Receiving Gifts from God (I’m Really Bad At It)

Readers,

I have a huge confession to make. To be quite honest, I’ve just become more aware of this issue in my life, so it’s not like I’ve been keeping it a secret. If you’ve been a reader of mine for a while, you know that honesty and vulnerability are my creed.

Well, here’s the thing: I don’t know how to accept God’s gifts. I initially was going to write, “blessings”, but I’m so often tempted to think that I have a huge hand in what God blesses me with, that I just couldn’t write that word. I felt God telling me to write, “gifts.”

Now I’m not that good at accepting gifts in general, especially as of late. Because of my incredibly difficult financial instability, I’ve had to receive gift after gift from friends, relatives, strangers, and church family. That’s how I’ve been able to eat and survive since August 2017.

I’ve gotten better at receiving gifts from people, but I definitely have this overwhelming sense of “I have nothing to give in return. I’m so emotionally drained that I honestly can’t take on anyone else’s burdens right now. I can’t even give emotionally. I have nothing to give.”

God is showing me that I’m very incapable of receiving His gifts. There are two reasons for that, as far as I know.

  1. I think that if God gives me a gift, He’s going to take it away or give me something bad to balance it out.
  2. I think that my life is meant to be spent in servitude to God, but not in the receiving of any gifts at all.

I’ll speak on the second reason in this blog post. This realization recently hit me as I’ve been thinking about my upcoming trip to India. As I book each flight, research accommodation, and think about what my Father might do while I’m there, I often find myself saying things like, “Well, if I meet a nice guy, I’ll marry him because I want security and protection. I don’t need it to be romantic. I don’t see that happening for me. I don’t mind.”

On Friday, while speaking with my therapist about this, I began to think about it a bit deeper. As I thought about the marriages I’ve seen happen and the marriages I’ve closely observed, one thing is apparent to me: I don’t think God will bring me a good, loving husband. 

Whether it’s because I saw so much pain in my parents’ marriage or because my friends’ loving marriages seem so out of reach, I’m not sure. It’s probably a combination of both. So I resign myself to putting up walls around my heart, distrusting almost every man I encounter, never finding one good enough for me. While thinking about India, I felt the Holy Spirit say to my heart, “Why don’t you think I can bring you a loving, romantic, strong husband? Why do you think you’ll have to settle? Can’t I do anything?”

This is hard for me. It was hard for me to hear that, because I was so satisfied with, “I’m going to be single. I’m going to serve God. I’m going to suffer and serve Him. I don’t need romantic love. I can do it, just me and God.”

Wow that isn’t healthy at all!!! Why DON’T I think God will give me a wonderful husband? Why do I think serving God equates to constant suffering and sacrificing our joy? That’s so anti-Christ! Jesus celebrated things all the time, so much so that the Pharisees called Him a drunkard and glutton. While Jesus suffered, that suffering didn’t consume His entire life. His life on Earth was a beautiful balance of suffering and celebration, while never losing joy.

God, retrain my brain to understand servitude. Teach me Your ways. Let me be willing to accept Your gifts, even when I don’t feel good enough.

 

Blessings,

 

Gabrielle G.

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Coming Full Circle in Faith (With a Little Vomit)

Readers,

The other day, before violently vomiting, going to the hospital, and learning that I have the stomach flu, my father gave me a call. If you’ve been a reader of mine for a while, you know that things with my father have never been easy. I grew up in an emotionally and verbally abusive home. I became a woman who yearned to be loved by men and yet feared men while simultaneously disregarding men’s importance or personhood. It’s an odd dynamic: fearing men while hating them and mocking them. This is something I’m still working through.

My father called me just after I vomited for the first time on the street here in NYC, terribly dramatic I know, and he rang to see how I was. During our conversation, about twenty minutes in, I began vomiting again and he heard it all, bless his soul. On the other end I heard, “Gabby, relax. Gabby, breathe. Gabby, can you hear me?” After each hurl, I gasped for air and feared that I wouldn’t find any. Once that panic sets into your body, it’s hard to get out of it. 

I wiped my mouth, sat back, and listened to my Dad. A few minutes later, I felt much better and I explained to my dad that I think all of these sicknesses are a result of an evil, demonic attack. Considering how no doctor can understand why this is happening to my body, why I’m experiencing all of these erratic symptoms, and taking into account the time that it started, it seems clear to me that this is an evil attack against my body, to prevent me from my calling. Of course to my Dad, a new believer, this was shocking and confusing.

I explained some parts of the book of Job to him, in what I call the GIV (Gabby International Version). Essentially I said, “So God was like, ‘Wow, Satan, look at my servant Job. Isn’t he awesome? Doesn’t he love Me so well?’ And Satan was like, ‘Yeah right, God. He only loves You because You gave him all this stuff. Take that away and he’ll curse You to Your face.’ Then God was like, ‘Okay, take his stuff but you can’t touch him physically.’ So then Satan was like, ‘Okay’ and took everything material from Job in one day. Then Job still loved and honored God so Satan was like, ‘Aight lemme mess with his body. Then he’ll curse You!’ God was like, ‘Okay, but you can’t kill him.’ Then Satan messed with his health. So clearly, dad, this is what’s going on with me. Job wasn’t a one-time thing. Things like this do happen!”

I know, I’m quite the story-teller.

Then I asked my Dad if we could pray together and he asked me the one question I wanted to hear all of my life: “Gabby, how do you pray with another person?” 

What honor. What responsibility. Me, a twenty-four year old woman was to teach my almost sixty-year old father what it meant to pray with another person. I chose my words carefully, making sure to avoid all Christianese.

“Well, Dad, you’re basically just talking to God with another person. And remember when I was a kid and we would pray at the table and Mom would say, ‘Yes, Lord.’ ‘Mhmm.’ Well, she was just agreeing with us in prayer. Jesus tells us that where two or more are gathered in His name, He will be there. So of course Jesus is with us all the time and we don’t need another human to talk to Jesus. But, when we gather with another in any aspect of life, we’re stronger, right? That’s all it is.”

We sat and prayed together for about ten minutes. That was the first time he had ever really prayed with someone. Wow, God. After praying for my Dad’s salvation for years, almost a decade, he finally came to faith in You. He is beginning to know You. I can’t believe You’re letting me help my dad in his faith journey. I can’t believe You want me to do this!

Readers, never give up hope on your family members and friends. God works on His own timing. Jesus will save. He still seeks and saves the lost.

Blessings,

Gabrielle G.

 

Thoughts at 1 AM

It’s almost 1 AM here in NYC and I can’t sleep. The ill-fitting night guard I wear on my teeth to prevent grinding feels painful and I can’t find a comfortable position. Just when I do, my back begins to hurt or I develop a headache. I toss and turn, side to side, trying to get comfortable. I look at my surroundings and living situation: a mattress on the floor, a small corner of the room for my belongings, no privacy whatsoever. My living quarters defy comfort. Then I think that perhaps He is preparing me for a life of discomfort and has chosen to use this time to prepare me for what’s to come.

But what’s going to come, Abba? These past few weeks have been a flurry of hospital visits, medical tests, and uncertainty. Why now, Abba? Why is my body behaving so poorly now? Why does it feel like my body is attacking itself? Why can’t the doctors find any medical reason for why I’m experiencing these symptoms?

Then I think, “Hmm maybe it’s like what my friend said. This could be Satan trying to keep me from my calling, from my life’s work.” Each day brings a new loss whether that’s a loss of consciousness in the car on the way to the hospital or the loss of a four-year friendship on a park bench in freezing wind. The sudden loss of a job or the loss of all certainty about health. Each day brings a new loss.

Why should I be spared great sorrow and loss simply because I’m an American? My brothers and sisters around the world suffer each day and the only respite for them is Abba. I am no better. His promises are the same for all of us and He promised that we would suffer.

Abba, how do I go and serve you when I feel so terribly alone? I’ve always felt like a lone wolf, and have craved community, but it has escaped me. I fit in nowhere except one place, and that’s the place I yearn to go. But, that’s also the place I fear the most. I don’t speak any of the languages. I will be leaving my family, at least for some time. I will be on my own, with only Abba to rely upon. That’s faith. That faith moves mountains and brings people to their knees before an all-seeing, all-knowing, all-loving God who desires to set them free. Use me, oh God, to set the captives free. I am Yours.

Help Send Me to India!

Hi friends and beloved readers,

I’m going to India next month for a few months to explore, see new sights, help the orphans and widows, and experience more of what my Father wants to show me. So far I have three organizations that are interested in having me visit with them. I’m planning on going to Goa, Surat, Chennai, Kochi, Kolkata, and maybe more! I plan on writing extensively about all of the wonderful things I’m going to find.

If you’d like to know more about why I’m going to India and what I hope to see/do, please contact me personally.

Here’s a link to my fundraising page: https://www.gofundme.com/ggindia2018

 

Thanks guys!

 

Gabrielle

 

 

I Asked God to Destroy My Life (He Did)

Wow. Beloved readers, I have done something that I’ve been terrified to do. I asked God to wreck my life. After hearing Mo Isom’s testimony, Google her if you don’t know her, I was in awe at the sheer boldness of her prayer to God the night she had a car crash that altered her life forever. She prayed and asked God to “wreck” her life, to completely step in and take over, to show her who He is and how powerful He is. She asked Him to reveal Himself to her.

I used to think about Mo Isom and feel so inspired by her daring prayer, yet terrified at the same time of ever praying that type of prayer. A couple of weeks ago, I prayed that prayer. Laying in bed at night, I felt fed up with feeling stagnant in my life and I said aloud, “Okay, God. If You’re so in control of my life, if You have such a plan for me, show me! Wreck my life. Destroy my life. Show me who You are. Show me Your power. I need you to show Yourself to me because I can’t see you right now! Where are you!?”

Here’s what happened after that. A few days after praying that prayer, I began experiencing weird sensations in my body. I’ve previously written about this, but I’ll recap for you guys. My legs began burning, tingling, and twitching. I began to forget some basic words. My head hurt all the time. Backaches became commonplace for me. 

After seeing my neurologist who claimed that all of this was due to anxiety, I sought out a second opinion and this neurologist tested the nerves in my legs, did an MRI of my spine and my brain, and did multiple blood tests. I had the MRI of my brain two days ago and was told that if there were any problems, I would get a call in a day or two. I’m deducing from this that I’m not actually sick at all. So if this is true, then God allowed my body to freak out and experience these insane symptoms. But why? This is something I don’t have an answer to and I’m asking God about it every day. Am I sharing in the sufferings of Christ? Is it a satanic attack? Is it training for the mission field? What is this, God?

Because I had all of these tests, I wasn’t able to work for a week. Prior to that point, the school I worked at had a break that lasted a week. So that’s two weeks without making any money. I knew that I was going to have to move out of my apartment at the end of this month because I wouldn’t have enough money to afford rent for April. This was on my mind while having these tests.

Soon after undergoing all of these tests, actually the day of the MRI of my brain (two days ago), I was fired from my job. I received a text that morning from my boss stating that I was fired because I had missed too many days of work. This shocked me because each time I told my boss that I was going to miss work due to either a hospital visit or a medical exam, she responded with, “Okay, no problem. Just let me know.” I never thought that my absences were an issue because my boss never said they were. 

Suffice to say, I was shocked. I was angered. I cursed. I called her names (not to her face, of course). I was hurt! She knew that I was one of the best people working at that school and she had the audacity to fire ME?! I hastily wrote an angry e-mail in response to her “formal termination letter” she sent through e-mail and although I regret how harsh I was, I stand by what I said. As a fellow believer, she should have had compassion on me. If it was a company policy thing, she should have warned me that I was encroaching on the limit for absences, but she never did. She always said it was okay.

So I went into the MRI of my brain with this on my mind. I tried to let it go after writing the e-mail and as I laid in that tube, listening to Audrey Assad, having this contrast material injected into my veins, terrified that I would have an allergic reaction, I felt the enemy speak to me. You see, I had prepped for this MRI by researching contrast material, this new liquid that was to be injected into my body. I knew that my mother was allergic to it and I feared it. While the contrast was injected, I felt myself begin to fear. I felt the enemy say that I was going to have an allergic reaction; I was going to die. I was sick. I had a brain tumor. 

All of these things were lies straight from the pit of hell. God has told me through multiple people that I would not die; that I have a big future ahead of me after all of these trials. God Himself told me that multiple times, but the fear is so easy to give into. The MRI went well and I was told that they would alert me in two days at the most if anything were wrong and I’ve heard nothing so I assume that all is well.

So I kind of got fired, am going to lose my housing, and experienced momentary sickness for no reason, right? Nah, guys. There’s meaning behind this, in front of this, and encircling it. I prayed and asked God to destroy my life for HIM. He did that. He took it all away from me. I’m amazed at how swiftly He acted when I gave Him license to do it. So now I’m planning on pursuing God’s call for my life a few months earlier than initially intended. As I have no job and no home here, where else can I go but out? He is sending me. He is calling me. I must go. I must answer.

 

Like my favorite missionary, Amy Carmichael, once said, “Nothing matters except that which is eternal.”
Blessings,
Gabrielle G.

Our Souls Reek (The Solution)

Readers,

On the train yesterday, consumed with thoughts about my health and my future, a homeless man came on the train. He looked absolutely disheveled. His hair was a mess, one pant leg was raised to his knee, his clothes had holes, and he acted like he was high, drunk, or both. Immediately I looked upon him with pity and felt helpless. I had no food to give him. Others on the train offered change and dollar bills, averting eyes the whole time. 

As I watched him walk through the train, the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “How he looks is how your souls are.” Without Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Father, our souls are dirty, homeless, high/drunk people. We reek without Christ. Although we attempt to put our dirtiness aside and present a clean image to the world, God sees our hearts and souls. Both are wicked. Both are dirty, without Him. 

So don’t you look down upon a homeless person and judge them for what they look like they do (drugs, sex, alcohol), when you know your soul looks just like that. Although you put on a clean mask for the general public, Christ sees the truth. But, with Christ as your Savior, God looks upon you as clean. He sees you through the lens of Christ. You are spotless in His eyes.

Last night I saw a documentary called “Liberated” about the new “sexual revolution.” It was made by a Christian filmmaker and it poses various questions about the way our youth culture relates to sexuality, relationships, masculinity, and femininity. After I watched that documentary, I was left feeling disgusted with our culture, this “hookup” culture. It’s so damaging and disruptive to the holy way that God fashioned us to express our sexuality.

I must admit: I am not perfect regarding my sexuality. No one is. We are all sexually broken people, looking for something to give us that fix, make us feel alive, and temporarily satisfy us. Some of us find it in casual sex with random people and others find it in porn and masturbation. I fall into the latter camp. Although I’ve gotten a good hold on this temptation for the most part, there are moments where the temptation is strong and I give in to it, always feeling like it’s someone else. It’s not really me. My true self is the one typing this blog post. My sinful self is a whole other person. I always hate myself afterward, but there’s grace for me. God has grace. God understands. Jesus was tempted in every way, which means sexually, yet He never sinned. He understands the temptation.

There is nothing wrong with wanting sex. Most of us want sex, unless there’s some severe brokenness that prevents us from that natural desire. We yearn to be united with another. That is holy, in a marriage between a man and wife. Outside of that frame, the picture is distorted. But no matter what sexual sin and brokenness you’ve fallen into or have been victim to, you are a victim no longer. You are no longer a slave to sin. You are not ruined. Never! Christ can and will redeem you. Call on His name and let Him heal you in a way specifically designed for you.

Beloved, if you find yourself sexually broken, I recommend checking out Mo Isom’s new book: Sex, Jesus, and the Conversations the Church Forgot. It hasn’t hit stores yet, but you can pre-order it on Amazon.com. Be encouraged. We’re all sexually broken. Some of us have same-sex attraction. Some of us have other sinful attractions, things that we don’t even want to speak about, like attraction to children or incestuous feelings. Be strengthened. God’s grace covers you and His love covers your sins. Yet He does not wish for your sin to remain where it is. He yearns to repair and revive what you thought was long dead. 

If you find yourself watching porn, masturbating, texting sexually explicit things to another person, having casual sex, having unnatural sex, there is hope for you. There is always hope. That hope is in the person of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. He is the Messiah, the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords. Through relationship with Him, you will be restored. Beloved, it is a process, so be patient with yourself and God.

I’m always here if you need a chat. ❤

 

Blessings,

 

Gabrielle G.

 

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 New International Version (NIV)

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Uncertainty in Medical Testing (Oh, the Sweet Irony)

Readers,

My last post was about my hypochondria, which is extremely ironic considering what I have to share now.

I’m currently undergoing several tests for a plethora of diseases, including MS or a spine issue. I have two MRIs coming up and have also had my blood rigorously tested as well as a nerve test performed on my legs.

Here are my symptoms so you can understand what’s going on:

  1. Burning, tingling, and twitching in my legs
  2. Forgetting words and misspelling easy words sometimes

Therefore my neurologist is testing me for what she calls “a pool of possibilities.”

The irony of this doesn’t escape me. At a time when I worry about every single thing regarding my health, actual health problems seem to appear out of nowhere. These issues with my body all began last week, leaving me perplexed. This week I’ve been to the ER, my PCP/GP, and my neurologist a total of 5 times. That’s an extraordinary amount of money, as far as co-pays go. For my readers in countries with universal health care, I envy you. Thankfully my church is going to help me afford all of these tests.

I’m asking for prayer in this situation. I truly believe this is all a spiritual attack, but God only knows.

 

Thanks, guys.

Blessings,

 

Gabrielle G.

Living with Hypochondria as a Christian

Readers,

This is something I don’t really talk about that often. It’s really painful for me because I still live in this, to a certain extent. Today I’m going to be honest and write about my hypochondria.

But, first, let’s take a look at how the dictionary defines “hypochondria”:

abnormal anxiety about one’s health, especially with an unwarranted fear that one has a serious disease.

Last July, I began experiencing hypochondria. I remember the exact day it all began. My father had woken me up at 4 AM and told me that he thought he was having a heart attack. I sprang into action and waited with him, calming him while the ambulance came. At the hospital, we learned that it was simply a panic attack. This event happened two or three days after my brother was rushed into surgery for a life-threatening bone infection. Later that day, after waking up from a long nap, I began having back pain and I felt this overwhelming fear. Something whispered to me, “You’re having a heart attack.” I tried to shake it off so I went back to sleep. Immediately I felt panic rush over me. I could hardly breathe or think straight. I called my mom and told her that I wanted to go to the hospital. 

En route to the hospital, the panic increased and I literally thought I was dying. I began hyperventilating and I repeated “Jesus, please don’t take me!” Mom prayed and she sped to the hospital. After getting checked out, I was told that it was just a panic attack. “Just” a panic attack. Clearly these doctors have never experienced a panic attack. It feels bigger than you. It feels all-consuming. It becomes your reality. Your mind and body begin freaking out and no one around you can tell that there’s something wrong with you.

For the next few months, I suffered constant fear that I was dying. Some days I feared a heart attack, then I feared that God would supernaturally stop my heart, then I feared I would have a blood clot like my Dad, then I feared a stroke, then I feared internal bleeding, then I feared a brain tumor, and the list goes on and on.

These days it takes all of me and help from my parents to convince me that I will never get a blood clot, that I’m a healthy 24-year old who cannot have a heart attack, and that all of the other things I fear are just irrational. But, when you’re so far gone in your fear, that fear becomes your reality. To my brain, it is completely logical that I would die of some disease that older people typically have. I could look around at people my age or older that are obese and obviously very unhealthy, yet I can make excuses for why it would happen to me and not them.

I think that the entirety of last year truly affected the way I view health and wellness. I know it’s not a promise from God and therefore I began to fear losing my health. It got to the point that I told God, “Okay, God, if I get sick, I get sick. But please give me a long illness. I don’t want to have a sudden death because I live alone and no one would know.” That is what my brain thought about all the time. It’s still hard for me to stop my brain from thinking these things.

After going to the hospital so many times with my Dad last year, I think some type of anxious spirit latched onto me and I let it feed on my soul. Going to the hospital was normal for me. Growing up, my mother had hypochondria as well and she used to go to the doctor all the time. I had once dealt with this issue before, but when I was 16-17. It had been YEARS since I gave a second thought to my health. When I did, it became all-consuming.

I would stay inside because I didn’t want to die on the street, alone and helpless. That’s how bad it got. I would constantly jiggle my legs to keep my blood flowing, so I wouldn’t get a blood clot. I still do this. I look at my legs all the time, making sure they’re not swollen and I’d lay in bed at night, obsessively checking my pulse to make sure it wasn’t too fast, both of which would indicate a clot. The Internet told me that people over 50 usually get them, but that hasn’t stopped me from freaking out about it. It feels bigger than me. I used to go to the hospital once every couple of months, convinced I was dying. My doctor saw me almost every week for a new “ailment.”

I’m not writing to you from a “I’ve made it through to the other side and now I’m all better” position. I still fight for my sanity regarding health issues every. single. day. It’s a daily battle. Despite hearing God tell me that I won’t die, that He holds my life, that I’m not sick, my brain immediately goes to fear. 

One day, while just walking around, God said to me, “You’re so afraid of dying. You’re so consumed by the thought of dying that you’re not truly living. You’re really just afraid to live. When you were depressed, Satan tried to get you to kill yourself. Now he’s trying to make you think you’re dying.”

He’s so right, obviously. I was so obsessed with death that I didn’t give much thought to my life. I didn’t fight hard for things in life because I felt like I was going to die at any moment. What was the point of it all?

Readers, I ask for prayer in this area. I want to be fearless. I used to be completely fearless before 2015. I used to be confident, loud, bold, and fearless with everything in life. I KNEW that God had my back. I want to get to a place where I completely trust Him again.

It’s hard being a Christian and reading verses from the Bible that tell us not to worry, but then to suffer from hypochondria and panic attacks. It feels out of our control. We are commanded not to worry. But, how do we obey when our brain seems to be taking over?

Have you guys every suffered from hypochondria or other anxiety issues? Let’s have an open space to discuss, pray, and heal.

Blessings,

Gabrielle G.

When God Brings Back Best Friends

Readers,

I have experienced so many instances lately of God’s sovereign timing. I’ve received apologies three years after I wanted them, yet right at the moment when it mattered. I’ve run into people I hadn’t seen in years, but at exactly the right time when I knew it was from God.

God has also brought back one of my best friends. This friend and I were best friends and sisters for about two years before graduating from college and losing touch, something we never thought would happen. I remember the day we met: I was late for my first day of an English class my sophomore year of college and saw that there were only two seats left in the crowded classroom. Both empty seats were next to a Muslim girl in a hijab. I looked at each girl and decided to sit next to one of them. I’m not sure why I chose this girl, but I think it was God’s influence. We sat next to each other, introduced ourselves, and from that moment, we were friends. From the beginning I knew she was a Muslim and she knew I was a Christian. She was my first Muslim friend and I was her first Christian friend. I felt like our friendship was so beautiful and so powerful. In a world where people from both of our respective faiths hated each other, we chose to love each other.

She taught me some Urdu words and explained how Muslims view Jesus, or Isa. I taught her how Christians view Jesus and how we see God as our Father. I’ll never forget one of the most beautiful moments in our friendship. While living at the dorms, I so desperately wanted to have a sleepover with her, but I knew that her mother wouldn’t consent. Her mother didn’t know me at all. Surprisingly, when she asked her mom, she said yes! That night, after feeding her a meal of mushy rice and beans (I’ve perfected my rice-making abilities since then), which she claimed to love, we sat on my dorm bed and talked about life. She confided in me that she witnessed her father’s death and felt guilt from that experience. I sat there, nodding, listening, praying for her. All of a sudden, she burst into tears and I hugged her, rubbing her back and telling her that God is her Father and He wants to take this pain away from her. She sobbed and said, “I don’t even know why I’m crying. I’ve never even told anyone about this before.” We had only known each other for a few months at that time, but I was convinced that the Holy Spirit was using me to touch her heart and soul. 

As she wiped her eyes, she laughed a little, out of relief. I could see that so much was lifted off of her shoulders. That night, as she slept on my air mattress on the floor, I looked down at her and prayed, “Jesus, give her a dream. I know how You use dreams to speak to many Muslim people. Lord, give her a dream.”

I woke up the next morning waiting to hear all about this dream. She didn’t say anything. “Well, maybe she had a dream and just didn’t tell me,” I thought. A week later, I “randomly” ran into her at school and she said, “Gabby, I had a dream! Last night I had a dream that I was walking with my boyfriend and looked away for a second. When I looked back, you were in his place and all of a sudden this peace and warmth washed over me. It was so incredibly peaceful.”

Now any other person would say, “Woah, looks like she’s in love with you.” Nah. I know that I was merely a representation of Jesus in her dream. She saw the Jesus in me and felt peace. She went to class and I walked away rejoicing and praising God for what He had done! She had a dream about Him!

After graduating, we completely lost touch. We didn’t really talk for almost two years. Much of that was because we simply didn’t see each other anymore. She lived far away and had a full-time job. I was in the same position. Over time we just became used to not talking, although I never forgot about her and she apparently never forgot about me. While texting about seeing the new Hindi film “Padmaavat”, we became reconnected. I remember thinking, “Who would see this film with me?” She was the only person I could think of who would want to join me.

Since that day, we began texting more often and picked up our friendship right where we left off. It was like nothing had changed. One night, I sent her the e-mail/blog post I shared here a few days ago about my decision to move to India. She called me crying and said, “I’m so sorry I wasn’t there for you. I’m so sorry I didn’t put effort into maintaining our friendship. I’m so sorry.” 

This was a shock to me! I didn’t find her guilty of anything at all! But we both cried a little over the phone and talked for an hour. She confided in me about her mom’s health struggles and how she’s has become the primary breadwinner now. We talked about my potential future shaadi in India and how we’re going to sneak her into the country (she’s Pakistani.) It was like nothing had changed but time and our level of cynicism. Working and being an actual adult had already taken its toll on us.

If she had come back into my life at any other time, I don’t think it would have been as powerful as it is now. She came back at a time when I am planning to move to India to serve Jesus and others. I truly believe that Jesus brought us back together now to grow us in our friendship and sisterhood. I believe that He will use me again to shine more truth about Him to her. I want my life to be a living testimony that I serve a living God.

Pray for that, please.

 

Blessings,

 

Gabrielle G.

I Was Racially Profiled in NYC

Welp. How do I begin? Let’s all take a deep breath, get a cup of tea, and settle in for this story. I walked into Beacon’s Closet, a super white hipster store, on W. 13th Street around 11 AM with a huge garbage bag full of clothes, intending to sell them. I walked straight back to the selling section of the store and was told they’d call my name when my clothes were ready.

I walked around the store for a while and ended up waiting an hour before finding out that they had already looked through my clothes, wanted nothing, and didn’t have the decency to call my name and let me know that.

The real tea here is this: if you’re a woman of color with a purse, watch out. I had with me a really loose tote bag that was about half the size of a regular tote bag. It’s such a thin and loose material that if I stuffed anything in there, you could definitely see the outline.

While perusing the socks, and waiting for my clothes to be done, a sales associate behind the jewelry counter looked at me up and down and said, with no smile or kindness, “Can I have your bag?” I looked into her eyes and saw exactly what she was thinking, “This brown girl is going to steal.” She looked very nervous. If there’s a no “large” bag policy, she should be used to asking this question and shouldn’t look so scared. I asked her, “Oh, do I have to?” She said, “I’d prefer it.” So I gave it to her and walked around the store.

While walking around, I noticed that every other woman carried a tote bag, many of them leather (making it harder to see what’s inside). Their bags were much larger than mine. I also noticed that every woman shopping was white, except for me. Huh.

I went back to this sales associate and said, “Every other woman here has her bag, so can I have mine back?”

She replied, “Sure, I just like to take bigger bags.” I took a peek behind her and saw that the only other bags taken were large backpacks, which is pretty NYC standard.

I later left and called the store, speaking with the manager who was kind and understanding. She said that the bag policy is definitely not something they force and she’s going to speak with that associate about her approach to me.

All of the other women in that store were white and they kept their large bags. My medium-sized bag was taken away and I was the only person of color.

While in the store I felt so conflicted: do I stand up for myself and make a scene, possibly getting thrown out by security and playing into the “crazy Latina” trope? Or do I just go home and write a strongly-worded blog post? I chose the latter.

Women of color, watch out.

 

Blessings,

 

Gabrielle G.