Today I rise to greet a new day. The beautiful sunshine, the cool fresh air, and the other wonderful elements of nature remind me of the awesomeness of God. As I watched the sun rising, I reflected on the words of Maya Angelou’s poem:
Still I Rise
BY MAYA ANGELOU
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awfully hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
As I read this poem, I could feel the tears flowing down my cheek but I allowed them to run until my eyes were completely dry because this time, i knew that they were tears of joy, not sorrow.
So, my friends, today, I rise and give thanks to Almighty God for preserving my life as I journeyed through the various valleys in my past and the challenges He allowed me to overcome.
I remember how I was so upset with Him that I couldn’t even pray. The only words I had the courage to whisper after each sighing moment was,
“Lord, have mercy” I knew God loved me unconditionally but I couldn’t understand how He said He loved me and allowed the adversaries to hurt me. I studied the Bible and maintained a prayerful life but that didn’t seem to be enough to get His attention.
There were moments I felt like giving up…yes, those moments when I reflected on how I accepted Him as my Lord and Saviour from I was about nine years old and grew up maintaining a close relationship with him. I thought He had forgotten me although He promised never to leave or forsake me.
I remember constantly singing this song as if it was an anthem. “In the Valley, He Restoreth my soul” sung by Clifford Fyah Henry
Now I realize that God was changing my direction and as painful as it was, that experience was preparing me for greater things. Now, I realize that I would have to pass that test and have a testimony to take with me to another level, in order to fulfill His purpose.
In retrospect, those valley experiences strengthened my relationship with God and allowed me to draw closer to Him. Now I realize what Aristotle meant when he said,
“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”
My valley moments were as dark as a dungeon but in that pitch-black darkness, I was able to see the light…the light that would lead me to a brand new world.
He allowed me to ride the waves and rise above those circumstances that were meant to discourage and destroy me on my journey.
That journey has taught me some valuable lessons and I will share a few with you.
1.Life gets easier when we are able to identify the problem and spend more time fixing it and less time blaming others.
- If you worry about what life could have been, or should have been, you will miss out on what it really is.
- If there is a problem, fix it before it escalates.
I agree with John Lennon when he said,
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”
We have many choices and different opportunities are available but we need to be mindful of what is happening at this present moment. We can’t continue living in denial for the rest of our lives. We have to accept reality and face it with the assurance that God will lead us through our challenges.
I invite you to read my book, “My Valley Experience-Beating the Odds” to see how God gave me eagle’s wings to rise and be triumphant. Today, I sing this song done by The Grace Thrillers, “I am Persuaded That will God will see me Through” with the confidence knowing that God is with me.
Today, as I rise, I smile at the stones that were thrown at me and marvel at how God allowed me to use them to build walls and bridges that have enlarged my territory. He did that for me and He will do it for you too. Our challenges may be different but we are all working towards the same goal which is to be an overcomer.