…first of all, to You!

Featured…first of all, to You!

It seems impossible to love people who hurt and disappoint us, yet there are no other kinds of people.

Frank Andrews

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines friendship as “a state of mutual trust and support between [group of people].” In this day and age where social media has taken over real life friendships and deep connection, we find ourselves caught up with the quantity instead of quality of friends. We are quick to speak instead of lending a listening ear. We give too much or too little in exchange of being lonely or getting hurt. We find ourselves less and less connected in friendships and embracing the “solo” culture. But fact is, we all need friends. Healthy, deep and real relationships.

Building friendships is a lifelong journey and for me, that journey can take a little longer than most people. I am introverted so you do understand when I say I’m a bit slower at warming up to people. I enjoy the company of good friends whether large or small groups. Although I’d say the latter is more of my comfort zone. I’m that girl who wants everyone to be included so much that in my past friendships, I spent years trying to nurture friendships that didn’t exist. I was obliviously giving so much in friendships where the other party just saw me as an acquaintance.

We all have the perfect picture of what our “perfect” friends should be. We’ve all probably picked friends based on status, family name, culture, or influence. Anyone who comes into our lives and does not meet our standards gets kicked off the “friends list.” Some of us have probably also picked someone that didn’t quite fit the ideal expectations but turned out to be the ABSOLUTE realest and just what we needed. For the past several years, I have spent time building and investing in healthy relationships. I have been the most open about meeting new people yet intentional about attracting and developing the right friendships. I’ve come to understand this: Friendship is not about who you know the longest but who walks in your life and takes a seat throughout ALL seasons.

Now let me back up and say, yes, social media has its negative aspect, however, some of my very strong friendships now came from a simple “hello” on social media. So what’s the point I’m trying to drive home with this post? Be open to meeting new people, invest in building healthy friendships, clear your mind from grudges from past hurts – every living being will disappoint and hurt you. Move on. Ain’t nobody said to go back to toxic relationships. By toxic, I mean friends who tear you apart instead of building you up. Those who secretly smile while you’re going through difficult times. Those that occupy your time to their benefit. Walking away from such friendship is the best thing you can do for your emotional and mental health. Everyone that come with you can’t go with you.

I stumbled upon these words years ago and it’s been my prayer ever since: Lord, I do not ask for many friends but for those whose loyalty are first of all to you.

Beyond Your Wildest Dreams

At seventeen years old, I was a high school graduate. I’ve always had big dreams. One of them was to be a doctor by age 22. Between moving to the United States and getting adjusted, I lost several years. In May 2011, I graduated from undergraduate with an associate degree at age 21. During my graduation, a married couple at my church gifted me this Journal (pictured above) and being the scribbler that I am, I immediately started penning what my journey moving forward would be like. Sitting on my little balcony in New Jersey apartment, I started dreaming and thinking of my life after community college.

My ultimate goal was to be a Doctor of Pharmacy. I had several paths outlined that I could take…several colleges I desired to attend and several things I could do to reach my final career destination. I remember praying over my dreams and aspirations out loud and asking God, which way I should take. I also remember hearing a voice whisper softly to me, “take the way I instruct you. Follow my lead and listen. I AM with you.” For the next several months, I took sometime off to grasp the process of applying to pharmacy school.

The greatest poverty is not when you don’t have a dime, it is when you don’t have a dream.

Martin Luther King

I’m a dreamer. I can spend an entire Saturday morning sipping on hot tea, meditating and dreaming about life. I love to draw a mental (and physical) picture of what life would be in the next year or two or even the next decade. I love the sense of relaxation I feel when I’m in deep thoughts plus it cost absolutely nothing to dream. In fact, God invites us to dream great dreams. For me, writing down my dreams and going back years later to see how far I’ve come always bring me a sense of joy and fulfillment. Let’s be real here for a second, sometimes not every bullet point on your dream list will be fulfilled and that is okay. For me, Harding University was not on my list of colleges to attend but God in His infinite wisdom led me to a very small town in Arkansas and years later to my current residence (in the same state) where I’m surrounded by people I love so dearly. God’s way for us might be different than what we envision but make no mistake, it’s always the right path. His plans are perfect beyond your wildest dreams.

Dreams are powerful. Dreams carry meaning. Have you ever heard the phrase, you’re what you believe? Yeah. Dreams are basically our thought process; we attract good things when we have positive thoughts. The opposite is also true – bad thoughts attracts bad energy. Hear me say this: dreams do not just work out. It requires prayers, hard work and some more prayers. I dare you today, to dream the dream God has planned for you. You will be amazed at what he does in and through you. I dare you to also write out those dreams.

In closing, I’ll echo Billy Graham’s words to encourage anyone struggling to realize the path God has for them and for you my friend who is already on that path also to: “Dream great dreams, embrace great principles, renew your hope, but above all, believe in the Christ who alone can give total meaning and an ultimate goal to your life.”

“For in Him we live and move and have our being.” – Acts 17:28

  • PRAY IT INTO EXISTENCE
  • WRITE IT INTO EXISTENCE
  • SPEAK IT INTO EXISTENCE

Jozy

Dear Younger Me

If you could see a glimpse of me, right now, in this very moment, you would be so proud. Girl, you made it to the third decade of your life. Congratulations!

I remember how you dreaded entering this new decade not because it’s a bad thing but for the simple fact that adulting is hard. But you my dear, mastered your way to a full-fledge adult. There were some high and exciting moments – you married the love of your life, bought your first home, etcetera – AND many lows. But girl, you’re more brave than you give yourself credit for. Shy? Yes. But that doesn’t make you timid. Respectful? Yes. But that doesn’t make you foolish. Oh the places you’ll go and the heights you will reach with this your resilient attitude is only but time. You have experienced the most betrayals, painful heartbreak, biggest lost but you walked through those fires and allowed yourself to heal inside and out.

You’re 30 years young today. That is 10,950 blessed days on this earth. You’re now entering some of the best years of your life but buckle up these will also be some of the craziest yet. Know that those craziest moments are beautiful stories waiting to be told. They are a good reminder and motivator of your future successes. You’ll have many laughs and many tears but always remembers to carry everything to God in prayers like you always do. Make Jesus the center of your life in all you do and you won’t be disappointed.

Josephine, it is such an exciting feeling to see you emerge into this strong, independent yet humble human who’s life [will] inspire many. Walk in greatness my darling. Cheers to many more decades of life, good health, prosperity, good riddance and everything good from above.

p.s: I love you.