Updated: Aug 15
A few weeks ago, I was asked to speak at a Women’s Prayer Breakfast( the breakfast was this weekend though). I was asked to share my testimony. I immediately thought, what in the world would I say. I ask the organizer, what do you want me to talk about and she said it’s up to you😳
I read the theme scripture of the breakfast and immediately my mind begin to fill up with all the things that I could talk about. I thought about the divorce, I thought about the 45 days I slept on a cot beside my dad's bed in hospice. Those 45 days were so grueling and exhausting. Though it was hard, there was no place I'd rather be at the time. My dad kept me up all night talking watching Star Trek. One of my lovely sisters gifted him the series (he was a Treky but I was in misery). He slept during the day when I had to be up and alert to greet visitors. My dad was not expected to make it through the first night at hospice but yet he got better and was released from hospice and sent home. I thought about the years I took care of my mother in law that suffered from dementia ( I cared for her until she passed away from complications of dementia), and the sudden death of my fiancé, The break downs, there were lots of break downs. I thought about the migraines that now serves as my invisible leash. Certain times of the year my migraines pop up out of nowhere. Don't get me wrong, I have well known triggers but sometimes when I have a full days of events I start to get those pre migraine symptoms and if I don't cease activity, relax and medicate, I will have a full migraine episode that can last up to two or three weeks.
I thought about my missions work and recent travel. I thought my blog and all the articles that I have written. I thought about God and how good he has been to me, even in the mist of tragedy, pain, loss and uncertainty. I thought about the focal scripture of the prayer breakfast and how impactful and how that scripture is my current mood. I thought about how God sent me what I needed when I needed it. The list goes on and on.
What I ultimately did was pray that God would inspire me on what to share, so that I would be a blessing rather than having a "woe it's me session". I don’t want pity (I hate pity). I don’t want attention. I just want to encourage someone that is going through a hard time to let purpose carry them when "Life Happens".
What I did share was the times that purpose saved my life. When my marriage of 14 years was rocky, I was hosting a blanket drive at church for the homeless. I was leading the Womens Prison Ministry at church, I was an advocate for incarcerated women, visiting women and men in prison and I was a part of a program that allowed us to sign women out of prison and go on various outings. I went on a missions trip to Guatemala. I was serving y'all.
The year I decided to leave the marriage that had gone from rocky to toxic, I double down on all the areas I could serve in and I went on a missions trip to Itta Bena, Mississippi. My money was so tight and sometimes nonexistent. I did not raise any money for that trip because I didn't have the mental capacity to deal with fundraising (fundraising is hard work, it's a second job) and all the other stuff I was going through. I recall not having the money to finish paying for the trip and decided not to go and lose the money that I already paid. My missions Leader felt that I should go on the missions trip for all the reasons that I stated that I shouldn't go and she paid the balance of my trip. She was right. Serving while accepting my failed marriage was what I needed to build me back up, remind me of who I am and why I'm here.
After John passed away unexpectedly (a couple of months before we were going to elope on vacation), I made the decision to serve on a medical mission in Africa with lots of moving parts. I didn't have all the details worked out in my head, I was uncertain about how I was going to come up with the money (because I always had a huge balance to pay out of pocket after fundraising) and the timing wasn't great but I kept showing up for meetings, raising money and completing all the items on the checklist and before I knew it, it was time to board the plane to Africa.
What I know for sure is that God has given us all gifts, callings and purpose and we need to take the time to tap into that. My gifts are Administration, Teaching, Serving & Hospitality, just to name a few. During impossible times in my life, I found myself serving and operating in those gift. I was doing the things God created me to do (My Purpose) and in doing so, I was able to thrive and survive the seasons in my life that I was absolutely sure, that I wasn't going to make it and wasn't sure if I wanted to make it. My occasional bout with depression wasn't able to drag me very long. The anxiety attacks had to stop. The migraines that wanted to rare their ugly heads almost daily, had to stop, though they now serve to yank my proverbial coat when I'm doing too much.
The thing I want you to know about utilizing your gifts for Gods purpose is that it will save your life, it will keep you focused. It will keep you grounded, it will fill you when you feel depleted. It will energize you when you feel that you have nothing left to give and operating in your purpose allows you to see who God created you to be. You see, the gifts that God gave you to serve others is also for you. I admonish you to find out what your spiritual gifts are and find every avenue, every place and every opportunity to serve and utilize those gifts and in doing so you'll find your purpose.
Fun Fact: While in Africa, I was given my Nigerian name, "Eseoghene". Which means God’s gift. The meaning is Trish is God’s gift.