Mar 6 • 29M

Stories From The Wilderness Ep 1

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Wild week…

I began to write a story this week. Surprisingly enough, it wasn’t for YOU. Lol. This story was a story that I was going to share with my therapist.

I’ve always been an “audience” person. I’ve always had to have a 6th sense about me when it comes to communicating around people. Not everyone can hear everything. More importantly, God has very clearly shown me that everyone isn’t SUPPOSED to hear everything. Remember, I’m a kid that learned to communicate anywhere from the block to the board room.

“But Joel… SHARE… WE HAVE TO SHARE… our blessings AND our bruises… the good AND the bad… the ups AND the downs….”

Amen… you’re paying attention! But… there is a time and place for everything. I’ve touched on it before… matter of fact, I’ve tried to make it as clear as I possibly could. SHAREing doesn’t mean casting your pearls to the pigs. That’s actually a scripture that my mom loves and has loved to make sure we knew. “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” Matthew 7:6. My mom always quotes this scripture. She’s always protected what she knew was holy inside of us… She’s always known that we had to protect ourselves from the vulnerability that being a chosen son or daughter of a king, exposes us to.

So, I began writing a piece that was intended for the person that I have invited into my life as a “partner in processing” such an incredible season. Honestly, it’s a tough read and I may or may not develop it into something that’s crafted for public consumption. We’ll see. But that’s how my week started. ROUGH. And to be completely honest, this whole week has been rough. It’s been a VERY painful week and a VERY stressful week… It’s rent week lol. I had a person that’s been an incredible advocate for me on my care team leave her job and there is NO one even assigned to help yet. My legal team is a probably more tired of my case than I am, and it shows with their lack of communication with me. Did I mention the pain? I’m starting to hate to type that word out because the letters on the page don’t do shit for actually explaining it…

But…

I sat down today to tell you all that I needed to take a break this week from publishing. I need to just REST. I haven’t slept through ONE night this week. My body aches everywhere. But then God showed me something that I’m so glad I didn’t miss.

He showed me all the little blessings that He sprinkled into my week that truly kept me going.

Sunday - one of my good friends put himself in a situation that he was struggling with, but trusting God in… and it was yielding good and righteous fruit. I feel like that sentence was super Christiany… He did some shit he ain’t wanna do and trusted God to make it better and God made it GREAT. How’s that? He reached out to thank me for words that I had SHAREd with him before that had lead to his decision to tough it out.

Tuesday - my friend sent me money to get my apartment cleaned.  This is a double blessing because I literally send that money directly to my boy Stefano who I’ve walked with for years… and even though I can’t afford to have him swing through and clean the house, this person blesses me so I get to bless HIM. And my house isn’t in complete shambled all the time anymore… I mean close lol… but at least every month, I get a bit of a reset and that helps my mental health more than I could express.

Wednesday - 12:01 am - I was STILL on the phone and was SHAREing with a new friend… honestly… when she said that she wanted to connect, I knew God would do something good (because He ALWAYS does) but I thought that I was going to counsel HER. Little did I know, it would be more closely aligned with this little thing I call SHAREing. Where WE both had pieces that WE both needed… and it was right on time.

Friday - A friend randomly sends me $200 via cash app with the message - “I hope this is on time. Love you Brother”  - Look…. Let’s just say that that it was RIGHT ON TIME, ok? Like… Manna from heaven timing.

Saturday - Stefano comes to clean the house … I had fallen asleep only 4 hours before, so I over slept like a jerk… and in walks my friend Marek right behind Stefano. He said that he just wanted to come check on me because he “saw through the Instagram that I was in the hospital a couple weeks ago”. I’ve told people that they could pop by any time… but he actually DID it! He just wanted to check on me… he left quickly but we made plans to meet up again soon. THEN, Stefano tells me some of his stuff… and in the middle of his story, at a point of contention and anguish, he says, “And my daughter said to me, ‘Dad, what would Joel tell you to do right now?’”

Listen to me…. The level of HONOR that I felt. It’s overwhelming. To be honest.

*I’ve asked Stef’s permission to SHARE this next part of the story*

My boy Stef used to be a gangbanger. Honestly… most of y’all will hear that word and only know a small small small portion of what it really means. But, realistically, it means that this man has lived more trauma than you could see in 10 lifetimes. Trul y. It means that in order for his story to change, he has to work 10 TIMES harder than you have to to see the same result. It means that ONLY an awesome God could reach him to pull him out of that. And here we are… on a Saturday morning… not just celebrating the fact that he didn’t retaliate in this situation (that according to streets, would have been fully warranted) but also…. ALSO… make sure you don’t miss it…. ALSO, the fact that generationally there has been a shift. His DAUGHTER… who I’ve only met in person one time… is now being affected by the Good News, to a point where it’s coming out of HER as wise counsel for her father in a stressful situation. C’mon y’all…. You cannot convince me that even in the worst time of my whole life, that God isn’t out here doing the MOST with this season. Stefano is out here changing the narrative from what he was exposed to what he wants for his kid. I might be the vessel or the tool (at the moment) but getting to deliver the hope of the word of God to Stef by purely WALKING with him. Everyday. Through every season… it’s changing the world he lives in because it’s contagiously being passed onto his kid. And to the point where his kid can regurgitate the peace and the love and the joy BACK to him when he may need it the most. Listen…. That is ONLY GOD. Period.

Don’t get me wrong… he also told me that she loves wearing her Share. T-shirt and everyone in the hood is asking her where she got it… lol… yo… that’s super dope … but oh my Lord, how God is working through us even when we are getting our asses kicked. THAT is purely miraculous.

Later Saturday, I had a conversation with my new friend that kinda revolved around “when our respective ministries will start.” I’m going to end this post the same way that God spoke in that moment last night.

You do not need anyone’s approval to start your ministry. If God has put a purpose on your heart and made your purpose clear you have enough. If it’s from God, He will give you everything you need to make it work. Do not sell your self short by holding your ministry up to the comparison of someone else’s. You might think that you don’t have enough structure or resources or production… but I can tell you first hand… as I write this from my back and in crazy pain… that God can and will use you EXACTLY where you are IF you let him. Stop buying into the BS that you don’t have what you need to SHARE the good news. God never intended for just SOME of us to be pastors. He never wanted for there to be a select few that only preached from the pulpit of a church to communicate His words. He’s given ALL OF US permission to step into the light, absorb the sunshine and spread love and empathy in this world. You can LOOK at the world and SEE that there’s a shortage …. It’s not up to Pastor so and so to fix it. It’s up to US.

Look… I didn't think I had the energy to SHARE today. I’m grateful that I got a last minute nudge from God to lean into some of the stuff that I’ve experienced this week. I promise you that you have a ministry worth talking about. I promise you that you have everything you need to spread GOOD NEWS into this Godforsaken world. DO not allow yourself to be consumed with what you don’t have or what someone else does differently. That’s all a trick from the evil one to keep you quiet… or keep you from reaching out to a friend that you KNOW you should be reaching out to… or to keep you from leaning into the community that you need in order to survive YOUR storm. Jeremiah 29:11 says, For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I don’t know about you, but I needed that reminder today..

So…

Don’t hide.

It’s ok to find a safe place to share your heartache or your grief or your pain. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… if you need someone to talk to, I will talk to you. I don’t know much and I can solve even less, but I can and will listen. God has/is kicking my ass so that I can sit in the muck and mire with those that are and have gotten their asses kicked too.

I am tired and I am grateful. I am worn out and I have my hands in the air praising God for the season that has broken me and is rebuilding me brick by brick.

Thank you for reading/listening to this episode… it’s an honor to get to tell these stories and recap what God is up to.

I want to give a special shoutout to anyone who is subscribed to this newsletter and/or who has felt compelled to give to me through this season. It has been very difficult to find the resources that align with my capabilities during this time. I think that’s God’s way of telling me sit my butt down and continuously commit to this ministry and the work I do here… it’s literally been the ONLY thing that I could physically do most weeks.

If you haven’t subscribed, you can do it HERE, it’s only $7 bucks a month. If you want to GIFT a subscription, you can do that HERE. If you feel like you want to chip in towards my life expenses, you can find those ways below. Thank you in advance… I wouldn’t have made it this far with a lot of people helping however they could.

God bless… sorry the newsletter was late… God gave me a different mission than I thought I had for this week.

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