A cross sits atop a mountain in front of a purple sky.
A cross symbolizing faith. Photo courtesy of Thanti Nguyen / Unsplash.

Every day is a day of Thanksgiving. God’s been so good to me that I cannot tell it all! I would not know where to begin in testifying about his goodness, grace, and mercy.

For a long time, it was my belief that God must be on vacation or something when I looked at all the destruction, calamity, and atrocities that befall man for no apparent reason. Why is it that bad things happen to good people? Meanwhile, to this very day, it baffles me when I look around at how things play out and ruthless people seem to have good success and prosper more than those who [are actually striving use “strive” to maintain the active voice and tense] to do good and be good.

 It seems like the more I try to keep my life in order, the more situations and circumstances appear to knock me off balance again.

The things I desire to do, I don’t do; and the very thing I don’t want to do, I do. This inner struggle has me so perplexed at times that I feel like [just throwing in the towel and giving up. Do we REALLY need both? Let’s use the shorter “giving up”]  It’s a hard-knock life and it does not feel so good, especially when you’re trying to live right. There are some valleys and pains in my life that need closure for me to move forward. I regularly speak to and consult with my therapist about the thoughts and activities of what one might call, “my stinking thinking.” 

I must admit that, at times, my mind is not my best friend. I thank God for my therapist, though, because she helps to clarify what I am feeling and thinking. I am still under construction and the rebuilding can become overwhelming and tedious oftentimes, till I become depleted of strength. And I do get weary.

At this point, I call on my creator, God, who strengthens me and fortifies me [once again. Unnecessary; I say spike]  The more I live, the more I understand that the battlefield is in the mind, and not within man. .cliche!

So, if I just get my mind right, everything else will fall into place. It takes a long time to get my mind right because I have to go to the depths of sin that I come from. What it took me 40+ years to get into it just might take me the equivalent years or more to get out of.

Change of mind is a process that will not come overnight.

And rebuilding takes time! We have to be vigilant! Alert! Watchful! And know that there is an enemy who wants us to repeat the same mistakes of last year this time next year. We’ve got to get our minds right. I got to get my mind right!

It is crucial at this point in my life that I be very focused on what God will have me do with the remaining time I have left, here on this terrible sphere called Earth. No matter what befalls me, I count it all joy, for God is in control, no matter what it looks like.

I often heard it said that where good is, evil is always present. And why does it seem that the wicked always prosper? I ask myself, if God is a good God, then why is all this stuff, bad stuff, happening to this world He created, as well as the people in it God created? Is this his judgement, or his chastising to bring us back to Him? Truly, God only knows.

There have been times during my homelessness that I asked myself, “Where is God in all that I am experiencing right now?” Day in and day out I dealt with unrest, uncertainties, and not knowing whether I was coming or going, and I began to question God about allowing me to suffer through this degradation and disgrace, especially after I had cared for my Mom the previous three years prior to her recent departure from this world. I truly suffered severely after her death, for she was my all, as well as my go-to person in my time of peril.

No matter what, my mom loved me in spite of what others declared about me. I got to the point that I was mad at my mom for leaving me out here on my own. This is how I felt for quite some time, never realizing that all the fragmented pieces and places in my life were soon to be put back together as long as I continually trusted in God, come what may. 

I experienced many long dreary days and bitter cold nights during my plight with homelessness! It was not until one day riding the 70 bus to Silver Spring, a small voice spoke to my spirit and said, “Be content in whatever situation you find yourself in, for I the Lord God am with you and will not place on you more than you can bear.”

That was my assuredness and conviction that things would eventually turn out for my good. Things were getting better, one day at a time. Even with that confirmation, I still experienced sleepless nights and endless days as well as the fear of the unknowing. 

Shelters were not environmentally safe or conducive to my mental or physical wellbeing, so most times I stayed outside. Every now and again I was fortunate enough to stay at a hotel.

Thank God! Thank God for those people who had my best interests at heart and were willing to aid and assist a guy like me. Sometimes when times got rough, I would consult my Bible and two passages of scripture would come to mind: “Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1: 2-4); and, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matthew 7:7)

This was a daily declaration I made to keep my sanity, regardless of what was going on in my life. I truly, truly, truly thank God for His grace and His mercy, and most of all, for His presence.

I am at a very crucial point in my life now because there are so many things I aspire to perfect that should have already been fulfilled and done.

Yes, I do still believe that all things are possible. But at the mature age of 56, it feels like time is running out. There is nothing more unnerving than being told that you are getting old and you need to be “chillaxin’” instead of chasing the wind of trivial pursuits. Now that things in my life are beginning to make sense and take on new form, that battleground of the mind is waging war within itself between two wills, negative and positive.

This stronghold can block a blessing that may be right in arms reach. For a long time now, my visions, dreams, and aspirations of becoming that artist, vocalist, motivational speaker, business owner, and ministry leader have been at the forefront of the desires of my mind. I make it my business not to listen to the naysayers that are devising my downfall but I also live in the reality that becoming is a process and somethings just might take longer to unfold than others.

Life has no limitations except the ones we make. Adversity builds character! Our trials come to build us up and make us stronger. God bless us all! He is our ever present help in our time of struggle.

Reginald Denny is an artist and vendor with Street Sense.