Today, Chaquevia speaks to us about a promise she made and kept with God, the godly way to weigh and deal with relationships, and her focus on reconciling feelings and faith.
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment:
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10
[This verse] has actually been my screen saver since late September/ early October of 2018. I’ve suffered a lot of financial adversity since moving to Atlanta in early 2016, and recently, I was facing a time where I was so hard-pressed in my living situation that I thought I was going to have to go back home to Orlando. I was so frustrated because if I know nothing else, I know that God told me to move to Atlanta, and I couldn’t understand why if He did, I was experiencing so much trouble.
In the midst of my frustration, this scripture was brought to my remembrance, and although I’ve had “experience” with this scripture multiple times, intangibly, by reading and “understanding” with my mind, it felt as if the Lord was inviting me to experience this promise in a tangible way. It brought comfort then, as I felt honored, understood and cared about, and just as I was coming to terms with the idea/possibility that my season in Atlanta was coming to an end, He, the God of all grace, made a way; and it still brings comfort now, as He continues to prove Himself to be an incredibly gracious God and kind Father.
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: Being a better steward of money. I’ve always been a tither, but I’m being intentional about being more generous in my offerings at church and in my giving and sowing, wisely, into other people and their endeavors.
Profession: Concierge at a Senior Living Facility and Student of Education at Georgia State University.
A one sentence bio of yourself: An inspired, 25-year-old young woman, hoping to inspire others into genuine relationship with Hope Himself, as Father and Friend.
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? Well, I grew up in church, but in a lukewarm home. I do remember what felt like a God moment from the summer before 8th grade. My school was threatening to send me to the school for the behaviorally challenged. I remember being in my top bunk at home, scared out of my mind, waiting on the decision from the school. I really didn’t know what to do, but I started praying. I promised God that if He didn’t let it happen, I would do everything in my power to do better behaviorally in school. I didn’t really know anything about repentance (for as often as I was in church), but, thinking back, that’s basically what I did. He didn’t let it happen, and I refused to let Him down. I was so grateful. To show God that I was serious, I got new friends, I kept myself busy with extracurricular activities and started taking track more seriously. I remember feeling so heard and, and what I can now understand as redeemed, and I felt like I owed it to Him to do better because He really didn’t have to do that (there were still moments where I got the better of me, but I surely tried).
“I remember being in my top bunk at home, scared out of my mind, waiting on the decision from the school.”
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Working the Word in my relationships. I feel like my generation is so quick to give up, especially on/in relationships. I think we’ve made people as disposable as our phones, and I definitely believe our “access” to people on social media influences this, because we have thousands of “friends/followers” on this network or that network, so we think, “why should I have to endure a trying time with this real life relationship?” But that’s exactly why… because these people are around us in our actual reality and not just virtually, and I think it means something heavy that God saw fit for them to be in our reality reality and not simply our virtual reality.
Now, I’m not saying that every relationship is forever, some need to be disposed of because some people aren’t good enough within themselves to mean you any good. I just believe that we should be more mindful, intentional, vulnerable, long-suffering and gracious in our relationships in the occasional hard times, because everyone has their stuff. I was recently tested in this, and the way God so beautifully worked is awe-inspiring. Then, prayer, of course. I’m also ridiculously blessed to have some absolutely incredible mentors. One of my mentors has two little munchkins that I just adore. They make me conscious of the fact that people really are watching and listening and absorbing, and, that what you do or don’t do matters to your life, yes, but also the lives of others. They encourage my heart so much.
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): Actually, near the end of this year, I started to become more intentional about reading more and I decided that in 2019 I would read a both a month. I just finished reading The 25 Biblical Laws of Success. It was so good, and probably one of those books I’ll need to re-read once a year, because it’s so rich. I also just finished, “Manage Your Day to Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind”, it has so many nuggets on how to beat the system of distraction which leads to discouragement in our creative endeavors. I’ve also gotten a renewed passion for the Word of God, and that always teaches me about me and how to be better in Jesus.
Top three essentials: In church? Gum, pantyhose, and a grateful heart. Kidding, but not really. Outside of church? My journal, my phone, and a grateful heart.
How did God speak to you recently? Recently, He’s been encouraging me to just keep going. Sometimes, it can seem like you’re losing, at first, when you’re living for God and by His word, but in the end, He works it all out in such a beautiful way that makes you grateful for the setbacks, the challenges and the interruptions. It makes you feel slightly silly, too, for ever getting your feathers even slightly ruffled.
Hobby: I really love creating things! Canvas calligraphy, writing (I actually wrote my first book and published it in 2017, on my 24th birthday, and I’m in the process of writing my 2nd and the process is coming along slowly but surely, so I don’t have a release date, yet. I write every day, but I don’t want to rush God just to get something out. I’m excited about it though, I believe it’s going to bless a lot of people–if I can say that). I recently took up cross-stitching, and bullet journaling, and as I’ve had to learn how to edit videos for my YouTube channel (Church Girl In The Real World) I grown to really love video editing. I’m also becoming increasingly involved in graphic design! I mainly use free, web-based, programs now, but I’m interested in learning about and acquiring other programs and improving my skills. I just really love to know how to do things myself, creatively at least.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong: Prayer and praying the word–my mentor has a great book on prayer (#Undefeated: Prayer Never Loses), a community of like-minded people (a pastor, a mentor, trusted friends and confidants–they’re all vital), continually being open and honest with God–knowing that He already knows how you feel and what you’re thinking anyway, and really believing that He’s not judging you and He loves you just the same.
Favorite person in scripture? I absolutely adore Joshua. Exodus 33:11 is one of my favorite depictions of him. He was Moses’ assistant but you could tell that he was doing it “as unto the Lord”, it’s admirable, and, as I’m thinking about it now, I don’t believe he ever really had a mess up of his own doing, that’s noted in Scripture–not that that qualifies, and that’s certainly not my story at all! I just think it’s interesting to note and absolutely endearing.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? I want people to learn about the compassion of God. The feeling of being known, good, bad and ugly, and still being loved all the same, and because of it be encouraged to do a little bit better with each opportunity. I want people to come to know that they aren’t too dirty or idiosyncratic, that they haven’t messed up too bad, for God to be loving and kind and gracious enough to fill them, redeem them, refresh and restore them–that they don’t have to be what they’ve done. That, no matter what, they can be looked at with eyes of love and understanding and deeply appreciated for who they are.
How do you leave your mark on your community? I almost thought this was “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and started to use my “phone-a-friend” option. But, in my opinion, I think I strive to be authentically me and I want those I’m in community with to be encouraged to do exactly the same with no shame. Whether they are authentically “extra” or authentically low-key…just be. I believe that that leaves a greater impact than I can even articulate. I recently told God that I want to be that little extra bit of kindness, consideration, and simple understanding in someone’s day that isn’t really necessary, but makes all the difference… pray for me.
Favorite holiday? Thanksgiving! Hands down! I absolutely LOVE food (I’m here for all of the Thanksgiving side dishes!), and my first baby sister was born on Thanksgiving in 1999, so that makes it extra special too.
A dream you have? I have so many! One I’ve had since I was a child and would always tell my mom is that I want to purchase a Wal-Mart (or any big space) and convert it into a homeless shelter.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: Going to the movies together! It’s just our thing. My mom, as a single mother, couldn’t afford to do a lot of expensive things for my sisters and I growing up, but, I can remember, as a child, she always made sure we went to the movies together at the mall, like every weekend to have some quality time, and then we’d always end up doing a little bit of shopping too. I can remember skipping school sometimes to see a movie I really wanted to see, not often, but often enough to make it special.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? Where’s Joshua? Did he have a wife on earth? Do we have Chipotle guacamole? Is there a speed limit? But, at first, I’ll probably be too amazed to ask anything.
Thing you want to raise awareness about: Jesus, always! I’m passionate about a lot of things, but right now I’ve been really focused on reconciling feelings and faith. Helping people, and myself, understand that it’s okay to feel, first of all, and to sometimes sit in our feelings for a little, to process so that we can live life healed. I think we sometimes rush through the feeling part of painful experiences, thinking we’ll get to healing faster, or sometimes we feel like we have to get to the healing part faster, because “God is a Healer”, and He most definitely is, but I feel like we’ve almost unintentionally demonized feeling in the Christian community. It’s okay to feel and to feel hurt. We’re human. God is not intimidated by our feelings, but neither is He persuaded. That’s why He’s God. Sitting in something for a minute to assess, adjust and advance, and living in something are two different things. When we don’t properly process things in the feeling stage, we can disgrace the healing stage, and ultimately disgrace the Healer. Where we don’t properly sit and what we don’t properly situate, we inadvertently live beneath our privilege. Now, I’m no psychologist, I’ve just been through my fair share of therapy, and with the rise of depression and other mental health disorders, it’s something that we need to talk about. I’m also working out my personal passion for Autism and, more specifically, Asperger’s Awareness.
“I’ve been really focused on reconciling feelings and faith. Helping people, and myself, understand that it’s okay to feel, first of all, and to sometimes sit in our feelings for a little, to process so that we can live life healed.”
What do you usually do before 9 a.m.? Dread getting out of bed. But I gratefully open my eyes, and I try to be out of bed up no later than 6 a.m., because I have to be at work by 8. I try to start my day off by journaling my prayers and talking to God–this just works better for me in the early morning, the words seem to flow easier and helps with my sensitivity to sound, even the sound of my own voice. I like to read the Our Daily Bread devotional and study the subsequent scriptures. I fail, sometimes. Sometimes, I literally open then close Facebook and Instagram because I don’t have the energy to actively scroll. I shower. I like to stretch. Sometimes, I’ll make a green smoothie but the blender is also kind of too loud for me too in the early morning. I get ready for work, hair and makeup, and then I’m out the door. I clock in and receive all important updates about the day.
What is on your nightstand? A handmade elephant from Africa named Babar, a coin/catch all decorative vintage crystal box, a back massage in the shape of a cat, a business card, a jewelry catch all for my bracelets.
Define Christianity in a sentence: The only way to truly live and live free.
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