Sometimes it feels like we are biting much more than we can chew. I know many times we feel like we are running a race on a hamster wheel, against ourselves. Because when one thing is sorted out; another thing happens. I personally have been feeling that way lately & it has been extremely uncomfortable. These past few months, I have been very transparent about being in one of the most unique & uncomfortable faith tests of my life. If I were to be honest, I hate it. But my faith (hence, the current faith test I am in) tells me it will all be sorted out & God holds me near. I am sure, with the current times, many people are feeling much like I am; especially with the holidays close & our inability to gather in the ways we are use to.
Normally, I will start talking about how we are going to get through this time & that God will not put us through anything we can’t handle. Although that seems promising & sounds good; I recently heard a different perspective on this. Pastor Tony Evans told his congregation that often times, God gives us more than we can handle because it helps shape us into the very person we are supposed to be. This resonated with me because every time, in the mist of my chaos, God met me. Every time, when life was too much, God has shown me that he was able to relieve me from the stresses that were too difficult for me but never too difficult for him. My drama has taught me empathy & has molded my ability to encourage those who will be where I am; after me. Because the truth is, our testimonies are not for us. They are for someone else. Someone who will be in the same place we are in now; who is having a difficult time getting through, moving forward & functioning solely on faith.
I am able to write these memoirs every week because they are MY experiences meant for YOU. Life is a classroom; sometimes you will be the teacher & many times the student. We just have to be willing to accept the role we are assigned in that particular time of our lives. Our ability to be the teacher to someone else comes from being the student, failing the test & trying again. Therefore, along with the theme of every other memoir, I am going to remind you that this obstacle is temporary & that your life has purpose. To give up & to lose faith is not only a disservice to you but to the lives of those that will follow after you. Even when life gives you too much to chew, know that you are not chewing alone. There have been other people where you are now & God stands with you in the midst of it all.
You are history. You are a story. You are a trailblazer. You are power. You are strength. You are light. You are life. You are love.
Hey, loves! Today is a pretty exciting day! Nickkie&Co. has not had a Guest Inspiration in quite a while. However, a long time friend & fellow woman in Christ, Quiomayra Figueroa, has offered her Testimony to share with us today. She brings forward the conversation that religion & a relationship with christ are NOT the same thing. In fact, relationship is so much more. Tune in & check out the brief summary of her journey. It might sound a lot like yours. Thank you Quio for your testimony.
My name is Quiomayra Figueroa and I am 31 years old, born in Camden and raised in Pennsauken, New Jersey. This is my story of a born sinner saved by an awesome father God in heaven.
I knew who God was but never really had a “relationship” with the Lord, it was more religion than anything else. I grew up in the Catholic Church; that’s where the foundation started but it didn’t continue. The seed was planted in me by my parents to know who God was and that Jesus died on the cross but never really experienced or understood the importance of having a relationship with God, to understand why Jesus died on the cross for us, and to be thankful and devoted like I am now. Back then what I knew about being a Christian was to “do this do that” and “if you don’t follow these rules you are going to hell and God is going to punish you”. Because of that, I didn’t have a desire to seek the Lord because I thought I had to be perfect. I didn’t fully understand why God allowed things to happen in this world and why I had to be a part of it; I didn’t believe it at the time because a lack of understanding.
I then started to do things my way. I went to college to do something that I was passionate about to help people and the community I grew up in; I went for criminal justice. In my college, I didn’t really experience the partying scene in school but I experienced it outside with the group of people I grew up with. I did what I wanted and what I thought was “living life”. I was partying, drinking like crazy, and going out to the clubs all the time. Looking back now I basically got myself into a lot of situations that I could’ve avoided that were dangerous. Thank the Lord he had me covered. I was also not in the best relationship. I don’t blame the person I was with because we obviously weren’t meant to be and that’s okay. I remember after graduating college I was in a relationship for four years with a man I thought I was going to marry. While we were together I started to seek the Lord with a couple of my family members due to situations in my family; we decided to go to church and I loved it. I kept attending and curious about God; wanting more. I was baptized and I made that declaration to the Lord that I was going to follow him and change my life around but I wasn’t fully dedicated. At this point in my life I became a “luke warm Christian” with one foot in and one foot out. I didn’t want to let go of my old lifestyle; not fully trusting the God. I thought my life was good; I had a boyfriend, we lived together, working in my field of study, and got a dog. In reality though, things were following apart.
Just like on social media, people post what they want you to see. Who post’s up their failures or what’s going on in their life? My relationship with my boyfriend at the time failed, just like people in my life that love the Lord and prayed for me, said it would. I am not bashing the person I was with; but our situation. I knew that I was doing things out of God’s order. The relationship ending helped me to take the rose colored glasses off my eyes. I was able to be like you know what God “ I’m TIRED of how I’m living, TIRED of the partying and the drinking, TIRED of the failed relationships, TIRED of being mad at the world with different situations, trying to be in control and not getting good results. I decided that day to just say “I’m done” and I started to really seek the Lord a different way; on his terms because in the past I didn’t handle problems well my way.
When I was in high school during my senior year and part of my college life I handled situations so differently, unhappy and depressed. I would literally shut myself from the world, not wanting to be bothered by anyone. I would lock myself in the room, sleep all the time and I wouldn’t have an appetite. I remember my mom knocking on the door in my room to check up on me and I would not let her in. I went from weighing 135 to 105 real quick; at my worst. At a certain point I snapped out of that depression in which God delivered me from and I decided to leave it in God’s hands! Once I made that decision to follow Christ wanting his peace and his joy, I ended up finding another church home; not because where I was wasn’t a bible preaching church but because I needed something different. Where I attend now has helped me to grow in relationship with the Lord and not just what people call “religion”. I get to learn who God is as our father and our friend. I have a community of family who know and love the Lord just like me that I can be accountable to. Because let’s face it, nothing is ever going to be perfect; we are human with real problems. Just because we are followers of Christ doesn’t mean we are not prone to trials in this world because we decided to take this step. That’s a promise from the Lord that we will have to “face troubles but to take heart because he has already overcome the world”(John 16:33) when he died on that cross for us. That’s the beauty of it! We are going to fail in some way, shape or form. I feel true conviction when it happens which is good, but as long as we continue to trust the Lord and give it to him, he will help us, he will show up and he will change our lives like never before!
God wants to meet us where we are; that’s where he can work in us. We don’t have to come to him perfect. He tells us to draw closer to him and he will draw closer to us (James 4:8). Because of that decision I made a long time ago, to accept this invitation from the Lord to follow him, my life has never been the same. Life’s purpose that he has for me and you is to encourage people, to allow them to see the love of Christ and to tell them the good news about him. It’s the whole point of life, to love God and love people.
Life has a funny way of making us grow in the midst of our discomfort. Despite the various ways in which I experienced this; 2020 has had a special way of confirming this. Granted, in spite of all the chaos, God has blessed me immensely. However, I can recognize the various, uncomfortable experiences that served to be learning opportunities that contributed to making me more resilient.
I know things have been significantly difficult this year. There is one obstacle after another & very little time to recover. But this year has taught me something significant about human-beings; we are survivors. We survive, keep surviving & then we thrive. We have a natural instinct to keep fighting even when the odds are against us.
Love, I may not know exactly what you are experiencing right now. But I do know that this message is for you. Sometimes we need things to occur by happenstance to motivate us to move forward. Understand that you reading this memoir today is not a coincidence. It was meant for you.
It is no surprise that things have been quite difficult lately. All the external factors, coupled with managing every facet of your life, is adding significant & unwanted stress to your already hectic life. Whatever the circumstance, you will get through this. Throughout your life you have overcome setbacks & loses; this is no different. You have lived & survived while managing the various roles & maintaining a life you have set out for yourself. In all the chaos, you have become multifaceted; a forced to be reckoned with. Take the time you need- reflect & readjust. Believe that what you want is yours. It is all apart of God’s divine plan. Trust the process. The journey will get you to where you are supposed to be. But I can assure you, a loss is not waiting for you at the finish line.
Good morning! Today is a new day & we are able to start the new week with a new perspective. If yesterday’s election results showed us anything, it showed us that the numbers matter. When people come together fueled by a passion to contribute to change, we can shift the trajectory of outcomes! But this is something, unfortunately, we already knew– we just fail to practice it as often as we can. Furthermore, there is now clear representation set before us! As women, mothers, daughters, sisters & minority women; there is someone that looks like us bypassing restrictions & showing us what is possible.
Now little girl’s know that becoming a person of power in a world not necessarily made for them, is a very real possibility. Their ability to shatter glass ceilings is something all of them will be able to do. They no longer have to accept the narrative someone else has written out for them. Why? Because something amazing happened. Our little girl’s can look at Kamala, & even if they don’t get it now, see that she is them. They can set new standards, & be the first, all & everything because of the representation set before them. I can not even begin to express how important that is.
We all grew up hearing what we could not do because we were “girls”. Whether it was playing with the boys or expressing ourselves in attire- it was all based on what someone decided we should do because of our gender. Our career decisions were guided by those who love us in ways that ensured we remained lady-like. However, for whatever reason, jobs that afforded us too much power, was outside of a woman’s place. Now people’s outdated standards for the lives of women, will no longer have the ability to take precedence. Have the conversation with your little one’s. Use the opportunity to empower your little girls to go for it & talk to your little boys so they are never the reason little girls have to fight harder for the spots they have earned.
Let what happened yesterday begin to change the narrative– forevermore.
In life we will go through various circumstances that require deep reflection but provide the same epiphany. Despite the unfavorable situations I may have experienced, a person’s sentiments or motivations behind what they have done is none of my freakin’ business.
I had to force myself to understand that what a person does, how they choose to live their lives, or treat others has nothing to do with me but everything to do with them. Unfortunately, I just got caught in the crossfire of whatever turbulent &/or toxic life experience they subjected themselves to. Alas, many people only know how to communication with toxicity. But again, that is not my fault or the fault of anyone else but that person. My only job is to ensure that I do not give it forward but ensure that light is what people encounter when they have an encounter with me.
So today, I ask you to let the burden go. Stop wondering what if. Stop wondering what you could have done to make the situation better. Stop putting their BS on your plate to swallow. Trust me, they will have to deal with the consequences of their actions without you even having to interfere. God is not about to play about his so let him do what he promised he will do & work on healing.
Healing is yours. Do not give anyone the luxury of keeping that from you.
Here’s food for thought, everyone does not have the same intention, spirit or heart as you do. We see the signs, ignore them & attempt to provide justification to why our spirit (intuition) is in dismay. But the truth is, sometimes there does not need to be justification. Sometimes, people’s spirit simply does not align with ours & it is best to handle that person or situation accordingly.
Many of us assume that the people we interact with have the same heart as we do, that they mean well, & their intentions are pure. However, I am sure many of us can attest, after many heartbreaks & disappointments — that couldn’t be further than the truth. We have an innate instinct rooted in us to protect ourselves. We have been blessed with the ability to discern when something is not good for us. However, more often than not, we choose what we want to see over how someone or something is making us feel. That is when we fail ourselves & leave ourselves susceptible to mistreatment, disappointment, discouragement, distrust & emotional anguish.
I have become familiar with the practice of accepting what & how I feel without needing rationalization as to why I feel that way. Because of that, I am able to reflect & acknowledge that when I listened to that feeling, I was always better off. However, when I didn’t, there was hell to pay & the recovery was painful. Therefore, I encourage you today to avoid the unnecessary by listening & trusting your instinct. We were created to preserve ourselves & take heed to the people & things that may not have the intention we hope for.
If you feel uneasy, accept & acknowledge that. If that guy makes you anxious; take it serious. You are not anxious for no reason. If you have a hard time believing what is coming out of someone’s mouth (without proof) believe what you feel. If someone’s actions say one thing but you feel something else, take heed. The world is too short to ignore the signs. Your discomfort is the sign. If you cannot pinpoint the problem but you know there is one, that is sufficient justification. We spend so much time giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, that we do not give ourselves the same benefit. Don’t allow your mistrust in other people or things, keep you from trusting yourself. You are in this for your own self interest, your own preservation & your own deliverance. Regardless of what happens, all you have is you.
For the past few months, I have been extremely hard on myself trying to keep off the “quarantine-15” I gained a few months back. Though the progress is evident in the stats, the fact that I can’t “see” the results have caused me to lose patience & not appreciate what has been accomplished thus far. My inability to enjoy the process has caused me to be a little less than kind to myself. However, my perspective changed significantly, when I was hit with a stomach bug & had to marvel at the process my body takes to bounce back.
I actually found myself apologizing to my mind & body for not accepting what it does every day to keep me alive & in good health. I wake up every day with a sound mind, a joyful spirit & a body that pumps healthy blood through me every day. Although, it may take longer for me to physically get the results I want; underneath it all my body is working.
But the truth of the matter is- we are all guilty of this & we all owe ourselves an apology.
Too often we fail to love ourselves the way we need to. We are so much more forgiving to other people than we are to ourselves. We push ourselves to unreasonable limits under the context that we need to work harder. We maintain very abuse relationships with ourselves (physically, spiritually, mentally) & then we fix our mouths to call it “self-care”. We allow negative thoughts to invade our minds & then tell ourselves we are not doing enough. Our body tells us to rest & we still overbook ourselves & say that we are being a good friend, sister & lover. We are there for everyone but ourselves.
But what we need most, is to consistently be a good steward to ourselves. Self care does not only entail taking a bubble bath & drinking wine on a Sunday night. In fact it has everything to do with how we treat ourselves, how we talk to ourselves, how we set boundaries (even for ourselves), how we put time aside to rest & how we pay attention when any aspect of our body speaks to us.
We grew up in a society that presumes that the millennial generation has no true understanding of life & what to expect. For years, generations before us have attempted to dictate what success, relationships & family life should look like for us. However, when we refused to conform to that image, we lacked drive. But the truth is, we saw how life works & we concluded that life does not necessarily deal fair cards & we did something about it.
Instead of allowing the system to dictate our value, we let our creativeness take precedence. Entrepreneurs is an understatement with the talents & standards we have begun to unlock & monetize from. However, those who do not get it, will never understand why we find it ok to do things our way. As women, we have decided that our family can constitute our friends without having to marry & have children; if we do not want to. We set standards in our romantic relationships that those before us may not have had the confidence to set. We decided that we can have our own businesses doing things that generations before us did for free. We have learned to make social media work for us & have ran down the walls of universities grabbing degrees & opportunities that were withheld from those before us.
We are making it known, what worked for our parents is not the only way to ensure life works for us. Despite what many people think, we have drive. It just may not look like anyone else’s. Instead of settling, we have decided we want it all & we are coming for it. That is not an unrealistic expectation. It is an understanding that life is not limited & we can get it all with strategic planning. Most importantly, we can have fun doing it. However, just as a path was paved for us, we have created a platform for those after us.
So if you’re millennial reading this, keep those creative juices flowing & set the standards for what you want life to look like. Ignore the noise. Do life your way.
After all, it SHOULD be done your way. It is your life to begin with.