Hello! How are you? Can you hear me? Okay, good. So thank you all so much for having me to come here. It’s really a honor to be able to speak and stand in front of you and just share a little bit about my personal testimony with all of you, so thank you so much for having me to be here. And so I realize that this has been a long day for everyone, you’ve eaten, you’ve driven from a long way, so I don’t wanna take up a lot of your time. And so now, something I know about the other group in the South, and so I used to go to churches down South where a preacher would ask the people to put a dime on our leader, which means, can I have like about 10 minutes of your time to preach? And it was never 10 minutes though, it was always like, 30, 50 minutes and then he would start preaching. And so I’m gonna ask you ladies not to put a dime down on me tonight but I’m really just going to take about 10 minutes so you can time me and make sure that I only take 10 minutes of your time. And so, hasn’t the program [inaudible – 1:22] tonight [cheers] [inaudible -1:25] to say tonight about having hope in a hopeless world but what I want to talk to you a little bit more about is making the discussion a little bit more personal, right? And so for me, I know in my life there are times when I felt the most hopeless has been when things came into my own home. So you know, we can talk about Ferguson, we can talk about [inaudible – 1:52] or those things that are terrible, you know, those things will make us feel hopeless but when I felt the most hopeless has been when things are going on in my own life. So when my own marriage is on the rocks, when my own family relationship starts to break down and I feel like I can’t talk to people. When I had my [inaudible – 2:14] so when I have had to decide which bill I’m not going to pay this month, when unemployment has come into my home or my families’ home, when terminal illnesses have come into my home, that’s when I felt the most hopeless. And so me as a psychologist I like to get people to start to thinking about their own lives and what’s going on within you because how many of us know it is all easy for us to focus on the world and what’s going on in Sarah’s life and Rebecca’s life and we lose sight of what’s going on in our lives. And so we have storms going on in our personal lives and so what I want to talk about is how can we have hope in that situation when it’s at home. So that’s what I want to talk about and I’m keeping them on a dime.
Okay, and so I said, I am a doctor. I got my PhD from the University of Oregon but like I said, I am a human, I’m a human being so something that I really struggled with since as early as I can remember is [inaudible – 3:18] So it’s like I’m an imposter, I don’t deserve to be here. I don’t deserve to be a doctor. I don’t deserve any of the blessings that God has given to me or I if I let somebody in close enough and they talk to me for long enough they will see that I am fake. Like I’ve been putting on for….I’ve just been getting by all of this time in life. All of these accolades that I’ve gotten I just gonna give back because I really didn’t deserve it. So it’s hard to deal with. And even now like saying this to you I know it’s not true, I know I am not a stupid person, I know I’m intelligent but how many of us know that we believe things a lot of times and they are not true? Especially when it has been instilled in us from a very young age? For some people how you were told that you are ugly and you are never gonna be anything in life and nothing good is gonna come to you that you were a mistake. And so sometimes when we hold on to those things and they harm us and they make us, you know, feel like we will never amount to anything, as for some people that’s your struggle and it’s like a repeated struggle that keeps coming up, so this thing, for me this imposter syndrome really keeps coming up. I work with it, God is working with me on it but it comes up from time to time. And so I felt this way for many years, and you guys might be sitting there saying, like, wait a minute, she is a psychologist, is supposed to be helping other people [laughter] and she has her own issues, what’s really going on. And I will say, yes, I do have my own issues but that makes me human, right? I don’t want to get to the point where I can’t relate to people. I never want to get to that point where I can’t connect with people on a human level. So when I’m talking to you in therapy I understand what you are dealing with because I have my own stuff that I am dealing with And also I appreciate my struggles too because they help me realize that I can’t in any of my own strength accomplish nothing and all that I have and all that I will ever be is due to God what he has been able to bless me with. It is not me and so it helps me to remember that. And that’s really…one of my favorite, favorite Bible verse is, 2 Corinthians 12:10. I’m just gonna read it because it is real powerful. So, Therefore for Christ sake I delight in weaknesses and insults and hardships and persecutions and difficulties for when I am weak, then and only then, am I strong. So I realized that when God brings me down to my weakest point then I rely on him. Because other times I’m too busy trying to take real, right, like, I’m a doctor, I know what’s going on, let me handle this. Let me organize my own life. Let me plan my 10, 15 year plan. And He is like no, I’ll handle this. And so when I had to come to that when I realize that I need to really focus on Him and let him drive the wheel and that’s when I’m at my best. That’s when I can be the most. That’s when I can touch the most people’s lives. So I’m just gonna take a moment to sort of talk about my personal story and how this kind of came out for me.
So remember I’ve been struggling with this, not feeling good enough and like I’m just faking, like people are gonna find me out. And so as you may or may not know, to become a doctor you have to take a lot of, lot of tests, a lot of tests. You jump through a lot of hoops and so if you think about me dealing with this whole thing of not being good, and I’m not deserving things, how do you think me and testing get along and a standardized test? Not very well. We don’t get along real well. So about five months ago I finished everything up but there is this national test that anybody in the world who wants to be a psychologist we have to take the same test and past the same test and it is like a multiple choice test and you have to, you know, study for a long time and know all these different areas of psychology. Some that you don’t even learn in school but you have to know it for this test. And so as soon as I realized that I started thinking about like, okay so now is the time everybody is gonna figure out that I really don’t deserve to be here, like l’m going to fail this test, it is gonna be terrible, my life is gonna end. I started thinking that way and I had evidence of this, right? Because I actually am a poor test taker. Like when I took the SAT, I barely got enough score to get me to college. And when I took the GRE which is the test to get to graduate school, here I only got by and I am not joking. Like when I was on my graduate school interview one of my interviewers laughed in my face about my test score. She said, I laughed at this score because I knew that this is not a score that you would give somebody your level would get. It had to be you randomly going through the mark and just marking stuff. And I was like, I really tried on this test. I really, really tried on this test, but God, right? So because given all the stuff there, the statistics that they have about the score you need to make and that’s your likelihood of really advancing and doing…..I should not be standing here, I should not have a PhD at the end of my name after those standards but thank God that was not His standard and He knows what he wants from you. He knows what He wants from you. So many of us knows that He will make whatever work? After you have done your best, He will make it work out for you. With man it‘s impossible but with God it is possible, and I’m a living proof of that. So, but this knowledge when I had to go and take the test though I was like, okay, like I’m gonna do over this test, I have evidence of this, I know that this is not gonna work out well for me. I was really scared and so I began to think like okay now the truth is gonna come out, I’m gonna fail. And I started with that mind set. I started my own blogs, that’s where everybody nationally would have to take this test and not everybody passes so people would create blogs where they like complain and talk about how I had to do this test 10 times and I failed 10 times [laughter] and I was like, oh she failed 10 times, that’s definitely gonna be me. Like if nobody did that it can’t be me. And so I started really going overboard, getting really extreme. Like if I failed this my life was gonna be over then I would just needed to go, you know, find another career because this is not gonna work out for me. But how many of us can relate to that? Sometimes when we are looking at a storm we start to act as though life is gonna be over and we are not going to make it through to the other side. We stop trusting, we start acting real crazy. And I am always like I’m crazy, I was like a real -[inaudible – 10:25] around the house crying and my mother was just like, what’s wrong with you? I just I haven’t even taken the test yet [Laughter] but I was just like, if I didn’t work out well. So I was preparing and yeah, I prepare hard and I stayed for months and months on it, I was praying, I was studying, I was praying but at the same time I still was not trusting God. Like the foundation in me was not there, the faith was not there. And so that’s when I think about…when we talk about being hopeless is when our faith is not strong. And in this situation my faith was not strong because I was not really trusting God to be strong in the areas that I was being weak in. I was looking at a little more of a backup class, like God, is not a psychologist, you don’t know anything about this test. So, you know I would use Him like a backup plan which means if I don’t work out. If what I did doesn’t work then He can take it. And that’s not the way it should be. That’s not the way. I was relying on my own knowledge and my own strength rather than letting Him take over and having trust and faith that He was going to make it all work for my good. That’s the way I really need to be doing and so this situation really exposed the weak foundation that I had. It was a really weak foundation to get that scooped over and said yeah, that was about a test but it really was like that. And so, you know, despite the fear when the storms come, but if we really have a strong foundation and a strong faith in God, who we know, He will not bring anything our way that’s not for our good, we won’t react in this way. We would not react in this way. So, yeah, the morning of the test I woke up in tears, like I woke up crying. I had my appointment was at like 9 o’clock and that was like 5 o’clock I was already crying because I was just convinced that I would not do well on this test because I already know it’s not gonna work out so let me just go ahead in here and give it my best and I just know it’s not gonna work out. And so I don’t want you to miss the point here because I’m talking about a test but I want you to think about your own storms because storms kind of take these same characteristics on and in certain situations you don’t know how things are gonna work out, it’s very painful, it’s uncomfortable and you become afraid. And when we become afraid we start to doubt. Now we stop having faith and stop being confident in what we hope for. We stop being sure of what we can’t see, we just stop. But if we have hope in a hopeless world we’ve got to have faith. For me that’s the answer to, is there any hope at all? I would say yes, if we have faith, if we are confident in what God has for us. And I think it’s important because you know, we ask God, we say, you know, God make me more like you. I know I always pray like that, increase the fruits of the spirit in me and make me more kind, make me more patient, make me more, you know, more loving, make me more joyful but when he answers the prayer, like this is the opportunity for when He answers and say, okay, like this, I’ll choose you, let’s mold you, let’s take you through some things so you can come out on the other side. And we are like, oh, never mind, maybe next week, maybe next year, this is a bad time for me. I’m stressed out right now. Maybe you can change me. And He’s like, no, you ask for this thing. So we have to realize that it happens all through a test. There is a test for all of you all and we have to, there is no way around it [applause] And, you know, Paul says, I rejoice in my heart through prayer and we rejoice because we know that He has us. We know that He has us and it is only for our good. It’s gonna be painful for a little while but it’s only for our good and if we believe that it’s only likely momentarily, we know He is building something greater for us. It’s not going to last forever. It’s not gonna last forever and so what happened was in the midst of my tears, for some reason, like I sleep with my phone charging right beside me, and so I was lying in the bed crying, I picked up my phone and I don’t know why but I clicked on the Facebook app and I looked on Facebook and one of my friends had posted this song by Terri Mays and the song says…the lyrics or main lyrics are, If you can’t make it through your storm, how can you say that God is the captain of your life? And I played that song and you all I start crying even more.[Laughter] All of my tears rolling down but this time I was crying for a different reason. It was some light bulb went on after this song and I was like okay this is what I need. I really want to be the woman that God has called me to be. It’s not about a test. This is deeper than the test. It’s about my faith. He is using this situation to grow my faith. That’s what He is doing. I have to be able to have the foresight. You see, my faith was off before and so I heard the song and then I was like, okay, that’s what He’s doing. If I wanna grow stronger I have to be willing to take this test and go do this test. And so I got [inaudible – 16:07, I listened to this song about five times and I got up super early and I went and took that test confident but I was confident of what I hoped for and don’t miss the point here, I did not know whether or not I was gonna pass or not. I didn’t know, but what was different about this situation is that I was confident that if I didn’t past it was all a part of God’s plan and that he was working one in me and it was still going to work out for my good [applause]. I was confident and I was gonna take this test as his plan for me. I knew He has plans to give me a future and a hope. It wasn’t about Him trying to hurt me because sometimes we get in a storm and we like to go, maybe this is like punishment for that time when I didn’t listen to him. And it’s not about that, it’s about I’m growing you and helping you to be the woman that He wants you to be. And so I want to encourage you that, like keep that in mind because in order to be the woman that I think God has called us to be we have to have faith in the midst of our storms. And when I say faith I am not talking like this blind optimism like, okay, I think God is gonna work everything out. I’m talking about unwavering confidence like just knowing, this is going to work out. Regardless of what happens, I don’t know what’s gonna happen, I’m uncomfortable, I’m in pain but still I’m gonna have confidence. And so I’m talking about a stubborn faith like in spite of everything in the world, all the naysayers, all the people that’s telling you, my sister was diagnosed with that and she died five days later. And you know something, I’m telling you that despite that you do have hope that everything is gonna work out and your life will be as God wants you to [applause]. And so you don’t have to worry and you don’t have to ever [inaudible – 18:01] Because you know God is gonna work out for your good.
But how do we develop this kind of faith? That’s what I wanna talk on, just more point because I realize you’ve still got the dime going. Just four points, how do we develop this king of faith? So first we have to build a strong foundation before the storm comes, before the storm comes we have to build this foundation so that when it comes we have the right perspective and we recognize if for what it is. We know what it is for. We know what’s going on because if we don’t build that foundation we are vulnerable so doing it is like we are hopeless. We are vulnerable and we are hopeless if we don’t have that strong foundation and so we have to do that first.
And secondly, we have to pray. We have to pray and ask God continually to open our heart to you, make me more willing to go through the storms of life and to help you be open and having a hopeful demeanor. Because some of us can get caught and we are just, you know, we are down all the time, something is always going on and we get caught in this but we are not hopeful, we are hopeless all of the time and that kind of become a part of our character. And so we have to pray and ask God to take that away from us and to help us to be more hopeful and we have to rejoice in all of our circumstances. And we will be able to do that when we have that right perspective, that long term perspective that this is for my good. Everything that comes to me in life is not to hurt me. It’s all for my good and that we have to accept the storm for what it is. James says, Consider it pure joy. Joy my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kind because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete and not lacking anything. So we have to recognize, that’s what the storm is for. It is to make us mature so that we are not lacking anything that we will become more and more like Christ. That’s the purpose of the storm, not to hurt us. We have to keep that in mind. And we also have to realize that the only way out of the storm is through it because how can He let us know? We try to run around, we try to hide and wait it out and see if the storm will go away and as soon as we wake up we try to take some medication to numb us out a little bit. And as soon as we wake up, it’s waiting right there for you because you haven’t gotten the lesson yet. We have not gotten the lesson and some of us realize like, why it keeps coming back for you over and over again. Maybe we haven’t gotten the lesson yet. Maybe that’s why it keeps coming back up for you. And so we have to realize it for what it is and know we can’t go around we have to go through it holding God’s hand.
And lastly, we wanna use our storms as an opportunity to pour into some else’s life. That’s another reason why we go through it too, it is to encourage others. That’s what we want to recognize. So those are like my kind of take home points for you. And so I wanna really leave you guys with that song that was so impressionable for me the morning of my test. And so while listening to it, you know, I really invite you to that you will, you know, close your eyes, literally close your eyes and really meditate, think about what is my personal storm. Like I share one of mine, out of many, I d one of them, but what does your storm look like? Is it sickness? Is it a family relationship with a spouse or a family member? Is it unemployment? Is it that you keep making the wrong decisions over and over again? Or maybe for you it’s your struggling with something from long ago in your childhood that you haven’t been able to let go of, that you haven’t been able to recover from or maybe you or struggling to get over the past hurts. Maybe you are struggling with how to trust people again. So whatever your storm is, I invite you to listen to this song and be encouraged.