Where was I a year ago? I am my favorite social experiment. Today, findings are remarkable! A year ago I was encompassed in defeat. Serious, hateful, and wildly untrue accusations came against me professionally. My highly experienced mentors had no advice. When you stump those for “emergency advice” you may be undergoing a test intricately designed for you. God forced me to learn reliance on Him. God hit the mute button on everyone except those prayerfully considering their advice. My friend Cassi offered 1 Peter 4:12-16 “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery ordeal which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you…”
It was like an out-of-body experience. Life was miserable yet also a time of unprecedented spiritual growth. I was so desperate for answers I was actually happy to scour the Bible for what to do! Yet from the misery, beauty emerged. I experienced victory over evil. There was no logic but God allowing the Enemy to take a shot at me. I walked away from that one bruised but better for the experience. It subsided and more challenges came since where I failed miserably. But I now know what victory in Him is like. I know what its like to be singled out, scared to death and to walk away with clean hands before God. I had to consciously and effortfully apply His words to my own. If I hadn’t, I was toast. It was and is unnatural to the point I left conversations mid-sentence to go to my office to pray desperately before speaking again. The consequences of acting on emotional impulses would have been devastating. I would not be sitting in Bamenda now if I tried to deliver myself from it.
Back to the findings.. A year later, I spent the day taking inventory of First Aid supplies for the Children’s home, preparing schoolwork for their study time and making cinnamon sugar bagels from scratch. I also went to the Nkwen market with the HHCH cook Auntie Charlotte who is about my age. We got purple and blond mesh so the older girls can braid my hair in true Cameroon style Wednesday. Why not purple?! We picked up four dozen eggs (the actual purpose of the trip), caught a cozy cab back and walked the remainder of the familiar dirt path home. Charlotte told me how prices double when she shops with a white person. She literally held my hand (totally normal here) as we walked to protect me from reckless traffic and obnoxious young men. “White man, white man” was shouted at us (me) along with a fair amount of whistling and cat calls (also normal). She asked what would happen if someone shouted “black man, black man” at someone in America. Gulp.
Weather was perfect today! Cool from the rain yet sunny enough to walk without being knee deep in red clay mud. Baby Promise has graduated to the Children’s Home and LOVES it. How do I know? If you set her down, she screams. Spoiled! Baby Godwill ‘Willie’ who is the next youngest has been promoted to a big boy bed but sees his plight a demotion. He calls her Baby Po and refutes sharing anything with her, primarily attention. He has little interest in me but when I held her, he begged me to hold him! Nothing some five-cent biscuits from the stand down the road couldn’t remedy. We’re all like that, aren’t we? We grieve, we get a casserole and life goes on. After finding a carton of Breyer’s ice cream in my refrigerator a year ago which served as all three meals until I misplaced it in emotional delirium, I recommend forgoing the food and seeking fulfillment from God. Pray and read. Eat too but ice cream goes in the freezer.
So, where are you now? What were you doing last year? Your next year (Lord-willing) is about the journey as well as the landmarks. I recommend letting Him get you there. I simply can’t wait to see what Bethann has to say a year from now! God is so good.