I really can’t believe today was my last day of undergrad. The last four years have been very interesting to say the least.
As I woke up to a drunk girl (still have no idea who she is) on my futon this morning, I remembered what college was all about. No, not drinking ….. but freedom to make decisions that can change your life forever.
There was never a time where I didn’t have the freedom to make a choice. And there was also never a time that I didn’t have to face the consequences of those choices.
Undergrad opened up an entire world of diversity that I knew nothing about. There are so many people with so many thoughts and opinions that could cloud your head if you let it. But if you take a step back and realize you don’t have to be anybody other than what God called you to to be, it becomes a whole new experience. A life changing experience.
College is the one place you can go from happy to sad in the matter of 5 minutes. Just when you thought you were ahead of the game, along came another assignment. College is being SO BROKE that you have to eat sleep for dinner. College is taking a nap at 9 pm so you can be energized enough to study for an exam. College is having the freedom to wear the same outfit two days in a row because your Tuesday/Thursday classmates know nothing about your Monday/Wednesday life. College is talking to the same person in class everyday, but never getting their name.
I’m being silly now, but college was also very hard.
Now I’ll be very transparent because I believe transparency is what brought about my healing. Once I opened up to God, he captivated my heart and cleaned me up. Never do I ever want to portray myself as a perfect person and it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows.
Sometime last year I was so close to being in someone’s AA meeting. Nobody knew how I was feeling or what I was going through. Friends didn’t know, and family didn’t know. I thought I was hidden away from the world. But God saw me. Everything just seemed to accumulate. I lost my grandma. I lost my boyfriend. I lost my money. I lost my friends. I lost myself and I felt like I was losing my mind. I felt like I couldn’t tell anyone, because I’m supposed to be the one who “has it all together,” you know? So I kept it all to myself. I felt like a waste basket that people used but were never really interested in how I was actually doing. I felt like I was always there for people, but no one was ever there for me. Every night turned into a drinking binge and every morning turned into a fake smile as I tried to cover up my pain.
I thought I was facing everything alone, until God reminded me I wasn’t alone at all. I thank God every day for snatching me out of that downward spiral of destruction. I was so broken and God met me right down in my mess.” You’re not too dirty. You are loved,” he said. He truly created beauty out of ashes. At that moment, I could have made the decision to keep up my behavior and become an alcoholic, or I could put down the bottles and truly follow Jesus. I think you all can see what I chose to do and it has made all the difference. I’m so grateful that I serve a God who never says “this is the last time I’m helping you.” I’m overwhelming thankful to serve a God who sees beauty in my brokenness. “Forgiveness was born with the precious blood of Jesus Christ.”
So friends, if you ever wondered why I’m so defensive about not drinking anymore, now you know why. God called me to be so much greater than a temporary fix. He showed me that I was really just lacking intimacy and a relationship with him. He filled every void I was seeking to be filled.
College brought a lot of headaches, mental breakdowns, and tears. But there was also a ton of laughter, friendship and amazing memories. I think that outweighs any of the hardship I faced. Thank you to all my friends and family who have shown me they loved me throughout these years.
Thank you Arnesha for always answering my random crazy calls and text messages without hesitation no matter how bizarre they were. lol. I know I’m a real live mess sometimes. Thank you for sticking it out with me over the last 7 years through the ups and downs. You’re such a beautiful soul. Your favorite scripture sets the tone for your entire life, never forget it. Proverbs 3: 5-6. Never settle and always love yourself.
Thank you Delaney for picking me up when I felt like all I could do was cry. I don’t think you know how much you actually mean to me. Thank you for your kind words, books and love. I admire your strength and ability to exude love for others. You’re solid gold.
Thank you Impact for taking me in as your own and radiating God’s love to me. You guys swooped right in at the right time and now I get to become closer and watch every one of you grow in Christ. It’s a blessing to have people willing to get down in trenches with you and pray for you right there. You guys are amazing.
Thank you to my sisters Destiny and Kayla for always being ride or dies and ready to swing at whoever disrespects me. I’m the “wimp” out of you two lol. But you guys don’t play any games when it comes to me and I appreciate that. Everything you guys feel, I feel right with you. We just have a bond that’ll never be broken. Don’t ever forget that I’ll always be here for you. Y’all ain’t never getting rid of me, because we just have way too many memories. “KEEP SWIMMING. KEEP SWIMMING”……. “I’M A HEFFA, YOU A HEFFA, WE ALL HEFFAS, WHY CANT WE BE HEFFAS TOGETHER???” hahahaha (inside jokes) Remember OHANA. Nobody gets let behind. I can’t wait to get matching tats with you guys soon. Grandma is smiling at the young women you guys are becoming. You guys are so beautiful.
Thank you to my brother and sisters Big, Dia and Tierra for coming out swinging for me whenever I needed encouragement and prayers. Y’all keep me going foreal. You guys are so inspiring and powerful young people of God. Y’all UNASHAMED and I love it! I’m so blessed to have you guys as siblings, and I’m rocking with y’all til they put me in the ground!! Big, I apologize for knocking you down to the ground during a simple game of hide and seek hahaha. That was totally unnecessary haha. But you are such an inspiration to me. Any girl that’s interested in you gotta come through ALL of us!! Because we know you’re a catch. You are God’s son and I can’t wait to see his work through you. And Dia, girl you POPPIN’ and Christ is written ALL OVER YOU. Never change that. You not beating me in a race though hahahaha. Tierra, girl you are so mighty to be such a small woman hahaha. If you ever want to catch these hands again let me know hahaha just kidding. Your prayers and drive is ADMIRABLE. God has you exactly where you’re supposed to be.
Thank you Talia for making my stomach do flips and turns at how good your cooking is! I always knew I was gon’ eat good when I visited y’alls house. And the dessert? Boyyyyyyy. You know I love snacks hahaha. I love being around you. Your smile and laughter makes me smile and laugh. You’re so good with kids and I hope I can one day have the magic touch like you!
Thank you Daddy for always knowing just what to say even when I don’t even ask or tell you what’s going on. It’s like you have superpowers for knowing how to word things without even knowing how much I need to hear them. Those texts that begin with “Hey Pooh” can turn any frown into a smile. You never fail to make me laugh. Every time I walk in the house you say, “you look pretty” or “where you going Pooh? You gotta hot date?” hahaha. I appreciate you for making me feel beautiful!
And thank you Mom, for paving the way for me to get me exactly where I am today. All the tears, financial hardship, and losing your mother never deterred you from being the amazing mother you are! You instilled God into me. You gave up everything for me, Destiny and Kayla. You’re our rock, whether you know it or not. I’ve seen you literally break your back for us and I honestly don’t know how you ever did it. We NEVER went without anything. How is that even possible? We were clothed well, properly fed, and had a roof over our head at all times. If I can be HALF the woman you are, I’d be so grateful. I really couldn’t have done any of this without you and your foundation.
I learned so much about myself as an undergrad. I learned to confidently walk in my faith and I also found my identity in Christ. I think that was one of the best things that ever happened to me.
With the help of God, not only did I make it, I excelled at it too. I made the Dean’s list every single semester, won a scholarship every single year, my mom never had to reach in her pocket to pay a dime, I am graduating cum laude and was able to secure a graduate assistantship that completely pays for graduate school. I’m not saying this to brag about me, but to brag about my God. I’m sure there are people who don’t think you deserve anything. And if we’re being honest, we probably don’t. But we have to remember God puts us exactly where he wants us, even if no one thinks we deserve the position.
Now it’s all coming to an end, but really it’s just starting. I can’t wait to see where everyone ends up.
To my friends who are moving on to another phase of life, PLEASE remember we need each other. You need encouraging, supportive people in your life. You also need people who hold you accountable for your actions and help you become the best person you can be. You don’t ever have to face anything alone. Call me if you need me and I’ll do all I can for you.
So as we get ready to walk across that stage this weekend, I want you guys to know I love you and I’m rooting for you all! Class of 2017, it’s been so real!!!!!!