When I moved back to Chicago in the fall of 2018 after a devastating setback, to say that I was disappointed is an understatement. I was angry with myself for being so naive and gullible, but also so needy. I was dazed and confused. I felt like a total and complete loser. I had always imagined that I’d come back to Chicago victorious. In my head (you know…my perfect wonderland), I would come back years after I had accomplished and established myself in my purpose and open up the youth center I always dreamed about. But not like this. Not busted and disgusted. I was also embarrassed. How could I explain to people when they asked how I ended up back here? So in my heart, I had started the countdown clock. I was going to get up out of here as soon as possible. I had officially launched Operation: Escape to Mexico in my heart and I was on a mission. In the meantime, while I plotted my escape, I needed something to do–you know a cover story, right? So I started building a blog– Live Love Dream.
One day during my study time, as I was boldly praying and confessing over myself and my situation, Jeremiah 29:11 popped into my head. Who doesn’t love them some Jeremiah 29:11, right? I’ve quoted or rather misquoted this scripture many times in my vain attempt at aligning myself with the promise of God that He had a plan and purpose for me that was good and not evil to give me a future and a hope! Then the Holy Spirit gently tapped me on my shoulder and said, “Read it from the beginning. From verse one.” So I did. And I’m being completely honest when I say, when I read it, I wasn’t liking where this was going.
Then He said that I wasn’t going anywhere for a long time. That I was to stay in Chicago. I was going to be here for a minute. Just like the children of Judah who were going to be in captivity for seventy years before the Lord would deliver them, He wanted me to build and to plant while here. But at the appointed time I would be released to go wherever I wanted. “Huh? What??” I replied. I remember sitting there on the bed trying to figure out, “Like does He mean seventy days or seventy weeks, or maybe just seven months.” I could not wrap my mind, yet my little heart around the fact that I had to stay in a place that felt like complete and total defeat. I was perplexed. But the word was very clear and just like the children of Israel who were given many warnings and a decision to make to either surrender to the King of Babylon and live or resist and die. I had a decision to make too.
That winter was one of the coldest winters ever in Chicago–the Polar Vortex. I literally cried many days because being here hurt. It hurt deep. I had spent ten magical years in sunny southern California where my winters were in the ’60s so this felt like utter torture and punishment. It felt like the cherry on top of an already horrible situation. I wish I could say that I took what the Holy Spirit told me and just surrendered and obeyed but I didn’t. Instead, I proceeded to do my own thing, building Live Love Dream and plotting my way out.
I can be hard-headed, as my mom would say to me when I was little. I remember in times past, reading stories about the children of Israel being called stiff-necked people and stubborn, and thinking to myself, “Oh, I would never! God is too good!” Yet, here I was with my fingers in my ears, shaking my head saying, “No, no, no, no!” I didn’t want to hear it.
The Lord had given me the idea for the blog earlier that year but He hadn’t given me the green light to do it yet. Prior to my coming back to Chicago, I was all about following God’s timing. That’s how I ended up in California in the first place–following the leading of the Holy Spirit. And when I did follow His leading, everything just flowed. But I had no green light. My heart was full of bitterness and I was broken, yet I was trying to produce “something for the kingdom.” Oh, the lies we often tell ourselves in the midst of our pain to make ourselves feel better. So when I tried to launch Live Love Dream on Jan 15, 2019, it crashed! It literally crashed five minutes after I had just announced its arrival on Facebook. I remember the GoDaddy tech guy saying that “he hadn’t seen anything like this before. He said the files were disappearing before His eyes and he couldn’t recover them.” I spent the last few hundred dollars I had trying to get it back online and no one could seem to get it back. Then I figured, I’d just redo it. It sucked but I still had all the content so all I’d have to do is just rebuild the site. Nope! When I went to my Google Drive to access my folder of writing it was gone. Yes…I said GONE! All of the stuff I had written for the blog disappeared into cyberspace. Everything else on my computer…still there. Just the writing for the blog had magically disappeared. I was enraged!! I thought for sure that this was an attack from the enemy and he didn’t want me launching this project for the kingdom of God. When in fact, it was no enemy at all.
About four days prior to the launch, I was in my quiet time with God when He took me to three chapters in the bible to study–one of them being Ezekiel 24. Now, this was my typical study pattern back then. I would flip my bible and allow it to open up to random places and the first full chapter is the one I would study. I would do this three times. After I would read those three chapters and write my notes. I would ask the Holy Spirit what He wanted to show me or say. On this particular day, He told me that on January 15th I was going to lose something and when I lost it, I wasn’t supposed to grieve over it but let it go. I remember thinking that the 15th was just a few days away but couldn’t imagine what I would be losing. Then on the afternoon of Jan 14th, one of my aunts that had been battling breast cancer died. I remember thinking, He couldn’t possibly be telling me not to grieve over my auntie. But it wasn’t until weeks later after I had exhausted all my funds trying to save the blog and my folder of writing had disappeared that I realized that this was in fact the loss he was talking about. When I tell you God is so real…I don’t even have words!
That revelation started what would become the three-year process of healing that the Lord would take me through to get to where I am today with this launch. I launch this blog today with not only the green light but with the wholeness that only comes from a healed heart.
I am grateful that I get to not only share this story with you but the story of what that three-year process of healing really looked like in the upcoming weeks. I hope that you were blessed by this story and look forward to sharing part two with you soon.