when he is gone, I am left with fear and insecurities. Now, I must choose to climb out of this hole and start again or wallow in fear and insecurities. It’s a simple choice but a painful one too. I must deal with the deeper issue. What makes me compromise myself for someone who cannot understand or accept me for who I am? Why did I let them in? I should have said hit the door in the first place but I didn’t and now I am left picking up the pieces, again. When will I get it? When will I be okay with being who I am and who I am called to be unapologetically? I think we must all ask ourselves those questions. Ask yourself why you keep dating the same type of guy and end up hurt all over again? Why do you settle? And no I’m not talking about waiting for elusive perfect man, I’m talking about in your gut, you know if you should be with a person or not, when you ignore that feeling and stay with the person anyway, usually it ends eventually. What hole do you need someone to fill so much that you ignore the signs telling you to stop, turn around, don’t go any further. Do you think you are not worth love and belonging? Do you think you will never meet a man who loves you and loves Jesus (Not the type of church guy who is trying to “stay pure” but has no boundaries and is interested solely in your body. That’s a whole different topic). Have you messed up so much that you think you are not worthy? Not “pure” enough? Your tainted now, huh?

I have spent a lot of time worrying about the wrong things and looking for the wrong things. When will I [you] be okay with saying, “It was nice to meet you, I think you are a great guy, but not the guy for me.” Instead of worrying about hurting someone’s feelings, be honest and let it burn. This will save everyone involved the time, energy, emotional headache and heartache. Ladies, let’s remember, guys have feelings too, don’t lead them on. 

We pick ourselves up and move on when we refuse to stay stuck. Sometimes, you should not turn back to that relationship and need to move forward. Sometimes, the timing is wrong and maybe things will work out in the future. Whatever the case, fight for yourself and refuse to allow pain to consume your heart and mind. If you feel you cannot fight, call a friend who will hold your arms up and fight with you. Find someone who will pray with you and seek God on your behalf. Find a friend who refuses to watch you sink and believes the best about you. Encourage yourself until that sense of loss and hopelessness is gone. 

Joyce Meyer said it best in her book The Confident Woman:
You make a decision to let go and go on. You learn form your mistakes. You gather up the fragments and give them to Jesus, and he will make sure that nothing is wasted (John 6:12). You refuse to think about what you have lost, but instead you inventory what you have left and begin using it. Not only can you recover, but you can also be used to help other people recover. Be a living example of a confident woman who always recovers from set backs no matter how difficult or frequent they are. Don’t ever say, “I just cannot go on.” Instead say, “I can do whatever I need to do through Christ who strengthens me. I will never quit, because God is on my side.
Do not give up and loose heart. You are not alone. Pain will not last a lifetime. You can move on one step at a time. Start reminding yourself of who you are in Christ and how much he loves you. Regain your love for yourself. Do things to bless others in your community; I always feel better giving to others rather than being focused on myself. Learn from your mistakes and learn who you are so that you don’t fall into the same situation as you did last time. Learn to love yourself and know who you are for YOU (and no one else). Do not make the choice to discover who you are so you can “feel” whole and enter a relationship. When you know who you are, you are not easily shaken or coerced. The real man for you will not try to quench who you are to boost his own self-esteem.

Tweet by @ChristineCaine: The more secure you are in Christ the more secure people around you become. Insecurity breeds insecurity, comparison & competition. Be secure! If the man pursing you is competing with you, let him go. A confident man will not compete with the woman he is in a relationship with. This goes for women too. If you are competing with your man, ask yourself why.

I am learning that true joy is not in being pursued or having a boyfriend, true joy comes when you live your life devoted to Christ. Being devoted to Christ does not mean you will not make mistakes, it simply means, you want to live your life for him. Living for Christ does not make you exempt from hurt and pain, life happens. Take heart and know He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother (Prov. 18:24). Trusting that God’s love really does cover a multitude of sin. Trusting that your sin is as far as the east is from the west. Believe that you can help other people who feel: lost, lonely, afraid, unseen, and unheard. You matter and your story matters.
Spread the love people. Our life is far from over. It is just beginning.
xoxo

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P.S.

Let me just say, there are some outstanding men out there and mommas/fathers who are raising their sons right. So just because you had a bad break up doesn’t mean all guys are bad or that all guys are the same. Let’s face it, we all have to grow up and sometimes guys make stupid mistakes. If you break up with “so-and-so” let him go and start the process of forgiving him. Your bitterness is not hindering him from moving on. Hopefully, he too, will learn from his mistakes and decide to make a change.

Come All Ye Weary

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”- Matthew 11:28

When I think of this scripture, I imagine myself, laying my head in Jesus’ lap and finding comfort. These past two weeks have be tough ones laced with little victories. It has felt like there is “something” that has come up, every day. Every single day. I am tired and feeling really weary. When I played soccer and got hurt, my brother would look at me and tell me “do not cry”, you are tough. Eventually, I stopped crying and just pushed through the pain but sometimes it hurt too bad; I needed to cry, and I did.

So today, I needed to cry.

A friend told me, “If you cry, its not because you are weak”. While I know this to be true, some parts of me feel so weak and vulnerable when I cry. Somehow, even in my weakness, I feel little ounces and strength and hope rise within me.

HOPE.

People, I am clinging to hope.

The Bible says, in this life you will have trouble (John 16:33).

Trouble does not define us. It does not name us. It is hard but we can grow through our troubles. We can become stronger. We can become better. In the moment it is not easy and there will be dark nights. BUT John 16:33 ends with this…”take heart! I have overcome the world.”

So even in the dead of night, know that you will not stay there. You will (I will!) make it through every valley and every storm.

xoxo

Chivalry isn’t dead, I just don’t know how to respond to it.

I’ve found that since our culture has changed and we have said that “chivalry is dead” sometimes we as women don’t know how to accept genuine kindness from a man without thinking he has ulterior motives. I mean, I struggle with letting a man open the door before I shove it open internally stating, “I am woman, my hands aren’t broken, I can get the door, thank you.” When I am with my guy friends I have to remind myself to let them be kind. I have been wondering what my issue is? Why is it so hard for me to accept genuine kindness from a man? These are the questions I ask myself.

[small rant about my own personal immaturity]

Let’s face it. All the christian purity conferences ruined me. They talked about how a man should be intentional and how we shouldn’t date around. They talked about the importance of friendship before a relationship, all great things but if the context isn’t taught correctly, then we have to “re-teach” ourselves about fostering healthy relationships. I found it was hard to have a meaningful friendship with the opposite sex without assuming that maybe-possibly-kind of-there could-be-or-may-never-be-something-romantic there. I eventually got annoyed that mentally my guy friends move to potential husband candidates because we were “building a friendship ” I mean, how was I supposed to know their intentions otherwise since they were never verbalized but subtly expressed in moments? Most likely we would be friends,scope each other out, “pray about it” and live in a gray area for a while before any action or no action at all was taken. I misunderstood a guy flirting for a guy being truly interested. Let’s face it. People flirt all the time. Thus, this stupid confusing way of being a Christian and honoring the Lord through vague friendships with the opposite sex [and wondering if there was something more because the only glimpse of a deeper relationship was occasional flirting] became really confusing and weird. This is when I had to put my brothers advice to the test (My brother told me, “If a guy didn’t tell you he likes you, then never assume that he does.”). Guys weren’t being forthright about their intentions. They were playing games. I didn’t understand why some guys wouldn’t open their mouth and say “hey I like you, I would love to get to know you better, can we go out sometime?” I understand it’s hard and guys don’t want to be rejected. Just a hint men, if you ask a girl out on a date, most likely she will say yes.

But back to men and chivalry.

For example: if a guy friend buys you a gift, that doesn’t mean he likes you. It simply means he is being nice. My brother gave me the best advice ever. “If a guy didn’t tell you he likes you, then never assume that he does.”
If a guy buys your dinner while out with friends or if you two are just hanging out, you don’t need to go pray and ask God if that is your husband. He was just being nice.
The problem we (I) have is that we can’t accept genuine kindness from a man without assuming that he has bad intentions toward us. Some men are kind and honest. Some men want to be friends only. Some men want to be more than our friend and those men will pursue us. We need to learn to trust more and worry less. 

Trust me, I struggle with this. I have had guy friends show me genuine chivalry by opening my car door, paying for dinner, driving out to see me, and they only looked at me as a friend. Guess what people? Because I did not have a healthy view of chivalry there were times that I thought my guy friends must have liked me. However, I took my brother’s advice and remembered not to make assumptions about a guy’s feelings towards me in a romantic way. Can I just tell you that none of these guys ever told me they liked me. They were just interested in treating me well and being my friend. The sad thing is, I’m not used to any men besides my family being a gentleman. So when a man is kind, caring, and thoughtful, I assume they want something from me. In my stubbornness, I can project the vibe that I am not grateful for their kindness towards me, when 85% of the time I am truly thankful and humbled by genuine kindness.

I think in our fear of being betrayed or allowing ourselves to be smooth talked by a guy, we start in the defense every time. We assume that a man who approaches us has other intentions. We assume that.

This perspective that they are “all the same” is dangerous. Just because a guy is kind to you doesn’t mean he likes you. Or if he is interested in you it doesn’t mean that he is trying to manipulate you by being kind.  It can simply mean he is being kind. My guy friends have told me how hard it is to be a gentlemen to women nowadays because we can be so abrasive. I think we need to be more mindful of how we treat men because the very man we are sitting around praying for (or complaining about) could be right in front of us.

Let men be gentleman and let’s learn to accept their kindness without proving that we can do it all on our own. Men know we can open the door or carry our own suitcase but if they want to display kindness, let them be men. There are still good men out there.

xoxo

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24

I’ve wholeheartedly been looking forward to turning 24 for many years now. I always felt like it would be a significant year for me. In my mind, 24 represented independence and change. After 23, the hardest year of my young adult life thus far, I was ready to move into a new season. Despite the challenges I faced this past year, it has been the year of birthing a dream: the launching of HHope. I made new friends. Grew personally. Moved to a new city. Learned more about myself. I made mistakes and learned from them.
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I am finally confident in who I am and who God has called me to be. I know who I am and I’m not changing for people or popular opinion.

I discovered a deeper passion for advocacy and politics. Sometimes I wonder where this passion came from but truth be told, I know this is a God given passion. I plan to get more active in my community and local organizations. Plug in where you can be apart of change locally.

I have learned that impatience does not yield a good return. I’ve spent so much money on car repairs that could have been avoided if I was paying attention and not being anxious. Anxiousness in dating, my life, or the “next big thing” robbed me of contentment. It left me seeking after the next “big thing”. The next “potential” relationship. Finally, I got the memo and stopped worrying about what I wanted but didn’t see happening and decided it was time to learn how to enjoy my life.

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I’ve cruised into 24 wiser because I had women of prayer pouring into my life and taking me under their wing. My mom cheering me on constantly. My dad and brother reminded me of my worth. I have the most amazing girlfriends who have laughed, prayed, and held me accountable. I am forever grateful for the people surrounding me. I choose my friends wisely because those are the people who influence you the most.

24: I am believing that this is a year of new beginnings.Restoration.Answered Prayers. HHope growing and expanding. This is my year to launch out, do new things and not allow myself to my crippled by fear. Last year my scripture was Micah 6:8 and it wrecked me daily. I still strive to live that scripture out in my personal life. My scripture for this year is 1 John 4:18. “There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection]. (‭1 John‬ ‭4‬:‭18‬ AMP)”

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Thank you dear reader friends for the birthday wishes and for your support. You all are the best!

How will this next year be significant for you? What are you believing for?
Feel free to comment below!

Xoxo
Faitth B

Say Goodnight & Go: Farewell HTX

“Why am I feeling drawn to this place?” I just came to visit friends. Yet every time I visit my heart is being pulled in a million directions. “What am I supposed to do?” These are my thoughts as I woke up July 6th. I head to church with my friends and cry all during worship, later that evening as I drive to whole foods, and I called my older brother crying. I cried all day (I feel so lame saying how much I cried but whatever…). It was evident that my heart was being moved. I did not want to address these feelings. A looming sense of loss covered me like a blanket. I sat on the roof of whole foods looking upon a city with a lot of questions and prayers. After eating my ice cream and reading some of a book, I left whole foods and headed home. I headed home knowing that I was going to move to this city. As scary as the moment was, I also felt a deep sense of peace.

This past year has been hard yet so beautiful for me. In spite of that, I realize how much growth needed to take place in my heart and life in order to be prepared for what God has for me in this next season.

On September 15th, I found a note in my journal from June 2011 that said “I think I am supposed to move to Austin but I am not sure when.” I forgot all about that note and moved on with my life and moved to Houston. I began working for Arrow Child and Family Ministries. A year and a half later, I resigned, and started my job at MD Anderson. It was at MD Anderson that I realized I did not have a passion for corporate america. I have a passion for families and adoption. I am a social worker. That’s my thing. I needed to return to doing something I was passionate about.

Thirty minutes after finding that journal entry on September 15th, I was emailed a job posting by a friend at my old company. Immediately applied for a case management position in the Austin area. Five minutes later they called to set up a phone interview. A few days later, I got the job and gave my two weeks notice, just like that.

I walked away from everything comfortable.

Everything that was set up for me.

I walked away from a successful career in corporate america.

None of this was in my plan and trust me I am a planner. My room may look like a nightmare most days but my plans are laid out and my binders are organized. This is the first time in my life I have needed to exercise radical obedience. What an adventure it has already been and I haven’t moved yet.

So here I am, completely humbled.

Not even trying to figure anything out anymore.

I am going.

Houston I have about 7 more days to soak you up.

Since I am not far, this is merely see you later. Not goodbye.

xoxo

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P.S.

HHope will still carry on in Houston. I will be working towards establishing HHope in Austin.

Are You Really Ready?

No one said risking it all wasn’t scary.

BUT I think staying still is scarier.

#Write31Days

Day 1

Have you ever had those prayer times where you are proclaiming your undying love to God and you tell him “Yes, Lord I will do whatever you want me to and I’ll go wherever you want me to go!”

Be CAREFUL

BE VERY CAREFUL

You may find your world turned upside down. All the sudden what you planned (which was a pretty stellar plan, by the way) will be null and void. Things will shift and change and what you thought this next season of your life would look like has taken a turn in the opposite direction. When I begin to wonder why that happens, I remind myself that I said “yes”. I chose to be interrupted. In fact, I cheered for it. I cried out for it. So really, there should be absolutely no shock when I get exactly what I prayed for. Nonetheless, there is still shock. There is awe. There are moments of silence and mourning for what you will lose and faint smiles and a flicker of excitement for what you will gain.

So to my fellow reader friends, BE CAREFUL.

You may not be ready for the life of surrender you are crying out for.

It will cost you something.

Matthew 10:38-39 “If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.

The price of losing my life in order to find it in Christ is invaluable.

I will risk it all for Him. Every time.

(With tears in my eyes, butterflies in my tummy, and a mustard seed of faith)

No one said risking it all wasn’t scary.

BUT I think staying still is scarier.

XOXO

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