People always want to know how I did this or that. How did I get on the cover of magazines, or on Oprah and Nightline? And I've never been confused, this is not of my doing, but God's! I was simply obedient to the call, purpose and mission for my life and God did the rest.
God knows the end from the beginning. God knew that I would make the choices that I made based on what I knew and understood about life. What people fail to realize is that we are all shaped by own social location; meaning, ones journey and all that it encompasses, from who our mother is, to the neighborhood we grow up in. It's interesting, research shows that adult children of alcoholic's tend to be either underachievers or overachievers, both shaped by living with an alcoholic. For sure that has been my case. I'm an overachiever to the extreme.
So here I am, honest, transparent and candid with no filter. I say in my book, The Politics of Respectably, that I am a stray dog with a designer bow on her head. For Real..
But what's so wonderful about God is that God can, will and does use everything and everybody. The Bible says, "The Rejected Stone became the Corner Stone." This is my testimony, that God saw in me what no one else could see. My step-grandmother, the one who raised me from age 6, the one that I called Mama and depended on for food, shelter and love told me and I quote her, "You ain't never gonna be shit," but God made her words a lie unto herself that she couldn't face, not even at death.
|Rev. Clay Evans|
I remember my interview with the Dean at McCormick Theological Seminary, she said to me, absolutely we would love to be the place that help you develop in ministry and they offered me a merit scholarship.
But by the time I graduated from seminary Rev. Evans had retired and my new Pastor at Fellowship M. B. Church wasn't sure about me. I can't speak for him, only what he said to me and how I interpreted it.
Well, at first he said he would ordain me after I gradated from seminary. Then after 2 reschedules he told me that I wasn't ready. Other ministers had offered to ordain me from day one, but I had no reason to believe that my Pastor would not do what he said he would do. And honestly, out of my love and loyalty to Rev. Evans and Fellowship I stayed and tried to work it through. But after 4 years of what I deem bullshit, I left. I had it! I remember once, I was asked to speak at a church of one of my Pastor's friends and when he got word, he called me to discuss it and at the end of the conversation, he said, "Don't embarrass me up their." That spoke volumes and told me what he truly thought of my work. I shook it off. But over time, I couldn't allow myself to stay in a space that didn't see my value or worth.
After about two years at Fourth Church I knew I needed to be somewhere. God had called me to be a minister of the Gospel and I was sitting on the pew. Not a good look to God and a waste of ones gifts. But I had no idea how to begin this journey so I did noting. I was paralyzed. doubting myself and my call. Where could I go and not get caught up in church politics? Especially because of the old boys club of ministers in the city of Chicago. So I stayed stuck. While I continued to do my public ministry, I knew that God wanted me to go higher. But just the thought of being demoralized again, just because I beat to a different drum kept me on that Pew at Fourth.
Then about the fourth year, God said enough is a enough and God intervened. I love how God shows up and shows out.
RLT Collection orders and when I turned the corner on Oak Street Pastor L Bernard Jakes was standing right there. We talked for almost 1:30 minutes, about everything. He had been seeing my Facebook post about my health, on and off IV med's. He had heard about Delta rescinding my membership, at the time, it was still a fresh wound and everyone was talking. He had heard that I wasn't at Fellowship anymore and we talked and talked and talked about it all. Standing on Oak Street he became my Pastor. He ministered to me right in front of Prada and I hadn't even joined West Point Missionary Baptist Church, had never stepped through the doors of West Point.
When I walked away I knew in my heart that Pastor. J was my Pastor and that I would be cleaved to him. It was God's perfect timing. A month later I found myself in crisis and reached out to him, a week later I joined West Point and started preparing for my Ordination Exam.
Yesterday, Rev. Dr. L Bernard Jakes ordained me as a minister in the Gospel. The ordination sermon was perched by, Rev. Dr. Reginald Wade Williams, the Pastor of First Baptist Church of University Park, IL. My GOD this man preached!
He preached to my spirit. It felt like he had peeked into my life and crafted that sermon just for me.
He said God calls you and your uniqueness to do a specific work. He went on to say that some people may not understand your call but don't give up, don't change, don't conform. When you conform to what people want you to be, they become your God! That thing hit me in the gut!
God can see in you what a man cannot see, what an organization cannot see or even what your mother cannot see.
But be clear, for sure, God will not have you to operate blindly. In Gods time, you will have an organic understanding of your life and it's purpose.
The key to your success is obedience and perseverance. Keep pressing toward the mark of high calling that God has on your life. God will make room for your gifts. They may not be the doors you think you should go through, or the "popular," or even the ones you want to go through, but they will be the doors you are suppose to go through for the work that God has for you to do.
God will reward you for walking boldly in your gifts. It has taken me 12 years since I was license as a minster, to the time I was ordained with all rights as a member of the clergy. I get it today. God's time is not our time. The best thing I did was to sit still. For sure my life was suppose to intersect with L. Bernard Jakes and the West Point Family. The day you join West Point, the entire congregation shouts out to you, "Welcome Home!" Now that was the truth to the tenth power.
Don't give up... Don't give in... Don't conform... Walk proudly in the gifts God has blessed you with and God will make room for your gifts.