On Finding God (Again)
The moment I turned eighteen, I went to get my first tattoo. Years of brainstorming and doodling in the margins of my notebook led me to what I felt was the perfect mantra — "Let go & let God." Years later, I rarely even remember that it's on my wrist. More, its small cursive lettering, paired with natural fading, make it look now as though it says, "Let go & let Dad" — a running joke amongst my friends. Yet recently, my tattoo has felt all the more significant.
I moved to Atlanta entirely on faith. I didn't have a job lined up and Jeremiah's fell through at the last minute. We left behind our friends, immediate family, familiarity and New York City's tough love for the unknown. Despite being in a relationship for less than a year, we both knew in our hearts that this was it — we were in it for the long haul and moving to a new state to begin a new journey would be a part of that — and so we jumped in headfirst.
Yet, as soon as we moved, my strength was immediately tested. We were thrown into a period of upheaval & change — both good and bad. We moved three times in our first two months, started new jobs that made us unhappy, unpreparedly adopted a dog, got engaged in New Orleans, and then moved again. Simultaneously, I struggled with my mental health — in January, I was diagnosed with depression + generalized anxiety — in addition to feeling completely at odds with Southern culture. I blamed the tough transition on Jeremiah (sorry, babe!) and the things outside of my control. By the time February rolled around, after many breakdowns, I left my high-paying job in favor of going home to Rhode Island to heal and reset.
I tell you all of this not because I enjoy sharing my personal + difficult times, but because these experiences led me back to God.
I don't know that I had abandoned God per say, but I had been living a life where I imagined that everything I experienced, whether good or bad, was of my own doing. I've always been a spiritual person and believed in God/Christ/a Higher Power/the Energy Source/the Universe, but prayer, reflection, meditation, reading and studying had completely evaporated from my day-to-day life. I attended church with Jeremiah, but often zoned out, and I did nothing to further my relationship with God.
And then that began to change.
It started small. Jeremiah has a cousin, Lysandra, who radiates light, and every time I saw her, I would tell Jeremiah that I could feel God shining through her. I wanted to radiate God's love and be a positive person, too. Then, I noticed that a few women at work would openly chat about going to church, Bible Study, etc., and it made me curious. Eventually, I started asking questions — What church do you attend? What kind of Bible study is it? What version of the Bible do you read? My girlfriend, Ayanna, receives daily emails of inspiration/scripture from her church and I'd read over everything she forwarded to me. I joined a Life Group at church centered on mental health and found so much love, passion and gentleness that each meeting nearly brought me to tears.
I started pushing myself to find time for daily meditation (journaling), prayer and study. I head to church every Sunday with my notebook, where I write the things that resonate with me so that I can reflect on them later. I talk to my friends and family about God frequently in order to challenge my own understanding of Him. And, quite honestly, I feel the most healthy and happy I've been in a very long time. Despite life's current hardships (and there are quite a few), I feel like I have something bigger and more important to lean in to.
I recently (like, yesterday) started reading Complete Works of H. Emilie Cady and I'm already so blown away by what I'm learning. This quote particularly stands out to me:
Do you believe in God/the Universe/a Higher Power? Is it something that you talk about in your day-to-day life? How do you connect to God? xx