As y’all know, Monday was February 29, Leap Day. It was also the last day of the blackest Black History Month ever. We certainly gave the media a lot to talk about this year. From Beyoncé’ kicking things off with her unapologetically Black halftime show performance at the Super Bowl, to Kendrick Lamar’s powerful Black Grammy performance, to Chris Rock closing things out with his very uncomfortable yet very, very vital Black opening monologue at the #OscarsSoWhite. And I was here — raising my hand shouting “Present!”– for all of it. My prayer is that we keep this beautiful Black momentum going throughout the rest of the year and the years to follow.
But I just wanted to talk to y’all about something real quick. About faith.
Recently, one of my sister’s friends reached out to me to talk about her health. She has been really struggling with it lately and needed some encouragement (please keep her in your prayers). She also wanted to learn more about how I overcame a condition I was diagnosed with almost four years ago called dermatomyositis. So I told her about how I went through my final semester at Howard University back in 2012 struggling with symptoms I had no clue even existed. I told her about how I had to skip spring break in Miami with the rest of my class to come home and see a holistic doctor (because at the time, the medical doctors were still unable to determine what I had, so they couldn’t treat me). The holistic doctor put me on a strict diet that gave me enough strength to get through the rest of the semester. But after I graduated, my entire body swelled up and when I came home, I got progressively worse. After getting a slew of tests run, the doctors were finally able to diagnose and treat me. They also told me there was a strong chance that I could be on medication for the rest of my life. But I decided that that wasn’t going to happen, so I did my research. Since my condition was characterized by severe inflammation in my body, I looked up every anti-inflammatory food I could find (i.e. fresh ginger, fish oils, green veggies, etc.) and implemented it into my diet. I also cut out gluten, which is a huge inflammatory substance found in wheat-based foods. Once I changed my diet, I instantly began to feel a difference. In addition to my diet, I also changed my attitude. At the time, I had been harboring feelings of anger and unforgiveness (I don’t care if this isn’t a real word) towards a friend and once I forgave her, my health improved tremendously. In addition to the love and support I received from my family, I prayed constantly and spoke positive affirmations over my life. Within six months I was tapering off of my meds and a year after being diagnosed, I was completely medication-free. I told my sister’s friend that while changing my diet played a huge part in my restored health, it was my faith in God that ultimately gave me victory. And now, almost four years later I am still giving Him all of the glory for it.
A lot of times, we go through things that cause us to think, “Why me?” This was a repetitive question I asked God when I was sick. But now, as I look back on that season in my life, I understand that God allows us to go through certain seasons in order to test our faith. It’s easy to praise and thank Him when we’re happy and healthy, but the struggle is real when you’re depressed and bedridden. The key is to not only have faith, but to actively walk in it. For me, that meant changing my diet and shifting my way of thinking. Sitting around praying and waiting on God to heal me was only half the battle. Because faith without works is dead. (James 2:20)
To this day, I’m still walking in my faith. I have soooooo many dreams, y’all. This blog is a blessing, but it is merely a spectacle in the great plan that God has for my life. Just like when I was sick, I cannot — and will not — sit here idle and simply claim that God will make a way. I have to WORK in my faith in order to claim the victory and receive the blessings He has in store for me. So if you want something to shift in your life, stop waiting and start working. Start that business you’ve been brainstorming for years. Write that book you’ve been dreaming about. Launch that mentoring program you’ve been obsessing over in your head. And if you’re struggling with an illness, change your diet and your mindset — don’t let a diagnosis have the final authority over your life.
Pray for the strength, focus and discipline to achieve whatever goal is ahead of you. Activate your faith and watch God work.