Excerpt from my upcoming book:
In My Beginning…
My journey of self-discovery all began with this nagging feeling that something was off; I mean, way off. I literally felt like a fish out of water, and it was cutting off my air supply to peace and joy. Now, I was fortunate to have a career that enabled me to sow good seeds, but I was meeting much opposition from management. So much so, that it interfered with my mood and quality of work. I started to dread work- I would cry on breaks, in my car, out of the car, in the bathroom. However, the day I cried on a client’s couch, was the day I had enough. One morning while driving, I prayed to God with one main request; more like a plea. I desperately needed my purpose to be revealed, to ensure I was honoring HIS will for my life. Yes, I wanted to be like Jesus. To go and fulfill Our Father’s will, and I didn’t want to look back. And another day I prayed and asked for the opportunity to be a blessing, a miracle to someone. And a different day I prayed for understanding, to receive God’s wisdom. And one night I prayed for strength and patience to be the woman God created me to be. And another day I prayed for all the faith I needed, to receive all of God’s blessings. I should’ve known that God listened to every word spoken from my mouth and uttered from my heart.
HE has taken me on the greatest road to redemption through answering my prayers. Even the potholes are amusing because they cause me to reevaluate the condition of my vehicle (self). I’ve taken many wrong turns but they’re alternative routes; for, with God nothing is wrong. I’ve noticed that the alternate routes allow us to depend on God, for strength and endurance. Not to mention, we learn a valuable lesson, ultimately becoming a step closer to our destiny. So, even when we get distracted and miss the signs or make a turn without seeking the map (God). Either way, we always make it to our destination. But, what I didn’t know is that along the way, I would pick up hitchhikers headed in the same direction; or, simply there to show me a better route. To my surprise, these strangers and me would have life changing conversations. Some were brief because their stop was near. Others became actual relationships because of the bond and energy infused along the way. It appears, whoever stepped foot on this journey with me, opened me up in ways I didn’t know were closed.
The start of my road to healing
I had to ask myself this question- what are the desires of my heart? Because, I knew in order to repair my soul, I had to start with the heart. I closed my eyes and imagined a life of just existence on this planet. No technology. No distractions. No responsibilities. No one else, just me. Given that all I ever needed to survive was already supplied: shelter, water, food. What do I desire? What do I see? The first vision was a man; a partner that I can explore this gorgeous green earth with. I couldn’t see his face but by his statuette, I knew he was prepared to protect me. We play, explore our surroundings, run around together, we embrace one another. I felt his love for me. After, I opened my eyes, I entered this state of awareness. I then realized that, the very thing my heart desired was the one thing I shunned away. Indeed, I had been closed. I ran from men as though they were evil doers of this world. Why? Am I not living in spirit and truth? This is where my journey of healing began; to quench the thirst of my heart.
The start of my road to change
I remember the morning of July fourth, 2016. I went for a two-mile run around the neighborhood track, or I should say walk/jog. Many thoughts accompanied me, such as the plan of events scheduled later that day. But I felt drawn to this overweight lady who I’ve never seen before. I watched, as she made her slow and steady pace around and around the track. Every time our paths crossed, I felt compelled to exchange words; but I refused. I walked to my car, face flushed and saturated in sweat. I sat there for a minute, key in the ignition but not started. I wiped my face, fixed my hair and I noticed her approaching in the rear-view mirror. She was in my path again. She walked slowly towards her car positioned directly behind mine. I remember thinking, ok! This is it. I’ll introduce myself, give her my number and let God do the rest. And that’s exactly what I did. She smiled and said, “I usually come up here at six in the morning but I’m off today. But I’ll text you if you need motivation.” I quickly thanked her as I knew we both were exhausted; it was apparent on our flushed faces.
As I walked back to the car, I pondered. What was that all about? I thought maybe we were in the same field (nursing) or she needed encouragement, maybe I needed to hear a word. Really, nothing made much sense. So, I placed the blinders on myself and focused on the, “what” was I feeling. Basically, I didn’t avoid that uneasy emotion by shrugging it off and saying, “No big deal.” Oh, no. I wanted answers. And, once I embraced what I was feeling inside, that’s when clarity came to visit. First, I acknowledged the leap I took. I moved passed my comfort zone and into the unknown. Which was done to obey God’s command. But then wait. Why was it difficult; to approach someone and introduce myself?
What happened next was life-changing. At that moment I recognized how closed I was. And, now my closed heart was exposed for my eyes to see. I cried tears of joy all the way home. I pulled into the driveway and sat there for a minute to enjoy the cold air blowing from the vents. And that’s when God summarized a valuable lesson from that brief hitchhiker, in one question. “How can you receive anything or anyone of greatness, if you’re closed?” Immediately, I desired openness and so my prayers changed to reflect that. I just knew that the process of reinventing myself, was in motion. I was being reshaped in preparation for the next season; the season of abundance.
During my quest for openness, I mourned over the little girl in me that was taught secrets. I understood her pain and why she chose to cover my heart. But, it was time to say good-bye, farewell, adios Amiga. And then she was gone, just like that. Afterwards, I hungered for innocence because my beginnings of childhood were sinful. I yearned for the same purity in a newborn baby, the first glance at a new love, or even true love’s first kiss. I thirsted to be the woman, mother, daughter, sister, nurse, neighbor, advocate, friend, author, niece, cousin, mentor, writer, poet, leader, and runner that God created me to be. I craved Sheyda. And that’s when another shift took place. I was now concerned with blessing a multitude of people because one a day wasn’t enough. I suppose my new open heart led to an outpouring of love, looking to be dispersed out into others. I wanted to be used by God as a vessel, to bring forth hope to those who feel despair, depressed and defeated. It’s remarkable how we can change in a moment’s time.
On this new journey of focusing on God’s will, I relate to Paul in many ways. After I read Acts 20:24, which states “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” I’m in awe of Paul’s dedication to God’s will because he was a motivated disciple. No, Paul didn’t have little children that depended on him like you and me. However, he was willing to sacrifice his freedom; ultimately, his life to testify about God’s grace. He pushed through stubborn, rebellious churches; all, to fulfill God’s will. He knew his ministry was to testify to the churches, the gospel of the grace of God. And with God’s wisdom, Paul knew he had to teach grace before people could receive it.
I’ve concluded that the very thing we are to testify about, is the one thing we are in greatest need of. Meaning, Paul was to testify about the goodness of the Lord’s grace; specifically, that’s what Paul needed and longed for. I was to testify about the goodness of God’s unconditional love. Loving others is easy for me. Its penetrating force comes natural. However, the real test to promote spiritual growth was loving others despite the pet peeves (those quirky characteristics that’re intolerable) they possess. Meaning, you get on my nerves, but I love you regardless. And I am going to show you. Little did I know, it was me who needed love the most. Not faith or grace, not even hope- it’s love that I’ve been called to testify about.
I didn’t know much about unconditional love for men nor myself. Surely, God has a sense of humor. Like, are you sure Lord, you want me to do this? I tried to kill myself, I was an addict of many sinful desires, I didn’t even feel worthy of love. But, I guess a name like Sheyda, which means lovesick is fitting for such an occasion as this. Names do have meanings.
The start of my road to freedom
After I worked out one day with my son, I felt drained. But it was more than a physical drain: it was emotional, mental, and spiritual. My soul felt tired, like it just needed rest. Later that night I went downstairs to find a snack. With my treat in hand, I walked towards the steps and the voice of the Lord said, “Look up.” And when I did, there it was. I was standing in perfect alignment with the Moon. Its glowing effect was confirmation that I was at the right place at the right time. I just knew in my gut that God was watching over me. I cried and cried and cried, as I marveled at the Moon. Amid my gratitude, the Lord’s voice instructed me to get on my knees. And so, I did. I’ve learned especially, great things happen when we position ourselves on our knees, and in front of the Lord’s throne. For, it’s a place of failure yet redemption; a place of despair yet hope; a place of shame yet forgiveness; a place of defeat yet power. Surely, it’s a plea of mercy and respect- you’re now in total submission to God’s will.
That night, I was given the freedom to release all the anguish and tiredness into the couch, so the children wouldn’t hear me. Afterwards, I just sat there. I was present in the moment and aware of my thoughts. This personal time I had in silence embarked a road to freedom. For some reason, my attention was on the portrait of dad and me. It was enormous. So much so, it was placed on an easel for maximum support. I had centered this image of us, right at the front entrance of my home. It was on display for all who entered and exited my home. The more I stared at it, the more I understood. It became obvious to me that the little girl inside, still sought approval from him; even, if it was received through a picture. It was at that moment that I released that yearning to be loved and respected like his other children. I didn’t care anymore if they were supported more than me. All I knew was God was watching over me and that meant everything. I finally accepted my soul as unique. A soul that many will resist, but a soul that many will need. I then acknowledged, I am worthy of all good things!
When I left the couch to view the Moon again, I couldn’t see it anymore. I was disappointed because I know it doesn’t orbit that fast. So, I stood there for a while and stared at the night sky. Then, I heard so clearly that familiar One Voice, “Go back to the spot.” I walked over to the exact spot where I previously stood. Next, I looked up and there it was, the moon brightly shining. Then, I declared out-loud, “The Moon is still there. It never changed; it was my perception that changed. Just like, God never left me. Nor did HIS disposition change; HE was there all along. But, I couldn’t see HIM because the clouds of fear and distractions were in the way. But if I remain positioned in God’s flow, the clouds shall pass by giving me enough to see that HE hasn’t left me.” I recognize now that when I was out of alignment, my mind would wonder. Unfortunately, this led me to search outside for HIS presence, instead of inside. It’s important that we align ourselves with everything God represents: HIS love, which is unconditional and permanent; HIS greatness which is faithful and consistent; HIS knowledge which is inspiring and transforming; HIS peace which is soothing and endless; and HIS joy which is up-lifting and eternal. That night, standing in the hallway, looking up to the ceiling window pane, I felt freedom for the first time.
The start of my road to destiny
I pray this book will give you hope in times of trouble and a smile during great pain. I ask The Lord to comfort you in your moments of sadness and carry you when no one else is around. I believe God will show you his mighty power in such a vast world and wisdom when you fail yourself. I pray your journey is filled with God’s favor and opened doors of opportunities, all leading to abundance. I see right now that God will release to you the resources needed to manifest your maximum potential through HIS will. In other words, your purpose. I declare this in faith and in love. In Jesus name, I pray. AMEN. AMEN. AMEN.