Every Sunday I lift my hands up to the heavens to worship, and each time, I’m reminded how far I’ve come since “The June I don’t Remember.” I am reminded how much God has blessed me. I’m not talking about the proverbial “God is good” feeling you get just because you’re in His presence. I mean, every single time I lift my right arm up to the heavens to worship, I literally feel a little pain in my shoulder that was operated upon because of infections (one of the two surgeries I had last June). I hear my shoulder crack and pop a little bit every time I lift my arm up to praise Him, and you know what I do? I worship even harder because of the joy and gratefulness that comes over me when I feel that pain in my shoulder.
It’s very strange to associate pain with joy and gratefulness. Trust me I get it, but when you’ve been through the lowest of lows and can identify how far God has brought you, a constant reminder, even if painful, is very sweet.
In Genesis 32: 22-32, the Bible talks about Jacob wrestling with a man (God) all night until daybreak. Verse 25 says that when the man realized he could not overpower Jacob, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that the hip was wrenched. When the man tried to leave the fight, Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” The man (God) said to Jacob, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and humans and have overcome. The man (God) then blessed Jacob and left. Jacob from that day walked with a limp.
I’m confident Jacob didn’t like the pain in his hip. I am sure it wasn’t comfortable to walk with a limp. But I’m also very confident that whenever he felt the pain, it reminded him about the battle he had with God and the blessings he attained because he persevered through the fight. In the same way, a sense of joy and gratefulness comes over me when I feel pain in my shoulder because it reminds me of where I was in comparison to where I am now.
You see, June 2015 was a tough month for me. If you haven’t read my five-part series about what I went through this time last year, I encourage you to take some time and check it out. I was in the hospital for an entire month. I was admitted with sickle cell pain on June the 5th, and a few days after that, I was fighting infections. Doctors had no clue what was wrong, and even though I was scared, I knew God had a plan. I endured two surgeries, multiple blood transfusions and a cascade of antibiotics, some which made the situation worse. To top it all off, I spent a month in the hospital with no insurance because I hadn’t worked at my new job long enough to receive the health insurance benefits. I’m still paying those bills today, but I know God will provide. He has provided since I got out of the hospital and He will continue to provide.
A few months before then, I had lost my job. Even though God had blessed me with a new and better job at the time I went into the hospital, you can still understand how difficult it was to lose your job, find another, only to end up in the hospital for a month shortly after. It was a tough first half of the year. I couldn’t catch a break.
So why the overwhelming feeling of joy and gratefulness when I am reminded of the first half of 2015? Because I can’t believe how far God has brought me. I can’t believe how quickly things can change in just one year.
In a span of six months (Jan –July 2015), I had lost my job, hospitalized for an entire month, accumulated debt from medical bills, and my health was the worst it had ever been. It doesn’t get any worse than that.
But fast-forward exactly one year later, I can’t emphasize how good God has been. I can’t believe where I am now in life compared to a year ago.
Let me tell you how things have changed:
I have an amazing job and doing things that I absolutely enjoy. There’s nothing like doing what you love. I have the most amazing leaders and co-workers. They helped me through those tough times when they could’ve easily moved on and hired someone else. The dynamic in our office is so incredible. I wouldn’t trade those amazing ladies for the world. After my stay in the hospital, I got back to my job and worked as hard as I could to make up the lost time. In just a few months, I was given many more responsibilities, including managing ALL social media platforms for an entire Hospital. That’s not a responsibility you get if your leaders don’t trust you.
I am engaged to the most amazing woman ever and we are getting married in SIX MONTHS. A few months after I got out the Hospital, I asked Kristina to marry me. It’s been an incredible journey so far, and I can’t wait to marry her soon. She is a true blessing from God. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without her. My co-workers always joke about how Kristina singlehandedly saved my life last June. It sounds funny, but to an extent, it’s true.
I launched my Rich Honesty brand and have been using my God-give talents more than I ever have. I’m getting paid to shoot wedding videos, taking professional photos, I’m still blogging, building websites, getting a lot of speaking opportunities and of course having some fun with my popular “Uber Mashup” videos. I’m doing all of this during my free time. That’s what you call work-life balance. You don’t get that if you don’t work at the right organization.
I’ve learned to live life to the fullest. I’ve always been one to be smart about spending and looking ahead toward the future, but since my stay in the hospital, I’ve learned to remember to stop and smell the roses. Take breaks, go on vacation, spend more time with your family. If you want to see an NBA playoff game, buy tickets. Be spontaneous. Give God what belongs to Him, live within your means, take care of your people and save for the future. But never forget to stop, relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor. I have learned to do that.
I’ve been blessed in more ways than I could ever have imagined. My life has completely changed. If you put my life reel from the first 7 months of 2015 and compare it with my reel from August 2015 until today, you would think they were reels from two separate people.
I’m just in awe about how faithful God has been. I’m so blessed, and that is why I can’t help but get emotional when I feel pain in my shoulder. I was in the valley, I went through my darkest hours, I battled through the night with God, and before I left the hospital, I asked God to bless me. He did, and now every time I lift my hands up in praise, I am reminded about his goodness and mercies.
If you are going through something difficult right now, stay strong. Remember, it may seem hopeless right now, but the dark times don’t last. Joy cometh in the morning. I can say that confidently because just a year ago, I was in a hospital bed with no clue when I was going home. Look at me now. God turned it around.
I will Always Remember!
Special thanks to everyone who was by my side last year and stuck with me. Thank you to all those who prayed for me.
Dad, mom, Ruthie. Thank you!
Kristina, I love you!
My co-workers, thank you! I’ll forever be grateful.
My brothers: Maurice, James, Brady… Thank you for real.
Vania, my Church’s Chicken/Bachelorette buddy. Love you for all the time you spent with me.
Kweku Brown. You know how I feel about you. Thanks for everything, bro.
Pastor Mike and Auntie Mina. I saw you guys almost every day. Thank you.
My family, friends and everyone who came to visit. Thank you.