It’s the eve of my 51st birthday. My life does not look the same. Nor, will it ever be the same. My mother passed away in October 2017. We sold our family home in California. I moved to Texas excited to join my husband. Yet, I was unsettled by the unknown. The majority of my friends and family are miles away. I arise every morning and ask God to speak for me and through me as I lack the words to describe this “new place”. My journal is my refuge. It’s filled with scripture, prayers, gratefulness, and whisperings of withered dreams. I recall leaving my empty home in the dark of night to catch my early morning flight to Texas. All of my belongings had gone before me in the shipping truck. What remained in the household were remnant memories of family gatherings, the scent of soul food and the laughter that overflowed into the corridors of our living space. As I exited the front door, I dared to look back and fix my eyes on an object that would travel with my soul through the doors of a lifetime. The home had been excavated. My vision was forced to glare into the darkness of the pending dawn before me. I was shelled out. Pulled out. Flattened by the incision that threatened to remove all of my “stuff”. There was no going back. The home was soon to be demolished. I snapped the photo of the sign posted at the gate before I sunk into the back seat of the drivers’ car. The sign above captured the moment. The buyers had told us the home would not be recognizable this time next year. There would be no returning to a place I once knew. Surely, this sign would be the theme for my life. By faith and with pure exhaustion, I was crossing the Jordan River to a promised land yet seen. “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” Genesis 12:1
I understand my birthday is in the month of “Birth” = 9. So, I push. I cry out for God’s tender mercies through the birthing pain. I reach out for the spiritual hand of my mother and my father for solace. I ask them to connect me to the love planted in the soil of my heart and guide me to the wisdom nestled in the uncomfortable embrace of separation. On Tuesday, at Mercy Hospital in Benton Harbor Michigan, on September 19, 1967, at 8:07pm, a baby girl was pulled from the darkness of her mother’s womb. She was nestled in the bosom of her mother and cradled in the arms of her father. The baby of six children, she was greeted with the fanfare of joy. Her name is Donna Louise. Just like the story of Hannah in the Bible, our mother gave each of our newborn lives back to Christ. She was indebted for the life-bearing gift of a child. I later learned in my adult life that our parents birthed their children out of the poverty and brokenness of their childhood but their faith in God caused mighty rivers to flow. Eventually, those rivers receded, and they were able to carry their precious cargo (us) to the promised land. This is why I arise daily in Power, Protection and Provision. In spite of the unknowingness and unanswered questions, I believe it’s ‘the count it all joy’ that greets me every morning. In this new place, I no longer see me. I see her. The baby girl whose life was predestined for this very moment. She is me. I was born to be transformed. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
Nothing may look the same, but my faith tells me it will be even greater than before. Happy Birthing Place Donna Lou!
I think the book ends of my life are represented in this photo. My spirit is nestled between flowers and butterflies. I’m often thinking about how I can live and operate within this space more frequently. Over the past few months, I’ve been challenged with unforeseeable change. Not just the kind that change that causes an about face in planning. I’m speaking to the loud knock at the door in the dark of the night kind of change. Heart racing, blood flowing and breath abated change. It’s ongoing – it’ uphill and it’s overwhelming to the core of my existence. I’m consumed by the threat of loss. Yet, when I see flowers or butterflies it seems as though I’m redirected to partake of the sweet nectar of life within (don’t get me to talking about humming birds or flying beetles – you are not ready for that conversation yet).
There is something calling for me – out from deep. It’s a beckoning – a rising and the labor to rest in my soul. I’m holding on to treasures of the heart and struggling to let go of the fear. Beside my mother’s bed, I return to the safety of this fearless existence. It seems to reside in the womb of her love for me. I’m drawn to the remarkable aroma of her spirit. I push to better understand our relationship with time. I ask myself, what can I do right now to create my life today? I recall the work of my mother’s hands and the flowers that still flourish around our home. I rediscover it’s not just about finding time for my happy place but it’s really about nurturing a place to be happy.
This girl became a mother and wife. She resides in me. She reminds me how we’ve overcome and triumphed together. She is and will always be the “baby girl”. She wears her Stars (success) and Stripes (Scars) on her chest.
I’m alive. I thrive – Post Breast Cancer! It’s my 50th birthday! God bless my sweet, kind and brave momma for the “room” in her womb. #Grace5-0 #FiftyShadesofGrace #GraceSavedMe 💖💗💕
If she ever touched you – hugged you or her words caressed your heart – then you have seen her “love”. She is the carrier of life… If you ever watched her hands prepare your meal or witnessed her eyes gleaning your emotions – then you have seen her “love”. God’s breath of life…. If she knows your name and calls out to your pain – you have seen her “love”. More precious than rubies, gold and diamonds…If she has covered your shame and exchanged it with hope – you have seen her “love”. She is 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (one of her favorite scriptures)… If you know Louise Adkins – then you have seen her “love”. Happy Mother’s Day to “Our Momma”. I’m absolutely “in love” with SHE.
I’ve been reflecting on my son’s passport renewal process. No longer a minor, he completed his paperwork as an adult. This required an Oath. A raise your right hand kind of pledge to acknowledge and verify you are who you say you are. Before he could repeat the Oath, he was asked to fill out the spaces on his application that were incomplete. These fields were purposely left unfilled because it required his father’s name and address. He looked to me and all I could do was look into the glass window and shake my head – gesturing no – to the passport agent. I was speechless. She returned the paperwork and asked him to write “NONE”. He returned the application – raised his right hand and repeated The Oath.
This morning – as I rise to a new day and awaken to a horizon of brand new mercies, I am reminded of the empty spaces in our lives and how God’s love has completed – exceeded and continues to override every broken and incomplete dwelling space that remains. I see the baby boy who was born to a single mother filled with joy and fear. I see God’s right hand – taking The Oath on behalf of His son (my child). I recall my breast cancer diagnosis at the age of twenty-two. My body shattered – identity scattered and faith tattered. But God – took The Oath – raised his right hand for me. I rise today asking God to continue to show me who I am as I celebrate who I am becoming. Now, I raise my right hand and I repeat after Him…“I – Donna Louise Adkins, will be all that You (God) have called me to be. I surrender all of the incomplete, blank and empty spaces in my life to my Creator and my Savior. Happy 25th Anniversary (post breast cancer) to Us!!!
My Story – My Journey. I am almost finished with my book. My first draft is due March 31. It’s been a long, exhausting and necessary process but I am grateful for the reveal. My vision boards are living work spaces. Unlike any other prime real estate, I own this domain by default. I have this creative urge to share my writing space and my writing process. More importantly – I want to encourage our voices – to sing – whether it’s our story boards – words on page or pictorial journals…set it free. I am excited about the dreams – stories and discoveries that live in the corner of my bedroom on the “String of Life”. We are either confined or released by the chords of string (what binds us together) – I choose to set my self free: to create, to share and to inspire. No matter how long – how difficult and no matter how impossible it may seem – just know – life is waiting for you to “Show and Tell.”
A part of me is always dream walking. I consider this state of mind to be a divine interruption that has been cultivated over the years to protect me from living a fractured life. It’s the internal dialogue that steps in to override inauthentic conversation. I can only be awakened from this dream state when I am seated in the womb of God’s creation. My soul thirsts for a communal exchange with nature. It’s my birthing room – something kindred to an eternal beginning. Nature is the place that beckons my soul – just as a mother calls the name of her newborn child. There is a deep sense of knowingness that overcomes my being when I witness the flight of butterflies and their graceful descent or when I hear unseen birds singing under the cloak of tree leaves.
With every experience I’ve encountered through nature, I am reminded that life is waiting on me to show up. Yesterday afternoon pierced my dream state with an intense beauty of wonder, hope and possibility. So much so that it relinquished the key to a hidden door in my spirit. What I know and I what I believe were merged into an ornate entry – gilded with my name – etched over the archway. With key in hand, I simply needed to be present at the door to command it’s opening. All of my life experiences have carried me to this moment: The living inheritance of my parents’ wisdom, the ancestral bond with my siblings and the invisible umbilical cord to my son. From a broken body to a broken heart, I’ve climbed out of the depth loss. Yet, there is one thing required of me. It whispers my name and invites me to enter in. It only asks for one thing in return…FAITH!
It’s my hope for whomever may be reading this entry that you find your sacred dwelling place. Let it speak to you and for you. I would love to know how you find your voice in a world full of clashing melodies. Let’s keep inspiring one another.