Twenty-Two…

I know it seems like I’m always testifying of the goodness of God, well because I am… Bear with me because I’ve got another one 22 years in the making…

Growing up, birthdays were not a big deal and like any regular day, there was no cause for celebration. I know, now, that it was because of my parents’ upbringing and finances. Afterall, my mom had 4 children while we still lived in Nigeria and we were not, by any means, well-off. Roughly two years after moving to America, self-hatred & depression set in, I began to dread my birthday. One, I hated myself, my existence, and August 5thstood as a sore reminder of my not so glamorous life… Second, prior to when I stopped believing God was good, I would ask Him for the next year to be better than the last. I would plead for the pain to be gone, for Him to send friends that love me, for something to be different, anything… Instead with every new year, things seemed to get worse.

Fast forward to the summer of my 17th birthday, right after giving my life to Christ again, I was delivered from depression and self-hatred; however, it would take me almost 4 years to accept in and walk in it. Based on my then understanding of deliverance, I assumed I would start to cherish my birthday; however, roughly 2 weeks before my birthday, I would become overly angry. Then on August 6th, like a flip of a switch, I would be back to my normal countenance.  I learned to cope with the pain I was unwilling to deal for 14 out of 365 days. BUT my God does not prescribe solutions to help us cope, He makes it so that things never existed in the first place. He completely flips the script, here’s how…

In April, God began to expand & solidify my community which made my 14 day struggle an every day one. I was now a part of many group chats created for the sole purpose of surprising someone or getting someone a birthday gift. Through this, my insecurities about not feeling good enough and my jealousy of people who were surrounded by the love of others were put in the spotlight. Eventually I would not be able to run from them any longer. The first time I was asked to contribute to someone’s birthday celebration, I thought… 

first of all, I just joined y’all group…

go ahead & help them but watch when it’s your turn, no one will care…

don’t help, you don’t gotta because you don’t really know them that much yet…

Keep in mind, I absolutely adore the young woman the celebration was for, but good things, GOD things, will always reveal the evil, sin, flesh, and dysfunction, within. I had a choice to make, between being a slave to my insecurities and pain, or acting in opposition. I chose the latter. Every time a new chat was made, it would hurt, but I chose to fight.

One day, in a particular group chat, a brother in Christ said something, jokingly, that triggered me. Instantly, I couldn’t stop the waterworks. In that moment, I stopped making plans to have the birthday/graduation party I thought I wanted. I could no longer hide my pain, even from God; but now He could work on it. About a week later, I had an official conversation with God about the state I was in. He told me, “if you truly want to have a party, then do, but I don’t need one to show you you’re loved”. I chose to let God handle this one. Ten days later, I got into a car accident. The day after that, I became sick and was sick for 3 days. It was like even though I was trying to keep a positive attitude, everything else around me was trying to tell me, “no you were right, your birthday is just a dreadful time”. After speaking with a few friends, I decided to hold fast to the promise God gave me. When I tell you He came through, I mean HE DID HIS DARN THANG. 

On August 5, 2019 God blew my mind. I was surrounded by friends who would sing the day in with a “happy birthday”. Text messages and IG messages were so many, I was having a hard time responding to everyone. I even received money on CashApp, something I really cherished because I couldn’t work this summer. I got random birthday calls. The usual pain surrounding my birthday wasn’t there, even leading up to the day. My older brother was so kind to me. Last but not least, I had my first surprise party. I’ve always wanted people who say they love me to throw me a surprise party, but I never told God or anyone else. 

Not Everyone that came out is pictured because some had to leave! Shout out to emmanphotography.com for the pictures!

I say, “thank you God”. Thank you to all the people who wished me a happy birthday. Thank you to the wonderful people that put together the surprise dinner party and everyone that showed up. Thank you for just making me feel loved! You all helped break strongholds you may not have been aware of! I love you all!

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