Just me. Being me. Doing me.
A standard of grace not perfection is a resonating theme throughout my life. Living on Grace and Mercy is the mission statement for my life coming from Hebrews 4:16. Which reads:
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (KJV)
What we all need each day, God gives in full measure. His mercies are new every single morning. Life is panful at times, hurtful, disappointing, and if we choose self-reliance over God’s grace and mercy we will easily cave into a life of anxiety filled depression. Every morning I open my heart to recieve new grace and mercy, joy fills my heart, peace, love and I am content to go, to do, to be.
Lamentations 3: 22 – 23 reads:
“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” (KJV)
Personally Sophoria – who am I? A daughter, sister, aunt, niece, grand daughter, great-grand daughter, god mother, and a friend. Relationships are essential to my well being and my history with my native family and with high school and college friends has been the proving ground for my adult relationships. I am also characterized as an intellectual, creative, sassy, complex, well-organized, self-disciplined, reserved, magical, friendly, cooperative, calm, secure, and dedicated – an original, unique, one-a-kind design since 1980. The fingerprint of my personality was fashioned by God in my mother’s womb before I was yet born. God knew that I would be all these wonderful things according to His intricate design the woman I would be.
God also knew that I would be stubborn, moody, and judgemental. I am not perfect but I am being transformed by the DAILY renewing of my mind through Christ Jesus. What does that mean? It means that I have to read the Bible daily and pray daily and speak God’s Word to thoughts not like Him, often (sometimes over and over) and more often when I am being stubborn, moody, and judgemental. I have to talk to myself, take time to listen to wise counsel, have a listening ear, and remember that I am not self-reliant. It means I am not perfect and even when I try really hard I sometimes fall. God gives me grace when I fall and He is always there to remind me of who I am in Him – the perfect picture of Jesus Christ.
I have come to understand that I am different by design. To be honest I don’t always understand why, but it has always been clear to me even as a young child – I am different. Growing up I was pretty different from my siblings in many ways. Even now as a woman I am different from my peers in many significant ways. I am personally me and in that truth I find contentment.
Moments when my differences were revealed to me (or others):I have always loved going to and being in church – it is the place where I feel the safest. The African American Baptist church raised me and framed me into the woman I am today. Whereas most children can’t wait to get out of church. I left my home high school after the 9th grade to attend the High School for Engineering Professions at Booker T. Washington High School, leaving the school where both my older sisters attended and graduated. I started college in 1998 at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee majoring in Mechanical Engineering, leaving all my family and friends in the Houston, Texas area. In the Fall of 1999 I became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc while most of my family members are in Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. In 2000 I transferred into the dual degree program at Clark Atlanta University and Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia leaving all my dearest friends and TSU family. In 2003 I became the first in my immediate family to graduate with a college degree and I actually earned 2 degrees. After teaching 8th grade in Texas for 3 years I left the Houston, Texas area again and moved far east to the Washington DC Metro area to attend graduate school at the University of Maryland – College Park. In 2012 I graduated with my PhD and Masters in Mechanical Engineering, again the first for my family. I became a college professor at the United States Naval Academy, a small, prestiguous teaching focused institution while most of my peers went on to teach at Research 1 institutions or high paying private sector jobs. In 2016 I started my own company, The Westmoreland Group, a consulting firm established to support the mission of government operations through science and technology. I am still one of only 2 (my sister lives in the Dominican Republic) in my family who does not call the Houston, Texas area home – I still reside in the Washington DC Metro area.
The reason the moments aren’t all attributed to me is because sometimes I needed encouragement or to be voluntold that I should try another direction in my life. Sometimes I am not able to see the me I will be. The experiences listed above were put into place by my parents, aunts, uncles, teachers, coaches, siblings, friends, sunday school teachers, bible study teachers, sorority sisters, mentors and my life coaches Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey.
Robert Frost perfectly summarizes those of us who are different by design.
“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
When I come to the end of Sophoria – there is God extending beyond my imagination the destiny of who I am to become. My phsycial limitations humble me. My intellectual limitations bring me to my knees in prayer. My financial limitations bring me test God with my tithe and offering. God is faithful, not me! God is great and can do great things (even greater things) through me for my good but for His glory.
I was here
I lived, I loved
I was here
I did, I’ve done everything that I wanted
And it was more than I thought it would be
I will leave my mark so everyone will know
I was here
This I know for sure: God is with me through Christ and, by the Holy Spirit, He promises new mercies and His perfect strength so that I can do all things.