June 23, 2015

Single, Successful, and Saved: The Journey of MiMi

Life ain't always beautiful, but it's a beautiful ride.
Everyone has a story and every story contains chapters of our lives that shapes who we are and reveal the road we traveled to get to the present moment. My story goes something like this .......

I grew up as a second child of six  and I believe I struggled with my identity from the time I was able to remember because being in a huge family of six can be quite a circus. Oftentimes, I felt my voice was drowned and I was in the way. I was a frail, wide-eyed, little girl who had big hopes and dreams from as soon as I could remember. I would curl up in corners and read books to no end avail and get lost in fantasy worlds to escape realities of my childhood. Life seemed so much better in a flip of a page and a well-written plot. The seed was planted at a young age for me to be a writer and so I lived life vicariously through books.  My parents divorced when I was entering middle school and this affected me more than they will ever know. The cohesion and unity of family is a sustenance that can make childhood bearable but I am wise enough to know that divorce is inevitable in some cases and in such cases, in the end, it is best for all involved. My childhood was average. I was loved, endured trials, but survived. I rarely went to church, had little to no concept of God, Jesus, or the Bible, though and I think a part of me desperately wanted to know who was this "Jesus" that many people talked about.

At the age of 17, a friend invited me to church and I finally met Jesus. I received Christ after a few visits and the Holy Spirit immediately said, "Lay down your life and follow Jesus. You've been called to take the Gospel to the nations." I laughed at God as Sarah did in Genesis 18:12 and mentally checked that off my "to do list." I was living righteous and holy for awhile but I felt weird and like an outcast because I was trying to live a pure life in an impure world.

At the age of 18, after graduating from high school, I became spiritually rebellious. I'd just endured a break up with my boyfriend, left my parents home in an emotional outrage, and I was angry with God and homeless. With nowhere to stay, I became an aimless wanderer. I was in college majoring in education and trying desperately to find a home when I was reunited with my high school crush who easily became my boyfriend. His name was Daniel and he was perfection in my eyes. I shared a lot of firsts with Daniel and he with me, namely our love. Daniel was the first guy I was madly in love with. He spoiled me and took me on flights, we studied the Bible together, attended church, read books, and traveled. We were inseparable, so it seemed. Fast forward to almost a year later and I was pregnant. Daniel broke up with me and so began the journey of being a single mom.

I graduated with my Associates degree in 2004, and started college to complete my BSEd, two weeks later. I was eight months pregnant and I drove an hour and a half back and forth to a June class. I gave birth to a beautiful 8 pd, 9 oz baby girl on July 31, 2004 at 12:32 p.m.  Little did I know that she and I were in for the struggle of our life the next few years and we would survive TOGETHER.

My darling daughter, Embry Virosa.
I lived in the projects for four years while raising my daughter but I never adapted a "project mentality." Of course I received government benefits but I knew it was for a moment until I could finish college and become stable. It hurt like crazy to "need" another entity to survive but I had to swallow my pride and handle business. To survive college as a single mom, I encountered a sinful lifestyle that I pray no young mother has to endure. I used men to fill voids in my life and I had sugar daddies to help me with living expenses. They meant nothing to me personally, but I liked the trips, cars, clothes, hairstyles, money, money, money. I graduated with a BSEd in December of 2006, 7 weeks after my daughter's father was killed in a plane crash. I became a high school teacher in 2007 and began the life of an "educated" single mother.

I entered a deep depression but still enrolled in and attended graduate school and received a Master's of Education in December of 2008 and taught college English courses when I was 27 years old, as well as taught high school as a single mother. It was a hectic life and I wanted to give up on many occasions but something within propelled me forward. On the outside I was living the life but I was still yielded to men, sex, lies, games, clubbing, drinking, twerking, and just being foolish. Until one day, I looked at my daughter and realized that I was not the womanly example I wanted to set for her. All those frivolities that I thought would mean something left me empty, and after the doors closed and the lights went off, I cried myself to sleep at night because as Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes, life without God is meaningless. Purely, simply, meaningless. So, I repented to God and begged Him to change my heart and lay a new foundation in my life, one grounded in Jesus.

Transformation did not happen over night, it took years and I am still a work in progress. And I wish people on the Christian quest would understand that - salvation is a daily desire. Each day we are faced with new mercies and God's grace. Not to "get it right" but to "get in line" with the attitude and heart of Christ in our daily endeavors and not be devoured by legalism and dogma which seemingly overpowers and complicates the true essence of the cross - atonement, reconciliation, intercession, and LOVE.

I got married in 2010 and later divorced in 2011. I plan to discuss that  further in a future blog. I soon found myself alone again with just me and my daughter and I was back in my hometown  of Albany, GA with the aspirations to become a writer, entrepreneur, and a speaker of the Gospel. I was not going to let being a single mother hinder me from achieving my dreams. And so I embarked on them all and by June 2015, I had achieved them all and I was in a new city - Atlanta, GA, the place God told me would escalate all I am in Him. Here I am today, boldly and proudly proclaiming to be His. I'm still not perfect but God says I 'm worth it and for me, that is more than enough.

It took me nearly 13 years to realize and truly embody that the cure for emptiness is to center our lives on God. His love fills the emptiness of human experience. I no longer look to a man to complete me. If I marry, fine. If I don't, fine, too. I have been through enough heart ache and heart break to see the glory of God manifest to know that no human's love can ever compare to God's love for me. Throughout my relationship with Christ, I have learned that I have to first learn to be faithful to him. If I am not faithful to Jesus, how can I be faithful to a man?

Today, I play many roles that surpasses being "just a single mother." At this point in my life, I love being an entrepreneur for Twelve and creating fashionably loud clothing that ignites conversation about Christ, being a mom to the most precious daughter ever, sharing the Gospel around the world, writing Christian Romance and blogging to inspire and encourage, teaching in the public school district, all the while, pursuing an Educational Specialist degree in Informational Technology. I don't allow my parental role to define me, yet my identity lies solely in Christ.
Twelve in your city. We share the Gospel, fashionably LOUD.

I've given up trying to understand some things that have happened to me in life and have accepted them as they are. It doesn't make life easier because the unknown truly bothers me but each time the past threatens to haunt me, I silently chant this: "Trust in the Lord with your whole heart [MiMi], and lean not unto your own understanding [MiMi], and in all thy ways acknowledge him and  he will direct your paths [MiMi]" (Proverbs 3:5). And immediately my soul is soothed. I don't have to know it all because the God I serve knows it all and I sit well with that.

Thank you for reading. Please feel free to share, comment, and hug your heart and know Jesus loves you.
Just another day in the office!