Good Grief, Leah Royster: A Reflection of my Grieving Process and Journey Part 1

Phase 1: Anticipation and Denial

My Gorgeous Grandmother, Montie Neblett

**If anyone has a prayer request or is grieving and could use an outlet to share their healing process you can email me at . Peace and blessings!

“She won’t take her medicine, eat and she’s been fighting the hospital staff” I said in an exasperated tone to my therapist on a chilly, gray January afternoon. 

My therapist paused and said, “What does that suggest to you, Leah?” 

“I’m not sure”. I said quietly, even though I knew exactly where my therapist was headed and I was determined to try to stop the freight train sized words that were to come next. 

“It suggests that she’s done. If she’s not fighting to live, then she’s fighting for the right to die, to move on”. My therapist continued, “ You have to make sure you do everything you can to make peace with your grandmother’s transition. Think about what you need to have closure”. 

Let’s rewind. 

My grandmother, Montie Neblett, passed away February 7th of this year. Rewind further; on December 29th, 2021, my grandmother called my mother’s house number; lately she refused to get out of bed, wouldn’t eat or drink, and weighed 82 pounds. I happened to answer the phone and was glad to hear her voice. Looking back, she sounded weak and fragile; I asked her how she was doing; the conversation was brief and the last thing she said to me was : “I’m going to get up because I have to poop”.  I told her to be careful going to the bathroom. I’m not sure if I told her I loved her.  

Part of me wonders if I should have called my aunt Emma, whom my grandmother was living with before she passed, to make sure grandma was ok going to the bathroom.  

Later that evening, around 9 PM, Aunt Emma called. “Grandma had a fall, we’re at the hospital right now”. 

The 6 and half weeks between grandma’s fall and her passing were the cliche blur everyone talks about after a traumatic, life changing experience. Grandma ended up breaking her hip, requiring surgery, survived the surgery, but declined shortly after she started physical therapy at the nursing home. 

After the conversation with my therapist (the first Monday in January), I retreated into the “denial” phase of letting go of a loved one. I didn’t call to check in about grandma. I didn’t pick up the phone when my mom called because I anticipated the news that wasn’t too far off. I thought to myself, “Mom would text me to call her immediately if something was wrong”. 

Perhaps I unconsciously let go of my grandmother during that period between December 29th, 2021 until February 7th. Maybe I was upset with her for letting herself decline so quickly, refusing to eat, or fight for her life. I expected her to be around forever or at least to 100. Then I’d be ready to let her go. 

Phase 2 : Grieving and Guilt

The day after Grandma passed, I went to work. The whole day I waded through reality and an awkward dream-like state. I taught, smiled and laughed with students, and went to staff meetings. The first day of the grieving process is numb; you understand the person is gone, but not all of you has processed the implications, the loss, the void in your life. 

The second day was the hardest. The night before I sent an email to my co-teachers, principal and other support staff explaining the situation. The email was matter of fact, to the point.  Next day, I received multiple condolences from the colleagues that knew. I cried a few times in the back of my classroom, but immediately painted on  a huge smile once students started filing into the room. I didn’t tell them my grandmother died and as far as they knew, the day was a regular instructional day. 

Another blurry sequence of events followed before, during and after the funeral. The flight to Greensboro, North Carolina (God blessed me with a cheap price. 183.00 round trip to NC!). Seeing my grandma’s sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles and of course my mother. I hate the idea of funerals and witnessing grief up close. Crying and emotion triggers major discomfort for a multitude of reasons, which is why I avoided funerals in the past. 

The most tense moment happened during the funeral procession. Last time I saw grandma, she appeared chipper and eager to visit her house in Florida. My chest constricted the closer I approached her casket. She looked like one of those wax figures from Madame Tussaud’s. Artificial. In some ways seeing her so unlike how she looked made her transition easier. That wasn’t grandma Montie. I pictured her lounging in one of her long, silky,  nightgowns watching the news. 

I said a few words in honor of her. Listened to the sobs of my mother and my grandmother’s sisters. My cousin, who is a pastor, delivered the eulogy. We had the repasse. Went back to my Aunt Emma’s house to reminisce. I stayed in grandma’s room, the same room where she made her transition. There was a rose scented candle that had been burning for 3 straight days. I remember mom whispering “Is that you mommy?”  The superbowl was that Sunday and while my cousin watched the game, I excused myself, went to the guest room and let out a series of sobs. I think I cried more that weekend of the funeral than I cried in years. 

After I returned to New York the onslaught of guilt rushed at me like a stampede. What if I called her more? Why didn’t I visit her during her final days? I thought of every missed call from her and all the time I thought “I’ll call her back” and never did. All the times I was annoyed with her.  All the times I said things out of anger. The times I forgot to send her a birthday or Christmas gift. All the times I forgot to say “I love you”. 

Then there were random moments of grief. One afternoon in March, I went to get a slice of pizza. Instead of ordering the rectangular slice, I asked the cashier about the square slice with basil. He said “Oh, that’s our grandma’s slice”. Cue the tears. On the subway I saw an advertisement about a new food delivery app. The slogan: “Delivering soup as good a grandma’s”. During Mother’s Day season, I walked into Target and immediately saw a journal titled “Grandma tell me your story”. A commercial with a grandmother and her granddaughter solving a mystery. All blatant reminders of the permanent hole in my life. 

Then there’s the fact I moved up the ladder in my family. Grandma was my last living grandparent and now it’s mom, then me. Seeing mom grieve, settle grandma’s estate, close out her bank accounts, cancel her cell phone service, make arrangements to bring grandma’s body to be buried in Florida became a grim preview of what I’ll have to experience in the future. 

Grandma’s resting place in Florida

Phase 3: How I’m coping and what helps me cope.

My therapist stressed to grieve in a way that’s healthy. One point she made stuck with me; “Leah, your grandma passed with dignity. She decided she was ready to transition and did so on her own terms”. 

Grandma left this life at 93. Saw 5 generations of grandchildren. Transitioned in a warm bed Peacefully. 

People are right when they say grief comes in waves. Some days I am smiling, blissful and then something random will remind me of grandma and I’ll start to tear up. 

Only this time I let the tears come. I lean on the Lord. Prayer and journaling have been a tremendous support. Scriptures such as Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” and Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” solidify that God is carrying me through this grief journey. 

I watch old sitcoms my grandma used to watch. When we went to her house in Florida, I grabbed some of her nightgowns she wore most often, a picture nestled in a gold heart shaped frame of her and grandpa, and her pink slippers. Having reminders of her helps me feel her essence, a piece of her still here. 

Then I enjoy my life. I reach out to family and friends more often. Plan picnics on sunny days. Travel. Take walks in parks. Sit by a body of water and breathe in the fresh air. Celebrate every birthday, every milestone and every achievement. 

James 4: 14 tells us unabashedly (gotta love the pragamicity of the book of James)  “yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are but a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (English Standard Version). 

Somber as this sounds, I’m inspired to live the abundant life God has given me. Whether I live for another sixty years of if my time is up tomorrow, I want to know that I honored and embraced life. Loved others like Jesus loved. Gave. Supported. Comforted. 

If anyone is grieving a loss of a loved one, I am definitely praying for you! Everyone will experience loss and grieve. And there’s comfort knowing we all go through a shared experience. I’m grateful for grief; it’s a little reminder that we know how to love. One of the most profound lines about grief came from a Marvel TV series called Wandavision (Disney, 2021). One of the characters says “What is grief, but love persevering” (now I dare anyone to tell me Marvel has no substance after that brilliant line). The love I have for Grandma Montie remains. The memories. The laughs. The legacy. 

I am grateful for everything she taught me. Grateful I had her for almost 33 years of my life. Grateful she’s earned her rest. And grateful I get to continue to live to make her proud. 

I’ll always be grandma’s girl. 

With Love, 


Racing to The Finish Line

Hiking Mt. Rainier, Washington State. I was fixing to pass out, but I made it somewhat to the top.

Well, I’ve come to a place in my seven day writing marathon where I’m feeling the strain and exhaustion of pouring out intimate parts of myself. There’s a rawness to realness and right now my innermost parts are sore. I find that the second to last part of any journey or goal is the hardest. I’m almost to the seven day mark of my writing sprint, but this sixth day is pushing my limits! 

What I’ve found fascinating about the writing sprint is the different directions each blog piece has taken. As if the words came alive and said “not this way, but that way”. Originally, today’s post was going to be about love and an intense conversation I had with a woman in my Bible talk about the topic. I sat down to write about our conversation and my learnings, but the words were stuck in a pipeline of the muckiness of writer’s block. I crossed out sentence after sentence until I paused. “Perhaps I should write a poem about love” I thought. No go. 

That’s when I realized that I was tired. The week had been long, strenuous, my students ancy in anticipation for the weekend. For five days straight my fingers sprinted across the keyboard, producing words that were pent up for years and years. The process was liberating, exhilarating and a hundred mile per hour coaster with dips, loops and twists. My energy is at an all time high. 

Now I’m pooped. 

And that’s perfectly fine. 

I think about the concept of a marathon. The goal isn’t to finish first or finish the quickest. The goal is to simply persevere and finish. At times, that means taking breaks. Or say more with less. Writing is hard! Even if the words are flowing perfectly in my head, getting what I want to say on page is a whole other event. I wish I could lasso the words in my brain and yank them right on the page. However, each lap I complete is a victory. Each time I put my writing out into the world of the web is an accomplishment. 

Last summer I went to Seattle,Washington  with a good friend I met at graduate school. She’s an experienced hiker who thrives in nature. I’m more of a “sit my tush down underneath a shaded tree in a park with a Starbucks a few blocks away” type of gal .  One foggy morning we hiked up Mt Rainier. I thought I was either going to pass out or tumble down the mountain. There were times I needed to slow down. My friend would be way up ahead and I was far back huffing and puffing the higher the altitude became. 

But I hiked that mountain. 

A scripture I came across in the Bible is 2 Chronicles 15:7  “But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!” (New King James Version)  There were times I didn’t know if I would be able to commit to all seven days of writing a blog . Yet, God has a lot to say through me and trust me it’s best to let Him speak! 

So let’s finish this race. I see the finish line!  

With Love, 


Security in Christ When You’re Fearful

Hoh National Forest in Washington state. Great place for a prayer walk and to thank God for His creation!

“Hopeless”. “Desensitized”.  “Numb”. “I don’t feel safe here”. “I’m always looking over my shoulder”. “ I feel like I always have a bullseye on my back”. “This happens all the time”. I’m honestly ready to die”. 

  These words, spoken by my former students, shattered my heart. I looked around at the Black and Brown solemn faces, resignation and weariness etched in the expressions. What was frightening was how permanent those etchings were. 

I teach 9th grade English and part of the school culture is “healing circles”. Healing circles happen when there’s harm done in a community; usually a classroom where a fight breaks out or a major conflict between two students. The circle is meant for everyone to express, openly and without interruption, how they were impacted by the event. In this circle, we spoke about the Buffalo, NY massacre where almost a dozen, mostly African American, were killed by an 18 year old white male. 

A young man who could have been one of my students. 

We are living in troubling times; a two year pandemic, natural disasters exacerbated by climate change, the war crisis in Ukraine and ever present gun violence. According to the National Public Radio there have been 198 mass shootings in the United States. Everyday a news article pops up detailing a shooting in New York City.

Sometimes it’s all too much. 

When I listened to my students a heartbreak and fury arose in me. I am furious at lawmakers, politicians, guns rights advocates, adults in general. We have to do better for our children. They deserve to live in peace. They deserve to live without a cloak of heavy fear weighing them down. 

I too at times feel hopeless. The Bible tells us “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, and they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31, New International Version). 

What happens when all you want to do is faint?   

There is no easy, quick 1-2-3 remedy. In troubling times, God understands that we are running on empty.  The Bible is excellent at giving feedback on when you’re just too fed up with this chaotic world. “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12). In thinking about this, here are a few ways I can share on how I  remain hopeful when the world is going crazy around us; 

  1. Find a quiet place in nature (a park or taking a walk in a garden or wooded area): I love going on nature walks when I need a break from the noise of the world. Praying in a park or a beach, sitting down under a tree and journaling are great ways to appreciate the natural artistry of God’s creation. Being in nature reminds me how vast God’s majesty and sovereignty are. 
  2. Healing circles and support groups: Part of what attracted me to the High school I teach at was their response to community tragedies. The support staff and administration do an excellent job of preparing students to lead Healing circles. Being able to hear from your peers and know that we are feeling going through the same trauma helps us be more connected. Churches are also great spaces to s
  3. eek out people who will pray with and for you when the world gets too overwhelming.
  4. Gratitude Journaling: One of my friends gave me a challenge; everyday list five things you’re grateful for. focusing on what’s going well and how God blesses you can shift your mindset away from the negativity around you.  

Lastly, living without fear. When you look at the news, Facebook, twitter and other social media; we’re inundated with negativity. I always hold on to 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (New King James Version). God wants to live without looking over our shoulder for something to go wrong. Of course we should live wisely, be aware of our surroundings and let family and friends know where we are if we have to be out late or going on a long trip. However, God gave us life to live in full, not in fear. 

At the end of our circle, one of the students said “This is why I cherish every moment like it’s my last”. I hope that all of us have an aquarium filled with moments of laughter, joy, peace and love.  

With Love, 


Resources: These are the websites of churches I’ve attended that have prayer teams and support groups. 

  1. Palabras De Vida (Words of Life):
  1. New York City International Christian Church:
  1. C3 NYC:  
  2. Rejoyce in Jesus Ministries :

Security in Identity

Grand Etang National Park, Grenada. Being the beautifully and fearfully made person of God!

“You should ask the women how they see you”.

I sat across from my friend, ***Tara, as she took another sip of her drink. What she was referring to was for me to ask the women in my Bible talk how they perceived me. 

Earlier in the day, during the fellowship break at Sunday church service, *Tara approached me me all smiles and sunshine radiating in each step she took. I tried to smile away the unease that had been resting inside my stomach since I left my apartment. 

“How are you?” She asked. 

“We’ll talk”. I replied. “We’ll talk”, is code for when I’m absolutely overwhelmed or inexplicably lonely in a place where I’m supposed to experience love, friendship and unity. 

Tara and I made plans to meet around seven at night. She mentioned a craving for Wendy’s fries and the sugary strawberry lemonade. She picked me 

A little after 7, Tara picked me up in a cute black and white Mini Cooper and we drove to a Wendy’s close to my apartment.   After we ordered our food, settled in our seats, I spoke openly. 

“Honestly Tara, the only reason I think I’m still with the church is because of accountability”. Our church has a culture of “discipling” where each member meets with a man or woman who holds them accountable to the standards of the Bible. Each of us is  supposed to meet with our discipler once a week to discuss areas of spiritual growth, pray and confess any sin we need to get out into the open. Tara had been my discipler for 9 months at one point so I rapport was easy and light. I knew she wouldn’t judge or rebuke me harshly. 

I continued softly. “Sometimes I think I made a mistake coming back to the church”. 

Tara nodded at me to keep pouring out my thoughts. “It’s like people only like me for who they think I should be or who they want me to be”. I stared at my half eaten bourbon bacon cheeseburger. 

“I feel so pressured by people to be someone else”. 

Ever since I joined the church I currently attend almost four years ago, the members, mostly well meaning women, have tried to mold me into a gregarious, spiritually fruitful, bubbly social butterfly, hoping I will shed my bashful nature. 

 I remember one woman from my Bible talk told me that my love for the congregation will be proven by the way I hug the other members of the church. I’m a side hugger, but the expectation is that you greet each sister and brother with a full sized bear hug. 

When disciples coach me on how to be a more social member of the church, I smile, nod and do my best to take the feedback. Yet something inside me seems hollow, inauthentic and unnatural. As if I have to put on a performance or dress in a personality that is too oversized for how God created my fit. 

  I’ve grown to appreciate the quiet, reflective, and sensitive nature that God is cultivating in me. I’m not sure other people do. 

The topic is a recurring theme in my therapy sessions. My therapist repeatedly encourages me to “honor the spirit of God inside you”. I think the struggle with the culture of the church is that there’s an expectation to conform to a certain way of behaving. Of course I’m going to be obedient to God, serve others, and do my best to love like Jesus does. 

However, there are times that people are trying to be my potter when there is a perfectly capable potter in Heaven. One of my anchor scriptures, particularly when it comes to identity is Isaiah 64:8 “Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter ; we are the work of your hand” (New International Version). I wish people understood that its not their role to mold other people into who they expect them to be. 

Too often I tried to mold my identity into what was pleasing to other people. Through prayer, therapy, and self discovery, I’m figuring out who God intended me to be. Turns out I’m royal, chosen, special and holy (1 Peter 2:9). That I am wonderfully and fearfully made (Psalm 139: 13-14). 

Of course God wants us to grow into a holy and righteous person. He made us in His image and He’s the standard for how we should live and behave. But the unique characteristics He created in us shouldn’t be stripped away for another person’s preference . I’m learning to set healthy boundaries when people offer me feedback about myself. I discern, take what’s useful and leave the rest at the door. 

With Love, 


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, 


Security in God’s Victory  (Or, What the Cross Means to Me)

Every Sunday the church I attend participates in communion. Prior to the symbolic breaking of bread, there’s a sermonette segment of the service dubbed “What the Cross Means to Me”. The purpose of the time is for each member to reflect on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  A member comes up in front of the congregation and shares about how the sacrifice of Jesus has changed them in a certain way. 

In Luke 9:23, Jesus discusses that His followers must pick up their “crosses” everyday and follow Him. For Jesus, the cross was bearing the sins of the world, past, present and future. For us, God gave me a revelation that we will have various crosses to bear in our lifetime. I see each day as a new cross to carry. 

When I think about what the cross means to me, there’s victory.  While I was on hiatus from the current church I attend, I worshiped with a bilingual Spanish church. One of the Sermon’s was titled “The Victorious One is Here”. The sermon examined Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem a week prior to His crucifixion (I think this was the palm Sunday service). The pastor passionately asserted that Jesus was crucified so that we could have victory in our walk.

 Most of my life, I lived in a constant state of defeat. . I brushed off life, expecting to fail at my goals, dreams and desires. I developed a defeatist attitude in all areas of my life; ministry, jobs, friendships, leadership roles at my school, and different degree programs. Mentally and emotionally, I gave up on ever truly belonging or finding that solid forever friend group. One little setback and I’m saying “nothing ever works out”. I gave up on marriage. Having children. Writing. Feeling peace. My anxieties, fears, depression, insecurities and doubts were waging war in my mind and at times defeat felt imminent. 

Jesus is victorious. He didn’t suffer for hours, almost naked, lungs bubbling with blood, flesh hanging off and bearing the crushing weight of my sins for me to dwell in defeat. He conquered death, a victorious eternal king. Paul directly states in 1 Corinthians 15:57 “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”. Whenever I’m tempted to walk with the weight failure, I cling to God’s truth. That because of Jesus I can overcome, persevere, dream, and try. 

The next steps are to put on the victorious casing in my daily walk with God. A practical way to walk victoriously is to celebrate and thank God for the victories I experience each day; a lesson plan that my students enjoyed, making a colleague smile or uplifting the spirits of someone who was having a crummy day. I can look forward to and believe in future victories; a family member or close friend saying yes to Jesus, my students graduating from High school, a finished manuscript of my first novel. SOmetimes I will fail or take a misstep. Yet I remember who I belong to, the one who overcame the world, death and sin. 

Side by side with Jesus, I’ll always strut in victory. 

With Love, 


*Scriptures related to victory*

  1. 1 John 5:4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
  2. Deuteronomy 20:4 For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” (New International Version)

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,


When Words Fail

When Words Fail 

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26).

Imagine a writer without words to write. 

After a month long silence, my brain has finally transmitted the words which my fingertips are typing at this very moment. Encamped in my messy room for the foreseeable future, I thought I would be able to find the words to comfort myself and others around me. 

I came up empty. 

If you turn on the TV to any news station or scroll through dozens of posts through Facebook all you hear is news about the Covid-19 virus. The deaths. Thousands infected each day. Over crowded hospitals. Loved ones having to say goodbye through window panes or walkie talkies. 

Sometimes there are no words. 

So I turned to God’s word. Since April is officially National Poetry Month, I focused my Bible study on the book of Psalm. Psalm is primarily written by David, king of Israel, along with passages written by Solomon and Moses. Through the chaos unleashed by the Covid-19 virus, Psalm provided a tranquil oasis of God’s love, deliverance and goodness. Two particular scriptures stand out during the grueling progression of our new reality. 

  1. “But for me it is good to be near God; 

  I have made the  God my refuge, 

That I may tell of all your works” 

  (Psalm 73:28, ESV) 

  1. “He is not afraid of bad news;

His heart is firm, trusting in the Lord 

His heart is steady ; he will not be afraid,

(Psalm 112: 7-8a ESV) 

The above scriptures inscribed into my  heart as I battled with the uncertainty and anxiety from the new normal everyone is living with. Writing about goodness can feel as though I’m mocking the people who are suffering physically, mentally, emotionally, economically and spiritually. Why should someone speak on the goodness of God when it seems nothing good is happening anywhere?  

What I do know is God calls his children to be his witnesses. We may not erase the pain of our current circumstance, but we can share where our hope comes from. As our “new normal” continues, I am encouraged by stories of children singing to their elderly neighbors while maintaining a safe distance. I smile when I read an article of a 91 year old woman with a preexisting health condition recovering from Covid-19. 

I rejoice at the miracle that happened in my own family. 

For those who have been impacted by COVID-19 please know you are constantly being prayed for and lifted up to God. Sometimes words are just words, so I encourage my readers to reach out to me or people they trust if they need encouragement, support  and love. Let’s remember we are not alone and to take care of each other. 

With all my love

            The Bashful Butterfly