When Ms. Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar for her role in Dream Girls, my favorite part of her speech was “Look what God can do.” She was genuinely surprised, humble and grateful.
What an inspiring journey she has had. To think it all started with a singing competition that she entered on a whim. She found her voice inside, prayed, stepped out on faith and the rest is history. I think about how many people, including myself, who don’t and live with regret for not having done so.
For me, that was so yesterday. Today, I am bursting with joy and gratitude. I just want to give thanks to God for everything that I am and for everything that I was able to accomplish so far because it was only by His grace and mercy that I did. Lord, I can’t thank you enough for making me who I am. I owe it all to You. You showed me that even someone like me is able to do great things, many things, any thing through your might.
All things are possible through God. I am living proof. so let me tell what God can do and what He has done for me. It is because of God that I am an author when just five years ago I had no thought of writing anything, let alone writing books. As a young girl learning English as a second language, I was so nervous to speak in class for fear of being teased about my accent. I was so proud when I did well on my very first spelling test, finally spelling the word “between” correctly, a huge victory that set the course for my desire to learn more. I don’t really remember why this particular word used to give me so much trouble. It just seemed like it was a big word for any second-grader, but it was terrifying for one who was from Panama in an American elementary school.
I am working on a music CD. This is really a thrill for me. Me…an aspiring recording artist? This is something I never thought I would ever be able to do. This is especially true since I was still going through my treatments for VCD (Vocal Chord Dysfunction) just a few years ago. I even had a few nightmares of being trapped in a box and I each time I opened my mouth to call for help no sound would come out. I was really lost in the spirit of fear then. But now, well…I have a clear speaking voice and I can also sing. The doubts telling me “you can’t sing because you can’t even breathe” has been officially broken.
These things can only happen because I pray and then believe they can. Faith with work…works. Faith without works are idle thoughts lost in the wind. I put my trust in God and then get to work to put my faith in action. What you see of me is this only. Nothing more and nothing less. I say goodbye to anything and anyone who says “you can’t do that.” With God by my side can’t I? I look forward to what He has in store for the future. When I look back at how my life has changed, and see how I came through the especially tough times, Lord I know it is you. I can’t believe how I used to be so afraid of how things were going to turn out and how I would wish for better days. I see how unsure I was which lead to fear, which lead to needing validation from anything and everyone outside of my own self. But now, looking back at myself, I wish that I could reach in to my past and tell myself that I turned out better than alright. When I put You first, and let You into my heart, I was able to let go of everything else.
Can I preach for a minute about something you just laid on my heart? I just turned on the TV (a rare treat) and Lord, my biggest wish that people would treat each other better. I can’t control what others do but I can control what I can do so that is where I will start, starting with being an example of what I can do with the people around me.
When I see “news” about the “Justin Bieber meltdown”. This is not news. I say leave the child alone. His is 19 years old and is entitled to behave like a 19 year old. Nothing special or earth-shattering happening there. He has a mother who loves him and she’s done her best to raise him to be a kind, loving, and respectful human being. The young man is a talented musician who is entitled to privacy simply because he is a fellow human being.
Okay, Lord, where was I? Lord, you know I still have my moments of doubts when I question my abilities, but I’m wise enough to know that those moments only come about whenever I make the mistake of comparing myself to others. There are a lot of people who I admire, not for what they have but for what they’ve accomplished. Even to this day I still have to be careful and not allow admiration to cross over into idolization.
Whenever the idea that I could never be as good in business as Richard Branson or Oprah Winfrey, I just stop myself right in the moment to admonish the negative joojoo and immediately replace it with some positive mojo instead. Anyone can do this and it is absolutely available to all of us.
It is this idea of what these two remarkable people did or anyone who achieved something I admire –is available to me, I am not mystified or even impressed by it. I’m impressed by the fame or fortune –those are the events. Instead, I admire the stories behind the big “events”. The story about where they came from to where they are now. How an ordinary person becomes an extraordinary one…that is what I get excited about. But again, this is innate in everyone. We all have the ability to learn anything and get really good at it. So I don’t believe any one of us are experts, only someone who knows or someone who has experience. Whether they intend to teach others or choose not teach, I still learn from the people that I admire. So the admiration can safely exist within me without harm.
I am celebrating my life today in appreciation for everything I have…and for my own journey from ordinary to extraordinary. Is it okay to look back and admire one’s own life? You see, I come from humble beginnings too. And even though I haven’t touched the lives of billions of people yet, I know that with God by my side, this will be my truth and I will accomplish it if that is what He wants for my destiny.
Through Him I am a military veteran who is grateful to be in service of others. I am rich with family and friends who I love and they love me for who I am. But more importantly, those who are close to me feel loved as I give my love and receive it from them as well.
I want to acknowledge coming out of a time when I was a struggling and newly divorced mom to becoming an entrepreneur and business mentor. Again, if you told me about any of this five years I would have surely not believed you.
Lord, you took me from relationships with two trifling men who took my heart for granted so I closed my heart. But through the healing effects of time (and a good therapist), my spirit of trust is renewed and my heart is open again. My vow of celibacy has prepared me for the man You have prepared for me, my heart, and my home. My desire is a man who will serve You first and treat me like a queen. Lord, I thank You for giving me the desires of my heart for my desire is aligned with Your will. My desire is a partner who joins me as one and we will become a powerful couple and powerful individuals for the good of one another.
As I reflect back on the shy little girl from Panama to the woman I’ve become…and I look around my present surroundings I am overwhelmed with gratitude and joy. What can I say except “Look what God can do.”
This is my testimony. It is a journey. He has planted seeds of bigger dreams in me so I know He’s not through with me yet. I have a lot of work to do.