Letting go to be Free! – LaToya Washington
I did not know letting go of my plans would bring freedom and liberation. It was in my youth that pictures of dancing on stage with MC Hammer and Michael Jackson were my dream. Clearly envisioning Michael Jackson in the flesh asking me to dance and sing with him on stage. Once reaching my teens, the dreams and goals began to transform into new ideas of helping others. I was totally focused on getting into college that I recall pouring anointing oil on my SAT answer sheet. Holding to the teachings of the Pastor that instructed us in Sunday school to have faith. I honestly believed the anointing oil would ensure the answers would be correct and reveal a perfect score. Unfortunately, anointing oil and pencil markings do not mix and some of the answers were smeared. Looking back, I can laugh at the memory, but I was focused on getting into college.
I was focused and determined to reach every dream set for my life, but I was not prepared for adversity. Who would have thought that writing a senior will and testament as a high school graduate would be far from my reality? I was convinced at eighteen years old that I would follow the plan set verbatim, but I would learn that there would be bumps in the road. During the first few months of freshman year, I was focused and determined to get good grades. But I became distracted with the party life and my studies were pushed to the back of my mind. I failed my second semester and made decisions that led to homelessness in my early twenties. There were challenges to reach my dream and I began to live off ambition to reach each goal despite the odds. But it took hearing rejection from employers and working under tremendous stress at local agencies that made me re-evaluate this dream for success with a man. At 38 years old I spoke six words that should not be uttered from the mouth of a person that dedicated twelve years of her life in school. “I don’t know what to do”. After working for thirteen years as an auditor and seven years working in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities, I had to admit that I did not know what to do!
I became frustrated with the methods of management and felt overworked and stressed. This is not what I had in mind, God! Each day I would come home feeling weighed down and burden. My thoughts would be filled with the workload in preparation for the next day. Then I felt like Cinderella, only beneficial to make others look good or to clean up messes. I no longer felt appreciated or motivated to work with organizations and agencies that have lost sight of the original vision. It was during a two-day break from work that I started to feel rejuvenated and refreshed from the workload. It was a time of peace and quiet with God, during that time the gift of creativity flowed freely. In two days, I was able to write a children’s book, create a blog and develop ideas for our business.
My husband and I started a business “RhemaCreationz” that incorporates scripture with modern fashion. We were established on September 29, 2018, and in our spare time, we provide free online therapy sessions and family activities in the community. In those two days, I spent time with God and focused on creating ideas for new products for the business. I felt happy and free at doing what I loved but my life was tied to a stressful career. For weeks I contemplated leaving but again I did not know what I wanted to do. It was a pure joy writing short stories, plays, children’s books, and helping others with papers for school. After experiencing two days of bliss and liberation through writing, I had to return to the workforce. I spoke with colleagues about making decisions to walk away from the workforce and transitioning into my passion. As I mentioned before, I had a plan to utilize the years of study to help others. There was nothing and no one that could get in the way of my plan. But I was wrong God can and will interrupt our plans.
The passion I felt during those two days of rest was God-given purpose and destiny for my life. I had a plan but God’s plan for my life far exceeded my wildest dreams. But in order to follow God’s plan I had to let go of my own. In order to live, I had to die! It sounds strange but I heard the words from Kirk Franklins “Hello Fear” Album. It was those very words that encouraged my heart to trust in the Lord. My husband and I discussed a plan to leave the workforce on July 1st and we would save money until then, but my spirit became extremely weary in the process of waiting to leave. The workplace hostility became overwhelming, and my caseload seemed to increase even despite my cries for help. I sat at the work desk with my hands postured to pray and tears filled my eyes because I could not take it anymore. Completely stressed and bogged down with paperwork I could not ignore the ringing in my heart to walk away.
I grabbed a recyclable grocery bag and started to clean up my desk. Took lunch and sat at the table doing what I loved, writing. I was terrified because I was walking away from the systems of this world and my idea of success. It took eight years to realize that my idea of success had changed, and I longed to make God smile. Working since the age of fourteen, this was the first time that I had no clue what was next. It was risky faith to walk away from everything I love and held dear. It was in that moment that I was reminded of the book of Matthew 6:26-27, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his feature? (NKJV). It was in that moment that my heart let go of what I knew and embraced the wind that would carry me to the next destination. Of course, I was terrified and after leaving the job that day it took two days for the realization to set in. Each day the Lord allowed me to wake up I felt like a bird just floating on the wind. I never felt such freedom and liberty in walking away from what I had in mind. I continue to pray because God has not revealed what is next for my life. But in letting go God revealed the beauty of total dependence on his will for my life. I know twelve years of schooling will not go to waste, but I believe he wants my undivided attention. See my plans and dreams were interfering with my personal time with the Lord. My thoughts were consumed with the pressures of work and the responsibilities of home life. Letting go required complete surrender and trust in God. Just as he takes care of the birds in the air, he will take care of me. As I follow the wind and humbly surrender to its pulling, I find freedom in trusting completely in the Lord.
As a child, Latoya wrote short stories, poems, and used words to encourage her peers. Whenever she faced a roadblock or obstacle, she would use a pen and paper to help her persevere. She would take the blistering winds of life and write it on paper. After experiencing abuse, homelessness, rejection, loss, and near death, she used each experience to encourage others through her writings. Latoya Washington currently resides in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania with her loving husband, David Washington. They run a small t-shirt business, “RhemaCreationz” that incorporates scripture with modern fashion. The couple collaborated their vision, ideas, and personal convictions to improve the moral and economic depravity in the community. After working a combined fifteen years of serving local youth in Harrisburg and Philadelphia community. RhemaCreationz is a brand designed to equip, motivate, encourage, and exalt others with the Word of God. By incorporating scripture to creatively express God’s will and plan for his people. Creative expressions of faith with apparel, music, books, and much more!
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