Thankful: Feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative.
(Adjective) When you are thankful, you are very happy and relieved to have something, or that something has happened.
My conviction wasn't birthed from its definition, but from a position of "Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Reflection is an excellent tool to assess where you've been, where you're headed, and the journey taken in-between. As I've become mindful of my life, I began to take the posture of being "Thankful" by seeing the beauty in every good, bad, and ugly phase.
Many would say I've had a remarkable life, shining bright like a diamond. From my perspective, it has been incredible as well, but life has shown me that the splendor or beauty of a diamond isn't revealed until it has been processed. There have been days I had to remind myself that a diamond underneath the layers of dirt from my life would one day be revealed for God's glory.
My retrospective journey took me from the late 1970s, memories of being teased as a child for being "dark skin" and hating to even look at myself in the mirror.
1983, I tried to take my life at the age of 14. I honestly don't remember why, but I'm thankful that I got sick, threw-up, and my mother took me to the ER for what she thought was a stomach virus.
1984, in a major car accident that caused me to lose memories from my childhood that took place before the accident – except the negative thoughts I created about myself.
1987, diagnosed with premature ovarian failure, which put me into menopause at the age of 17. The thought of never being a mother tormented me, along with concerns of who would marry someone who could not give them children.
Side note: HOT FLASHES ARE OF THE DEVIL…LOL
1988, left Oakland University, forfeiting a full-paid scholarship. I had never had "freedom" to make my own choices, so I became fearful of the overwhelming temptations of staying in a co-ed dorm. I would later attend Wayne State University.
1990, I took the call requesting my parents or me to come to the city morgue to identify my sister's body after missing three days. Her body was found in an alley with a gunshot wound to the head.
1991, trial for the three accused, tried and convicted for my sister's murder, later revealed she was sexually assaulted as well. That same year, finishing my second year of college, I made the hard decision to put my education on hold to care for my ailing parents and my sister's son, who was only five months old at the time.
1992, I was with my fiancé, Renard Lee Davis (I got engaged 12/31/1991), when he was shot in the chest by a drive-by shooter—waiting over a half-hour for police to arrive while he bled internally. A little over 30 days later, I received the University of Michigan Hospital's call that he was hanging on to life and I needed to get there as soon as possible. I sat by his side, with his grandmother, praying for him as he took his last breath.
2000, did the eulogy for the first man I loved, my hero, my daddy, Willie Otis Mills, Sr.
2002, moved my nephew in with me and walked him through a MAJOR trial in his life, having no parenting training (as if there really is any) for five years.
2009, I got a visit from the Detroit Police informing me a body with a gunshot wound to the chest was found in my burned-out car to be revealed a day later was my husband, William Bernard Jones. We celebrated our fourth Wedding Anniversary three days prior. Having to battle, the thoughts of losing every man I truly loved became agonizing at moments. I would jokingly refer to myself as the "black widow." NOT FUNNY!
I could include so much more; however, these are what I call "Beauty Marks" I've received during this 49-year journey. I call them "Beauty Marks" because I dare not look at them as if something "happened to me," which was designed to put me in the victim mentality far too long.
I will tackle and explore in-depth many of these "Beauty Marks" during this 12to50 journey, not to pat myself on the back or to say, "look how far I've come." None of this says ANYTHING about me. I'm reminded of a statement my Pastor, Reginald Morris Lane, made at my husband's memorial service that I will never forget. "To paraphrase the prophetess Carly Simon, you're so vain, and I bet you think your life is about you."
Nothing I went through speaks of my strength or as a Woman of God, daughter, friend, fiancé, sister, or wife. As a matter of fact, those identity markers are just titles to express the hand of God in each area of the gardens of life God has planted me in to tend, cultivate, and nurture for His Glory!
Let's continue this journey!