2020: I had no clue. I don’t think any of us had a clue.

Like everyone, I went into this year with so much hope & excitement for new opportunities, chances to grow, places to travel & just experience life to the fullest. To experience God like never before, ready for His best! I usually pray and ask God to give me a word of the year with an anchor scripture to help me navigate a year. For 2020, He gave me “Free, Indeed” from John 8:36.

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36

I kicked off this year hyped! I was ready to release anything holding me down or back. I prayed for clarity. My vision board called for more family time and slower, intentional moments. I prayed for my businesses to soar like never before. Like so many of you, I had a heart so hopeful for what was to come.

This ?? was ?? about ?? to ?? be ?? my ?? year ??!

And then 2020 actually showed up.

• My first few days of 2020 consisted of one child having, what felt like, her 99th ear infection, so we were on the tail end of that.

• Caring for the oldest child who hadn’t been sick in 2 years of some “mystery virus” that had her terribly sick for days and us back and forth to the doctors for nasal swabs, throat swabs & a blood test – all for them to come back negative or with no findings of what they were looking for. They never figured out what it was. You be the judge.

• My husband going from working out on the 1st Saturday of the year to being admitted into the hospital 2 days later. This was January 6th. It would be 8 of the longest days with him having possible kidney failure and talking options with a Nephrologist. We would meet our yearly deductible on the 6th day of the year.

• Still in school at the time, my oldest catches the flu.

• Caring for my child, the flu passes to me, the day before my 36th birthday. I would spend my birthday (which was on a Saturday), in isolation wearing a mask. You know, before mask-wearing was a thing.

• The pandemic hits – living in a state which was the very last state to close and the very first state to open.

• Ahmaud Abery. Breonna Taylor. George Floyd.

• Conversations about race that should have been held a long time ago.

• Realizing that so many people you “followed” or thought you knew were racist.

• The stresses of having children home all year.

• No breaks for my husband and I to just break and be before a pandemic. Now add being a parent, employee & human all day, everyday. All decisions, energy & emotional bank comes from you.

• No family nearby – so getting sick is not an option. We can’t be down one person with young children.

• A step forward in my business, only to miss the mark for the 3RD year in a row on the overall goal for the year. Yep. Missed it again.

• The exhaustion of being Black in America. A Black woman. Who never does it right, too loud, too much while married to a Black man & raising Black daughters.

• Having to explain racism to my 5 year old.

• Scared out of my mind when my husband leaves the house for a run to the point where I asked him to chill on running. Find a new way to cardio it up at home.

• Sleepless nights. Severe exhaustion.

• Friends getting divorced.

• Not being near friends.

• Feeling more isolated than ever before.

• Not feeling adequate. Not feeling worthy. Feeling like a failure. Angry. Upset. Mad at myself for being fearful.

• The most divisive election cycle in the history of mankind.

…and yet, my word of the year was “Free, Indeed.”

So my thought: God, you’ve GOT to be kidding me, man. Freedom?! In this? HOW?! Explain to me how. In lockdown. Feeling fearful. Feeling unsafe. Insecurities. Anger. Rooted bitterness. A million thoughts in my mind about everything. Plus I gotta keep a house moving, everyone going daily – with a good attitude, feed the kids, be in school, keep everyone healthy, be a wife, friend, daughter, counselor, businesswoman, and BE STRONG AND CORAGEOUS. Tuh.

For a minute, I really felt like I couldn’t anchor my anything in Free, Indeed. It felt like a cruel joke.

What I didn’t realize that throughout the year, the Lord had been asking me to wake up early and spend some time with Him. (sigh) Y’all. Wake up early?! Listen, I’m ALREADY tired. I can’t do that. Sorry, bruh. All through the messy year, I kept hearing it.

Finally in August, I asked my oily community for advice. Like me, so many women wanted to, but felt like I did. I knew I had to do it. God asked me to. I didn’t have a game plan or outline, but a few ladies recommended the book The Miracle Morning as a reference. I knew I would get the book eventually, but the sole purpose of spending time with Him. So I did it. And that’s when my entire life changed.

Waking up earlier allowed me to experience God like never before. The quiet allowed space and time for intimacy with Him & His word. He spoke more to me in the mornings in 4 months than I had probably heard in the previous year. This act of obedience became such a game changer in my life, I grabbed The Miracle Morning and instead of randomly waking up, the book gave a good roadmap, language and structure to start my everyday with purpose. So no matter if it’s the weekend or a holiday, I’m up before anyone in my house. I talk with God, get in His word, surrender my “plans for the day to Him” and ask Him to lead me.

In the last 4 months:

• I gained clarity on friendships. Those in my life and those who left my life. He gave me the answers as to why – a question I had been asking for the last several years.

• I grew in places mentally & emotionally that I never thought I’d ever reach in my entire life time.

• God gave me clarity on our finances. We are now on track to be completely debt free in 4 years, starting with paying off a credit card and my student loans.

• I’m eating cleaner and better than ever. My workout game is tight.

• I’ve been presented some MINDBLOWING opportunities that literally came when I wasn’t even looking for them.

• We’ve surrendered to the things that cause us to live in excess, lack awareness or presence and focused on enjoying the slower moments at home with family.

• We couldn’t travel like we wanted to, but we experienced our own city of Atlanta like never before.

• My husband: every single organ is functioning like it should. He’s healthy and in tip top shape. Better yet, he DROVE HIMSELF home from the hospital! No need for a specialist or anything they “thought”. God is our healer!

• Better yet, since January, not one of us has been sick. Doctors for us this year was strictly for check ups. That was it!

• My voice matters – maybe I’m not on a bullhorn at a march talking about racism, but maybe my influence start with my own sphere of influence. We have to have the hard conversations if we are going to move forward.

• Self care and finding my center was the ultimate gift I could give myself. Reaching out to my therapist when I needed to unpack some things. Using the tools I learned to set boundaries, even with those in my home and family members. Now I’m leaving 2020 with the phrase “I CHOOSE ME” in everything that I do.

• I went from fear to leaning on faith – having a peace that surpasses all understanding. I cover my husband before he leaves for his run and I ask God to cover him in faith – not fear.

• Business boomed in every single area. No, I didn’t hit a goal I had set in one particular business, but I was celebrating for getting close to it. Who says “Almost Doesn’t Count”? It did for me!

• I went from the most exhausted to getting some of the best rest ever.

…all because He told me to wake up earlier and I obeyed. My only regret is I wish I would have listened sooner. Yet, God makes no mistakes.

He knew that all of this would take my mind of obscurity & fear, a heart filled with unforgiveness, anger & mental stress, physical exhaustion, habits & patterns I held on to for comfort and free me from them.

The person I was on January 1, 2020 is completely and totally different today. The weights of what the world is doing has been lifted. In the quiet & still moments, I found exactly what I was looking for from God all along. Experiencing & knowing Him on a deeper level aligned everything for His glory and my good.

And while there are still dreams that terrify me and my heart desires so many things to come in 2021, even though there are some ugly parts of my life that needs work, I have a better approach how to get there. Not because of the things I’m doing, but who I’m seeking every single morning.

2020 was far from the best year ever. Farrrrr from it. However, I remember Romans 8:28. All of these things are working for my good – not saying it was “all good”, but God uses them FOR my good. And honey, I am a much more whole human being now that those things happened.

So, cheers to 2020. Here’s to being free. Indeed.

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