I’m quite sure you’ve all seen the Facebook posts of the people who are thankful for things that happened this year. I’ve never really taken part in it. Yet year after year, when I see it pop up around the Thanksgiving season, I always think: “If these people knew what I was really thankful for, I wouldn’t have many ‘friends’ left!”
But somehow, and for some reason, this year, I DON’T CARE! I’ve come through a lot in the last 18 months, and if it wasn’t for The Lord and a couple of good, faithful, praying friends, I don’t know where I would have been right now.
Over the course of my life, I’ve been lied to and lied about. I’ve been evicted. I’ve gone through repossession of vehicles. I’ve had a season where I couldn’t figure out how to keep all the utilities on at the same time. But at the same time, I’ve also lied on others, cheated, and done things that I won’t even mention here. This year however, it seemed as though all of those roosters came home to roost at the same time, OUCH!
I know that I am called to teach and preach God’s Word. There’s no question about that. I am a Teacher, a Writer, and I love to read. I can hardly wait to begin ministering His Word once again. About 18 months ago, there was a full realization that the season for me to begin ministering again was upon me, but there was also further preparation and training that was necessary.
Well friends, that was the beginning of the mind boggling year. I honestly felt as though I was on a roller coaster with no operator on the other end to stop the ride. As best I could, I reached out to friends and family for help. Spiritual, financial, emotional, and mental. Many people came together to help me, and of course, there were some others thought it kind of strange.
“Is this really Sherma? The praying, teaching, preaching Sherma? Needing help? Well, if she needs help and she prays so much, all hope for me ever receiving from God is surely gone!” Some others thought I was just lazy and should go work a couple of jobs. Some others just listened to me share what was going on, said that they couldn’t help, and then ran to tell everyone they could meet. All of this is over now, but back then IT.WAS.BRUTAL!
You have to understand that all of it wasn’t God’s doing. I made several mistakes. (Thankfully, I graduated with top honors, from the school of hard knocks!) I know you may have heard that when you get born again and you begin to tithe that things will go right, money will flow, and the hundred fold will show up in your mailbox within 30 days. I’m sure you’ve also realized that there has to be a lot of revelation, stretching, learning, and growing that comes after the sowing, before you can get to reap.
But for me, the more the year went by, the worse things got! If it wasn’t that we had to have a roof over our heads, it was believing daily for food to eat, bills to pay, bill collectors to ward off. Then there were the mouths of those who were speaking about me, I had to ward those off too, in the spirit realm.
All in all, the best way to describe it was – it was horrible. I used to say that I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I have since changed that tune. I have learned so much this year! My relationship with God is so much better now. I now know God in a way that I never thought possible. Not only is God Who I thought He really could and should be (I had to unlearn a lot of what I was taught), but I found out that He was much better than I even imagined!
I am thankful that He brought me out of darkness this year into a place of great light. The scripture says: ARISE AND SHINE FOR YOUR LIGHT HAS COME AND THE GLORY OF GOD IS RISEN UPON YOU. (Isaiah 60:3) That verse is speaking of you and me!
The horror of the last 18 months are behind me now, and I am free. I am thankful that there is no more of the bondage of this past year. I am thankful that the season is over, and thankful for the myriad lessons learned. I am thankful because I learned how to depend on the prayers of faithful friends and family members. I am thankful because I realized how much I am loved. I am thankful because God showed me step by step how to conquer virgin territory.
The lessons I learned in these past 18 months have been the highlight of my entire life! And now, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, I am happy to open my mouth and shout to the world that GOD IS GOOD AND I AM FREE! I am thankful because I learned the lesson of not counting anyone out. I am thankful because I learned not to judge anyone or give up on someone, because their victory was taking too long to manifest. I am thankful because I learned how to accept me as I am, with every flawed facet of my being. I am thankful because I learned that if I have an emergency, that doesn’t mean that it’s your emergency. You really don’t have to respond, and that’s quite OK!
I am thankful because I learned how to ask for help if needed. I am thankful that I learned how to truly ignore what others say about me. (I’ve never really been a person that gave much attention to what others said, but I realized this year, that even though I didn’t pay much attention to it, I also didn’t do a lot to stop those thoughts from occupying space in my mind). And with that, I also learned how to say it and truly mean it: I FIND NO FAULT IN YOU! I don’t care what anyone has said or done to me. I don’t care what anyone will say or do to me in the future because I FIND NO FAULT IN THEM! No fault, none! Glory to God, that’s a place of freedom!
But the biggest thing I am thankful for this year? I am thankful to God because I REALLY FOUND MY VOICE! I’ve always known how to stand up for myself, but this year I stood up for myself on another level. Sherma’s voice on the inside and the outside, was completely amplified this year, because I had to speak up for myself on several occasions. God is my Defense and my Advocate, so I will leave the defending of Sherma, and Sherma’s actions up to Him. But, I still have to know how to open my mouth and speak up, and I’ve done it quite a lot this year.
I found my voice when there was drama surrounding me. I found my voice in the middle of betrayal. I found my voice in the midst of confusion. I found my voice when there was no voice speaking up on my behalf. That’s what really pushed me to speak out. When I realized that there was NO ONE in the natural that was speaking up FOR Sherma, no one in my corner, except for GOD!
I found my voice on another level this year, because I had to. I didn’t have a choice. I found my bold, brave, significant, teaching, preaching, praying, strong, fun-loving, courageous, immovable, anointed voice that God blessed me with! I also gave, and will continue to give God first place to defend me at all times.
THE BIGGEST THING I AM THANKFUL FOR THIS YEAR IS THAT I LEARNED TO FIND MY VOICE AGAIN, AND I LEARNED HOW TO USE IT EFFECTIVELY, WITHOUT BRINGING HURT OR HARM TO ANYONE!
HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ONE AND ALL! My prayer for you is that you too will find your voice. I also pray that you will find and enjoy the same freedom in Christ that I found in the middle of trying times. God is faithful!
© 2015 Sherma-Jacqueline Felix. All rights reserved.
About the author :
Sherma-Jacqueline is a Bible Teacher, Conference Speaker, Mentor, and Passionate Writer. She has always enjoyed writing, and started off by keeping a diary in her teens. She began prayer journaling over 18 years ago and began teaching on Prayer 11 years ago. Her desire is to see the women of God rise up and be all that they’re called to be: Bold, Strong, Courageous and overflowing with His Word!
Visit her at: shermajacqueline.tumblr.com