This time last year, I wasn’t looking forward to my birthday. The “birthday blues” were at an all-time high and I wanted the day to be over as fast as the day come.

This year, I spent half my birthday locked up in my apartment; I almost went to work, but the thought of interacting with 95-plus hyperactive 9th graders wasn’t appealing (and Mondays are professional development which extends the day to an excruciating hour and a half).

32 came like a blur. I was in the middle of an intense spiritual battle, desperately trying to hear God’s voice to my numerous questions: Which church congregation should I move on to? Should I resign from my job? Did I make a mistake in leaving my current church? Should I go back? Should I stay? God, what do I do?

Turns out 33 yields similar questions. I am grateful that God has gently persuaded me to “be still and know that I am God” as far as the church situation goes. Too often I let my own insecurities and doubts creep into my relationship with God instead of trusting His process and plan. Right now He’s refining me in ways that I never fathomed.

32 was the year I lost my grandmother. At 93, she saw 5 generations and was ready to transition. I foolishly thought she’d live forever; when someone is a part of your life for so long, their inevitable passing is jarring in surreal. There are moments I still expect to see her number pop up on my phone; when the family traveled to Florida after she passed, I still expected her to be fluttering around in the kitchen or sitting on her bed while the news blared in the background. I miss her.

32 was the year I went to 3 different countries. Grenada, Canada, and France. I learned that travel can be both invigorating and frustrating, magical and disappointing. There was a zest I experienced scurrying around my apartment looking for travel-sized toiletries, checking my phone for flight updates, and zipping/unzipping my backpack a dozen times to make sure I had my passport.

32 was the year I inched closer to the realization that I desire to be a storyteller. That God gifted me with a fire to share words of encouragement and wonder. Unfortunately, the aforementioned doubt is a present enemy, ready to snuff out the flame of creativity and faith that God writes through me.

32 was the year that my resilience and faith were tested. In these last few weeks, I’m facing seemingly insurmountable decisions. Decisions that I have to count the cost of the choices being made. Yet I know that my current position is triggering unprecedented anxiety and weariness. I spend most of my days dreading the next; waiting with restrained tension for the day to be over and I can breathe easy.

33 is the year I need to let go. Let go of the hesitation when sharing about the Lord. Letting go of a career that sparks adulations from family and strangers, but drains all facets of my being. Letting go of the stories, both fictional and factual, that I bound because I didn’t think I had anything of value to say. Letting go of the fear of starting over and taking unseen steps toward a future where I wake each day eager to see what God has in store.

33 is the year I embrace the words said in Luke 1:37 “With God nothing is Impossible”.

33. The year of Impossible.

I think I like the sound of that.

God is able to do far more than we could ever ask for or imagine. He does everything by his power that is working in us. Ephesians 3:20-21.

Security in God: Managing Anxiety and Intrusive Thinking Part I 

La Sagesse Beach, Grenada. This spot is excellent for a quiet place to pray or journal

    One morning I woke up and couldn’t move my body. My brain was screaming “Get up! Get up!”. My body remained motionless, ignoring the directives  to move my limbs. 

That was the first time I experienced sleep paralysis. I knew I dreaded the day ahead. That’s anxiety’s job; to immobilize your mind and body. I’ve struggled with the condition since I was six; I didn’t have a name for the condition, but I was a worrisome child. I remember if my mom or dad was late coming home from work or picking me up from after school program I’d start to panic, chest constricting and start sobbing. I knew that they had been killed in a horrible car accident or murdered in the mean streets of the City. My mind always veered toward the worst case scenario and I developed a form of insomnia. My mind kept replaying all that could go wrong, all the ways I or someone I love could die. I hated when the telephone rang; the dread would creep up my stomach and I rushed toward my mom, frantically asking “who is it, who is it?”. 

Anxiety filled other areas of my life. I purposely performed poorly in elementary  school because if I made honor roll, the principal would call me up to the stage in front of all my peers. I was afraid of being laughed at and booed if I walked across the stage. I had anxiety about crossing the street. Dogs. Being called on in class. Driving. Getting into a car accident.

Last year was the breaking point. I finally began therapy in September of 2020. I’m blessed to have a therapist who is a Christian. One of the first points she made was “Anxiety is not of God”. 

If anxiety is not of God, then it must be from the other guy.  

According to the American Psychological Association anxiety is defined as “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure. People with anxiety usually have recurrent  intrusive thoughts or concerns”. 

God understands the human condition, so He specifically addresses anxiety head on. He knows that satan uses anxiety to rob us of our peace. One of my anchor scripture is in Philippians 4: 6-7 where the Word of God reads “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be known to God; and let the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (New King James Version) .

My therapist encouraged me to clothe myself with that scripture anytime my mind wandered toward worst case scenarios. When battling anxiety, helpful remedies included 

  1. Praying and reading scripture 
  2. Speaking or thinking of anchor Bible verses about anxiety 
  3. Taking an intrusive thought and speaking the positive 
  4. Journaling 
  5. Herbal tea
  6. Being in places that provide a sense of peace: a library or quiet part of a park
  7. Deep breathing and tapping exercises 
  8. Consistently seeing my therapist

I’m still learning various techniques to quell anxiety, but most importantly I understand that I don’t have to claim anxiety. I used to say, “my anxiety is flaring”. I do not have to own anxiety. Another scripture that helps is 1 Peter 5:7 “Cast your anxieties on him because He cares for you”. We are given explicit permission to let go of our anxiety and give it to God. 

I’m not 100% cured of anxiety because, like most mental health struggles, the condition takes time to subside. Supports like therapy, deep breathing, prayer and other techniques are extremely helpful. I’m grateful to share my story and help those with similar stories. To God be the glory!  

With Love, 


Social (In)security: A series of Reflections on Fellowship and Connectivity

Each Sunday I wake up with the same tightness in my chest; the thought of going to church is supposed to encourage and uplift my spirit. The church I currently attend laudes itself as “the fellowship of believers” or the “God’s family”. The culture thrives on intimate connection through Christ, which is 100% biblical. The church leaders expect us to be immersed in each other’s lives, no boundaries and with complete trust. Almost every Sunday service there’s a member tearfully expressing how much they are grateful for the body of believers. The scripture often quoted comes from Matthew 13:44 “The Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought the field( NIV Version)”. 

I sit in silence as church goers weave right past me. This is the part of the service called “The Fellowship break” where eager congregation members huddle, all smiles and hugs. I watch as women in flowery dresses squeal in delight as they approach another sister (in Christ). I watch brothers (in Christ) fist bump and bro hug. The cacophony of conversations swirls all around me and one part of my brain begs “Get up, go say hi to someone. This is why you’re lonely and don’t feel connected. You’re not trying”. Then the dominant, insecure part of my brain retorts “I told you we don’t belong here. No matter how hard she tries, she’s never going to feel connected. We’ll always be on the outside”. 

A close  friend of mine point blank asked me “I wonder if you really value the Kingdom” (the members of the congregation). The more I ponder that question (and she asked me this almost a year ago), the more I find myself wrestling with the requirement of being bonded with a single fellowship. Naturally, I’m an introvert and coupled with social anxiety creates a cocktail of overwhelming feelings when I go to church for various “meetings of the body”. 

Instead of experiencing encouragement and love, I am ready to leave as soon as I get to the 3rd floor of the building where the service is held. Sweaty palms, fuzzy head and blurry vision I take my seat. Instead of clapping and bouncing along to the sounds of worship, all I experience is a hollow heartache. I wonder why I decided to come back after leaving the Church in May of 2021. It seems the more I try to connect with members, the more the emptiness and disconnect increases. 

My therapist attributes my social anxiety to the fact that I purposely made myself a wallflower to protect myself from being hurt by others. She said “You’re not used to putting yourself out there and initiating conversations. Oftentimes you’re going to have to make the first move”. 

There are times when I make an effort to connect with the women of the church. I smile, make small talk, but then the conversation stalls or feels too forced, inauthentic. In fact, I often feel like I have to put on a facade, conform to the person the people in the fellowship want me to be ; gregarious, talkative, peppy. Sometimes I feel like I have to be someone else to be accepted, to be chosen to participate in service or just plain seen. 

There’s a quote from one of my favorite movies “The Breakfast Club” (John Hughes, 1985). Andrew, the jock, says to John Bender, the trouble maker, “You know, Bender, you don’t even count. I mean if you disappeared forever it wouldn’t make a difference. You may as well not even exist in this school”. 

That sums up how I can view myself in the context of the church I attend. Invisible. Overlooked. There’s a desperation and longing to experience the same fellowship that is so praised by the church leaders and members. But I don’t. And there are many times I don’t think I ever will.  

Then I think of Jesus, how I belong to Him once I said “Jesus is Lord”. John 1:12 “Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, he became the right to become children of God”. I may be one of God’s shier sheep, but I have to remember “The Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture”(Psalm 100:3).  

Another important point is to know that I am not the only person who struggles with social anxiety, loneliness or feeling invisible. It can be hard to admit these struggles in an environment where instant bonding is celebrated. I’m reminded to pray and seek out those who are overlooked. 

One challenge I literally just gave myself as I conclude this post is for next Sunday; find someone who is sitting alone, who isn’t engaging in conversation and just say hello. We have a God who sees us even when people look right past us. I am 1000% guilty of staying in my bubble, too afraid to move when someone is feeling the exact way I am. Sometimes my I get so caught up in my owns thoughts, I need to have eyes like Jesus, able to see the Zacchaeuses longing to be seen from the treetops (Luke 19:1-2) 

I’m grateful to be able to write about this topic. Social anxiety, loneliness and the persistent feeling of being left out may not be the most comfortable topic within a church. It requires examination internally and externally. My prayer is that all those who feel like I do know how much God loves and cares for each of us. As much as I would like to at times , we are not meant to live life alone. God created Eve for Adam because He knew it wasn’t good for anyone to be alone. Perhaps one day the connections will come. For now, I’ll fix my eyes on Jesus, because I know He calls me friend. 

And with a friend like Jesus, who can ever be lonely? 

With Love, 


“A Bird Alone on a Roof”

May is Mental Health Awareness Month - Florida Institute for Health  Innovation
Let’s break the Stigma

I decided to go grocery shopping today. I dragged my cart down three flights of stairs, stepped out into the liquid steel gray morning and trudged the 25 minute walk to Aldi’s. On the way there, I decided to pray. I spoke to God, thanking Him for the miracles in my life, speaking healing over my sick relatives, increased faith and to build up the confidence to share my faith with those in my circle. I entered Aldi’s pumped up, ready to take on the dairy and produce aisles. A clerk greeted me warmly and pointed me in the direction of the fresh, sun colored sweet corn. I sashayed through throughout the store, energized by my power prayer walk. I left the store and started back toward my apartment.

That’s when the enemy flung depression right in my face like a monkey at a zoo throwing its dung in its cage. As I struggled to push my cart up hills a barrage of thoughts such as ” you have no friends”, ” no one cares about you”, no one is thinking about you”, “you’re always going to be left out”, “you could disappear and no one would notice” drowned out the previous, kinetic and powerful pray from just 30 minutes prior.

The backdrop was mockingly perfect. Gray, sunless skies along with a taunting drizzle became my own little movie set as the wheels of my cart hit cracks on the sidewalk. The closer I got to my house, a place that is supposed to provide comfort and relief, the more I felt a growing void insidiously growing inside. Empty and colorless. I thought to myself, “You’ve been here before. Just get into the Word and then watch the church service. You’ll feel better”.

Except the void only expanded. Try as I might, the worship and message of the pastor failed to soothe the burning depression searing throughout my body. The music from the worship team sounded like a baby banging on pots and pans on the kitchen floor. The words from the Pastor dulled into my brain, but go figure, I could hear the enemies taunts of “you’re not good enough”, “what have you accomplished for God?” “Look at everyone else, they’ve got something to show, they’ve got the talent, the anointing”, “what have you got?”

Like a twisted melody, I let the enemy continue his sinister symphony. Even now as I’m writing, the burning in my chest persist.

I, like 16.1 million adults in the United States, battle Major Depressive Disorder (according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America). The National Institute of Mental Health has the figure of 17.1 million adults as having one depressive episode. These past two weeks I experienced the symptoms of “persistent, sad, anxious mood”, “feelings of pessimism”, Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling “slowed down”, “Restlessness, irritability” “Insomnia, early-morning awakening,” and “Loss of interest in hobbies and activities” (adaa.org).

Even today, I considered calling up a friend and saying I was no longer wanted to go on our trip to Montana. I ruminated on how to tell her that I didn’t want to go on the trip she is so pumped about.That I wasn’t interested. That I would feel like a third wheel.

Depression is one of the devil’s favorite friends. he uses depression to suck the joy and light out of anyone who has a dastardly encounter with it. Like a puppet, the talks through depression saying “When was the last time anyone texted you to hang out” and “See, you’re never invited to hang out or go on dates”, and “you’re not appreciated at work and your colleagues don’t respect you”. And worst “Look how you’ve wasted your time and life. God isn’t using you because you’re useless”.

Depression makes you feel like a bird alone on a roof. An unstable and collapsable roof.

Then, just when you’ve run out of tears to spill, another bird joins you on the roof. He shoos the enemy away and turns to you. He says to you ” Don’t let this rattle you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I’m taking.” (John 14: 1-4, The Message Version).

This bird will never leave you alone, even though that’s exactly what you want to be at the moment. This bird nestles next to you, sings a song of hope, light and love. The bird urges you to fly with Him high above the void that the enemy tried to pull you into. He takes you on a new route, the route of life and Truth. He restores your smile. Your outlook.

When Jesus was about to go to the Cross, he made sure that His disciples would be taken care of. He didn’t leave them alone, but sent His Holy Spirit as a comforter. The Holy Spirit helps us remember the character and promises of God. He’ll vacuum out the dusty cloud of lies that the enemy left behind and remind us that we are chosen, thought of and loved.

And my mind has a lot dust to vacuum.

I used to be ashamed of depression. On days when we duke it out and depression seems to have the upper hand, I think that I’ve failed God. That my faith is weak. In these moments, I’m reminded of the words the Lord spoke to Paul “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Instead of embracing depression, I am encouraged to embrace God’s grace and power. Battling depression has made me more emphatic and understanding. An advocate of mental health . And living proof of God’s grace and mercy.

With the Month of May being National Mental Health Awareness Month, now more than ever, I feel compelled to share my story. I may still be smack dab in the middle of a depressive episode, but that’s all the more reason I need God to use me. For me to tell you there’s hope. That struggling with your mental health isn’t shameful or an indication that something is wrong with you. I am proof that depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, maladaptive behavior and other mental health challenges don’t have to rule your life. Because at the end of that long, dreary walk through that dark tunnel is light.

And I can’t wait to bask in it.

Something New

“I’m so happy for you!”

“I wish you the best!”

“We support you one hundred percent!”

“I hope you’re well and you take care of yourself during this time” .

“I’m sending positive thoughts your way”.

The well wishes of my parents, friends and colleagues uplift my spirit as I take a major step towards mental health wellness. Starting tomorrow, I’ll be undergoing a deep, intense therapy called “The Breakthrough Process”.

The purpose of the “Breakthrough Process”, according to my therapist, is to “release the toxic energy that has been draining you for so long” and that I need to release “the yarn ball of combined traumatic experiences”.

Scary part; this conversation happened right after our first session back on September 23rd, 2020.

The type of mental health therapy I’m about to undergo comes at a price ( a hefty $3000.00 so thank God my parents are helping me finance the therapy) ; I think about the scripture in Luke 14:28, about counting the cost of battle. At first, I shirked at the price, thinking, “this woman is out of her mind”.

Turns out, I’m the one that has been out of my mind for twenty plus years. Anxiety and depression became appendages that took over my mind and eventually my actions. My smile faded. I jumped every time the phone rang, convinced of terrible news on the other end of the line. Then came a jagged symphony of insomnia, negative thinking, migraine headaches, diminished cognitive thinking, low energy, apathy and hopelessness.

So I had two choices; I could either have a breakthrough or I could have a breakdown.

I have no idea what tomorrow will be like. I’ll wake up at 5:00 AM, take an Uber to the Metro North and then a Bee line bus to my therapist’s office. The Breakthrough process takes a week and I have no idea who will step out of my therapist’s office when we have our final session of the Breakthrough Process.

All I know is that I’m ready for something new.

“And I will give you a new heart and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh”. Ezekiel 36:26

On This Day Last Year

My 31st Birthday!

On this day last year, I published my first post on “The Bashful Butterfly”. Initially, my plan was to post weekly blogs, but teacher life is real, so I decided to post once a month.

I kept up with my blog schedule a whopping 5 months.

Truthfully, I didn’t have a direction for “The Bashful Butterfly” or any particular audience I was writing for. I know I’m Christian. Single. A Teacher. Reader. Occasional writer. Movie enthusiast. Perfecter of procrastination. The conundrum came when deciding how to combine each part of my identity. At first, I was excited for the challenge; for the first time, I made the firm decision to keep writing no matter what. The real goal, I suppose, was to improve my writing skills. To build an audience. And to what content people could be encouraged by and find relatable.

In Mid-may I lost my stride. The mental toll of Covid , long standing racial strife in the United States, and deep wounds from my subconscious attacked at once. I became paralyzed with dread and paranoia as I waited for the next disaster to befall the world.

Internally I wasted away and thoughts I thought I had long buried resurfaced. I retreated into my shell while also shutting myself off mentally, emotionally and worst of all spiritually. God became an afterthought and in retrospect, I detached myself from my Lord because I was disappointed. Discouraged. Despairing. And in some ways, disappearing.

And it scared me.

Come September, I decided to seek therapy after parrying with the idea for years (more on that decision in another blog post). One evening, I wrote a concerning and downright frightening journal entry which was my signal that I needed help.

After a jagged journey to therapy, I’ve hit my stride. I am grateful to God for revealing my damaged heart through my writing. The Bible tells us that when Joseph was reunited with his brothers after decades in Egypt (brothers who sold him into slavery) , he said these words to them “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” Genesis 50:20

I used to think my mental health struggles were a stain, a curse or a blemish. I was ashamed of the negative thoughts that kept creeping up even though I am supposed to be a daughter of God. My anxiety, depression and detachment meant I was unfit for God’s kingdom.

Well, the Bible is full of people who were initially “unfit”. So I guess I fit right in, huh?

If anything, I finally have a direction for this blog. Going forward, I’ll take on a wacky, nonsensical and downright odd journey I’m on to spiritual, emotional and mental healing. I’ll share what I’m learning about myself and God, what I learned already and what I still need to learn. And I hope people who read my blog will come away with nuggets, no matter how rusty, on how God’s love plays an essential part in my healing.

So keep your hands and feet inside the ride ladies and gents. It’s going to get bumpy.

With Love,