He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” – Psalm 91:1-2 ESV
As I reflect on this #throwback Thursday, I can only think of one word: COVE(RED).
(Brace yourselves because I am giving you all of me…uncut and unfiltered).
As much as I love these powerful women: Havilah Cunnington, Sarah Jakes Roberts, Lysa TerKeurst, Oprah, Michelle Obama, Rachel Hollis, Lisa Nichols, and the list continues on…there was only one Name I could call on when I hit the “rock underneath rock bottom.” This Name, I didn’t have to press through an entourage. This Name, I have direct access to. This Name, is above every name. This Name died for my sins so that I may have life more abundantly.
This Name, is Jesus.
Yes, Jesus was the only one who cove(red) me and carried me through my TOUGH, TOUGH battle seasons.
Did I say TOUGH? I did. Just making sure you’re following along (lol).
But seriously though, I’m pulling out all the receipts on how God cove(red) me in every season. Because for one, my heart has time today. And two, sometimes people need to know that they’re not the only ones who suffered in silence.
I am a firm believer that, “transparency is the bridge to transformation.” Therefore, let me be the first to read my receipts:
Receipt #1: Settling In A Toxic Relationship
What do you mean by toxic, Britt? Well, I stayed with him even though all the signs of cheating were there. And, even when he admitted it, not once, but several times, I still stayed. I stayed, even when he was verbally, mentally, and emotionally abusive. I can recall many times where the tears rolled down my face as his words violated my “Queen-fidence,” to the point it was destroyed. I stayed, even when my self-worth asked me, as it was walking out the door, “Are you coming with us, Britt.” Afraid of what my ex might think, I replied “I…can’t…leave him…right now.” I spent two years (on and off again) in this toxic relationship.
Listen love, I’ve been there. I was misused. I was confused. I was broken. I was damaged goods. There were many nights, I cried myself to sleep. There were many times, I stayed in the shower an extra hour just to wash off the scent of the pain he left on me. I repeatedly said, “God, wash his scent off of me!” To the point, I couldn’t murmur the words anymore. It wasn’t until 2016, where I decided “enough was enough!” I made a love commitment to myself. For now on, I choose me. I choose my own happiness. I choose my healing. I choose my self-worth. I choose my boundaries. I choose my peace. I choose to find love in purpose. And, I never looked back since.
Receipt #2: The Diagnosis, The Death, The Doubt
In June 2017, my younger brother, LJ, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. I can remember the day, the doctor called us into the room and gave us the heartbreaking news. My heart dropped immediately, but, I had to remain strong for LJ. I couldn’t let him see that I was afraid; that my heart was weak; that I wish him and I could trade places. So, I bottled every emotion inside and remained strong for him. I promise myself I wouldn’t cry or show any expression of fear in front of him. Instead, I made it my mission to be positive and proclaim God’s Word. We had faith together, we prayed together, we sung worship songs together, we laughed together. Besides, that’s what big sisters are for. There were long nights in the hospital, countless chemotherapy appointments, and many times where my family and I spent the holidays in the hospital. For instance, Father’s Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving. My parents, Gabriel (my baby brother), and I never left LJ’s side.
I remember so vividly: the countless fasting and praying; the miracles and signs that God performed on my brother (that gave my family hope); the angels that appeared in his room. I just knew God would come through for my family and heal LJ miraculously. And He did, just not in the way we imagined. On November 28, 2017, LJ passed away unexpectedly. He was 27 years old. For me, losing my brother unexpectedly HIT me to my core. It was the hardest blow I ever took and completely knocked me unconsciously to the ground. I was so angry with God. I questioned His healing power. I even questioned His existence. I felt like He totally left us to bare this pain on our own. That resentment grew into doubt and a cold bitterness towards God. The minister who spoke about faith, prayed for people and immediately God answered the prayer; had now drifted away from God. That minister was me. I wanted no parts of God. I stopped praying. I stopped fasting. I stopped reading my Word. And instead, crawled into a shell of unforgiveness, hurt, depression, and bitterness.
Receipt #3: The Naysayers
“Did you hear what happened to the Brooks family?”
“Why didn’t they tell everybody he had cancer? If they would’ve said something, people could be praying, and he would be alive!”
“I’m so glad this happened to them. I’m so glad God took their son.”
The saddest part about these comments, they came from the mouths of the “saints.” The very ones who called themselves leaders in the body of Christ, the very ones who carried distinguished titles, the very ones who said, “I love God, what’s wrong with you?” My brother’s passing was the headline in their mouths. One after the other (from Dec. 2017 to present), we heard non-stop lies, false reports, outlandish rumors about “what they perceived to have happened.” Instead of properly healing and grieving the right way, my mother, father, younger brother Gabriel, and I, were suffering in silence. I can even remember in my brother’s final days, he whispered to my mother, “Mom, there are going to be a lot of naysayers, but stay with God. Stay with God. He is on your side.” It was very random to hear LJ say that, but God was speaking through him.
(Alexa, play “Heart That Forgives” by Kevin Levar)
This was a hurt like no other. It’s amazing how people who were never present in your story, seem to know the full details of your story. I must say, this was not an easy season. This was a silent season for my family. A season of “Turn the other cheek.” A season where we experience “no support from loved ones and so-called friends.” A season where we had to “Be still and know that He is God.” A season of “Hold your peace and let God fight your battles.” A season where we had to “Forgive daily, walk in humility, and show unconditional love.” But also, it was a season where “God birthed His greatest purpose out of each of us.” This was a season where God “developed our character and the fruit of the spirit.” Now I understand when He says, your enemies will be your footstool. They think they’re hurting you. They think they have the last word. However, God has two words for the naysayers: BUT GOD. In other words, stay tune because God is the master of the “Plot Twists.” On that note, let’s go to the next receipt.
Receipt #4: The Recovery
Nothing ever heals when it is covered up.
You remember earlier, when I shared about how I bottled every emotion inside during my brother’s battle with cancer. Well after his passing, I didn’t properly deal with those emotions. In fact, those emotions begin to rise to the surface. Almost every day, I had a visit from anger, fear, anxiety, and depression. I didn’t understand where these emotions were coming from, yet alone, how to juggle each one.
Can I truly be honest?
The grief was so overbearing that there were many days where I wanted to give up on life. I remember telling God, “Just leave me here to die in this wilderness you put me in.” I was ready to give up on all things life, including my own. It wasn’t until I had a heart to heart with God. I screamed, I yelled, I argued, and told Him exactly how I felt.
But the strange thing about it, I didn’t feel judge. I didn’t feel this wrath come upon me. Instead, I felt His peace, that gracefully walked in the room and wrapped its arms around me. I heard, “It’s okay. Let it out on me.” All I could do was collapsed in the arms of heaven. My God, didn’t criticize me for my emotions. He didn’t hold my feelings and actions over my head in condemnation. But He approached me in love and understanding.
So many people told me to go to therapy first, it will make you feel better. But inside I felt like a hypocrite. Why? I couldn’t talk to a stranger, until I got things right with God first. To each is own and everyone’s relationship is different. But as for me, I knew I wanted to take the first step and talk to the One I was angry with, God.
After releasing it, I told God I wanted to seek therapy to continue my healing journey. I described the therapist I wanted. Sure enough, that was exactly what he honored. I wanted a black female christian therapist. Reason being, there are things that you go through as a woman and there are things you go through as a black woman. I needed a therapist who could relate to both. Secondly, there are things you go through as a christian and there are things you go through as a minister. I needed a therapist who could relate to both. And, God truly blessed me with that gift. I am proud to say that therapy has truly helped me to understand grief. Till this day, I continue to go and I look forward to every visit. I realized grief is a heavy process. But I rather do it in Grace.
Much like anyone, I’m still processing my healing of losing my dear LJ. I admit, it’s not an overnight fix. Nor will you “get over it.” I don’t care how many weeks, months, years and so forth, you will never get over the lost of your love one. But with every small step towards my healing, I know God is leading me closer to the purpose He has destined for me and the people He desires for me to reach.
Receipt #5: In conclusion
Life can give you so many blows and knock you down in such a way where it’s not even an option to, “Get back up.” When I look back over my life, all I can do is raise my hand and say, “Thank you God!” Thank you for never giving up on me. Thank you for covering me. Thank you for not allowing me to suffer through my pain alone. Thank you for your grace that carried me through my darkest times. Now that I think about it, I don’t even recall how I got back up again. I know it wasn’t by my own strength, or by the strength of others, but it was His blood that Cove(red) me.
It’s amazing how God can take our worst and add His best. It’s amazing how He can meet us where we are. It’s comforting to know, He can revive us back to life. Out of these experiences, God has given me a vision to help others that are battling with similar circumstances of lost, pain, grief, toxic relationships, and so forth. I am grateful that in each season, He Cove(red) me and carried me. I’m proud to say that my relationship with God has grown deeper and stronger than ever.
I pray this post was nourishment and confirmation to your soul, and that God will keep you Cove(red) in each season. I don’t care how tough it gets. He will never leave you, but will rescue any lost sheep. He’s just that loving. He’s just that good.
May you share His love, and may His grace continue to Cover you through every circumstance.
Besos and Hugs,
P.S. To learn more about FL;P (Finding Love In Purpose) or to grab some goodies from the FL;P collection, please visit: www.findingloveinpurpose.com !