Protection through the Fiery Furnace!

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I have been really pensive lately. Especially when trying to trust God despite adverse circumstances. Well God being God has a way of bringing things back to our remembrance to help us remember where God brought us from and to reflect on God’s grace and mercy.

When I was in pre-school or Kindergarten, I distinctly recall being afraid and fearful usually of some fictitious “boogie monster”. Well being  two years older than he – I often passed my fears onto my brother.

One night in particular, my brother and I were pretty riled up into our fears so much until I conjured up a recipe to keep us from this dreadful “boogie man”!

I told my brother that he should sleep in my room as the first step to keep the “boogie man”away. I, then, suggested that we keep the lamp on because light was the next line of defense.  Following,  I decided that we would have more light if we removed the shade and finally for ultimate protection,  it was necessary for us to put the shade-less lamp in the bed with us.

Well, that light bulb lying on our pillow in bed next to us caught fire while we were sleeping. The way this particular home was designed our bedrooms were on the complete opposite side of the house – we were separated from our parents’ master bedroom by a hallway, family room, and kitchen.

I recall being awake the next morning seated at my mother’s feet as she gently cut the singed pieces of hair from my head. My father was in the background saying that he came to check on my brother and I in the middle of the night out of routine.  Once he opened my bedroom door he saw my brother nestled in the corner of the bed lying against the wall, while I was lying on the pillow which was in flames.

It wasn’t until God brought this incident to remembrance the other day that I realized the significance of neither of us feeling the heat from the fire.

The miracle of walking away from the fire unscathed would have been more than enough, but our God being a God of overflow made it so that we slept peacefully through that terrible incident with no awareness of any danger.

As a matter of fact, God provided the biblical reference of Daniel 3 with the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego being not only thrown into the fiery furnance, living through it without one hair being singed, but an entire kingdom was converted & the three men were also rewarded by the king!

God’s providing this story as a reference makes me think about my own life as a living testimony and how this example is one of many about how my God has rescued me! I am more than happy to shout it from the rooftop about God’s goodness & mercy as I know full – well about it! Hallelujah,  my God is worthy to be praised!

If you don’t know Jesus,  do set up an appointment to meet Him today! I promise you will not be disappointed – as He provides a way for us all to get to The Father (God) and without Jesus and calvary we would all probably still have to offer living sacrifices at the altar.

Thank God for grace.

Blessings to You My Friends!

Keeping up with VALENCYA updates ; ) 

1) Purchase my Children’s Book via link below image:

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http://www.valencyathompson.bigcartel.com

2) Download my song, God Please Clean My Room (from your favorite player, but itunes link is below):

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/god-please-clean-my-room-feat./id591875935

 

3) Book Me for Preaching, Speaking, Readings, & Workshops to all ages and populations via info@ValencyaThompson.com  – I cover an array of topics, some of my most frequent include:

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Girls > Sex Entry #5: Words from an Overcomer of Sex Addiction Part 2

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In the most unlikely circumstance, I have been privileged to cross paths with an 86 year old man who feels a calling to share his story with overcoming what he attributes to be a spiritual battle with sex. He has requested to remain anonymous, but feels so strongly about this calling that if any man desired to converse with him due to an experience with this same struggle, he is willing to make himself available. If this is you, please feel free to submit a message to the following email address, GIRLSGTSEX@GMAIL.COM. Your email questions/concerns will be provided to him and replied to accordingly. Below is his story in his own words. ~V. Thompson

For those of you who have been following our Girls > Sex (TM) Ministry, you may remember our inaugural post concerning this issue featuring the words of an overcomer. Well he has decided to share more. His story continues below in his own words:

The Day My Life Changed

My name is X. In April 1932 in Ohio when I was four years old my life was changed. My mother left my brother (age 2) and sister (6 months) with me. I was afraid, but she did return. My father came home later and a neighbor told him what she had done (I learned later she had gone to a movie with a man). He went and bought a gun to kill the man. He returned and put us three kids in our bathroom with our toys. I heard them shouting and when I heard the first shot I came out and saw him shoot himself. I couldn’t be afraid or cry and I had to keep the kids in the bathroom. Some people looked in and left.

Later four men came and carried them away on stretchers. If I would cry, the kids would too so I blocked the door to the bloody room. Later some people came and took us to a large building and we ate and slept there. My mother survived and when she recovered they called her parents in Iowa. I think we were there for four nights. I was placed in a baby crib with the sides up out in a hallway. At the end was a lighted exit sign. Each night a man sneaked in that door and plunged a knife in my heart ( I had this dream for years and only recently have I placed it in context).

My brother and sister were adopted, but no one wanted me so Grandma raised me. I was abused and ran away several times. My mother remarried and my step father didn’t want me so I didn’t know a place to run to. My grandparents moved seven times during my school years and I struggled, but finally graduated.

I’ve married three times and divorced twice. At age 55 in deep depression, I accepted Christ as my savior and began the long road back. I only relived that day recently and the raw naked fear rolled over me like ocean waves and I finally cried. I learned recently that I am addicted to fear, anger, control, and lack of trust.

Perhaps, I might meet someone and we could help each other toward healing.

May his story and testimony provide you with peace as you overcome your own battles.

God’s Blessings and Peace to you my friends!

The Sweet Water Bucket vs. Acid

Me and Dad

I was talking to a friend and he introduced me to a new concept. He proposed that, “if you’re walking around with a bucket of sweet water when someone bumps into you, it will get all over you two, and the same occurs if you walk around with a bucket of acid.”

In the course of this conversation the friend thought I was being used to minister to him; all the while, he was also being used to minister to me. You see, I have some unresolved issues with my father. For those of you who follow my writings, you are aware that my father has a history of struggling with drug and alcohol abuse. I have surveyed some of the issues that I perceive my siblings to have as a result of it, and have yet to fully examine myself.

To that point, listening to my friend’s story as circumstances would have it, a father with a daughter who won’t speak to him, I have learned of the pain I have caused myself by “judging a man before walking a day in his moccasins”.

This means that I have always, somewhere in the back of my mind, judged my father’s actions as being done “to” me. When in actuality, his actions have had absolutely nothing to do with me. As I listen to my friend’s struggles with pain that he has carried around for many long years of his life, I have resolved that I don’t want to become an old bitter woman resenting my father, and others who have little significance in my life because they took an action that reminds me of the sense of abandonment I have felt due to my father’s lifestyle.

In different spaces of my life as an adult, my father has made efforts to reach out to me; quite frankly my choice to receive him or reciprocate depends on my mood during the current time. I desire to change this today. I desire to see him as the human being he is isolated from any title he possesses by relation: be that father, former husband, brother, uncle, grandfather, friend, lover, etc. Just imagine what good there could come in the world if we could all take a step back and view a man for just that, being a man. Understanding that each man is faced with his own series of tests, trials, and dilemmas. And each man does the best that he knows how given his circumstances, in most instances choosing the most accessible pain medicine available to ease his re-occurring woes that he has found too difficult to bear.

The irony for us all, is that we pursue different options to treat our symptoms temporarily; yet run from Christ who possesses the only true antidote. I won’t leave you here, because this notion does not seem attainable for many of us because we get lost in the grandioseness of God and the religiosity that the world has painted on our God. What I will leave you with is the notion of honesty. This is,in fact, a never ending journey. It is up to us to wake up everyday and choose the substance that will perfect us overtime. Notice I said “every day”. This is not a one puff, cure all situation.

Now that I have gotten completely naked before you, I pray that you will have the courage to get completely naked before Christ. As always, He’s waiting.

Love to All!

God Bless.

Psalm 34:19 “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.”

Jeremiah 30:17 “For I will restore health unto you, and I will heal you of your wounds, saith the Lord.”

Isaiah 53:4-5 “Surely He hath borne our griefs (Hebrew: sicknesses) and carried our sorrows (Hebrew: pains) yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and by His stripes we are healed.”

Girls > Sex Entry #4: Before & After My Move to Atlanta

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This post is difficult for me to write because though I believe that some self-disclosure is necessary so that we may testify, I come from a family that taught me to keep your business private, especially that which may place you in a “negative light” or vulnerable state.

Welp because God brought this memory to me and it is resting on my brain strongly, I know that God is urging me to write this post. I realize that I must be open if I am to truly exercise my obedience to my Heavenly Father.  Here goes a lot of something…

In undergrad, my final major ; ) was psychology.  Some know that since around 7th grade or so I decided that I wanted to be a child psychiatrist.  I determined this because it was apparent that I always wanted to “help” people, a trait that I developed from both sides of my family.  The interesting part is that at an early age, I learned from the very soft, kind heart of my father through his words and occasional actions.  Whereas, my mother at a young age already developed a thick exterior which was also embedded by a soft heart – some miss out on it due to her bold nature and sharp tongue.  I imagine this was exacerbated by my father’s lies and dark lifestyle.

The irony about my father is that as he talked and attempted to “help” others, he has never fully managed to truly help himself.  To this day, my father struggles with drug and alcohol addiction.  Now as with most who have encountered this struggle, there are moments where he has managed to step away from one or the other, but not fully enough to truly live his life.

Anyway, one may say what does this have to do with me (Valencya)?  Well I assure that your foundation has everything to do with how your life begins.  Now back to my “helping nature”.  As I watched my father struggle, I knew that I wanted to “help” people, and one day as I was watching some daytime talk show, I learned of the job title, “child psychiatrist”.  After promptly learning to spell it, I decided that this would be the career I would pursue, as I mentioned around 7th grade, (but it may have been 6th grade actually ; ).

I progressed through primary and secondary school without academic incident, and once I reached my freshman year at the College of Charleston (CofC), I was exposed to FREEDOM. Well freedom has its price.  I soon realized, away from home and away from my mother’s pre-set schedules, I would find myself battling to stay afloat in the water of waves crashing me back and forth.  Eitherway, college had so many great things to offer (so many distractions).  There was interesting academia (some), social life, extra-curricular activities, and more.  I can assure you that I wanted to be a social activist of some form all the while trying to figure out what being on somebody’s pre-med track meant.

While CofC had all sorts of programming in place that was to assist its students, once I finished my SPECTRA program (summer prior to freshman year to get students of color acclimated to college in a majority setting and attain college credits); I had no effective boundaries in place to ensure that I balanced it all.  See advisement wasn’t truly mandatory or authenticated, before it was too late if you get my gist.  I decided to be a Math major because I was invited to be a part of the SCAMP program (http://msps.cofc.edu/academicservices/scamp.php) due to my grades.  In the summer SPECTRA program, I was able to fair pretty well in my pre-calculus program.  This was probably because I took it my senior year in high school and my disciplined friend Scott was able to study with me and keep me on track that summer.  A pre-med track required courses in multiple science areas, but was not contingent upon you having a specific major, so in essence I was hoping to avoid additional biology, chemistry, etc. courses beyond what was needed for medical school and thought I could maintain enough on a math track.

As you hear me mention issues with focus and multi-tasking, you’ve probably guessed that I was more than likely an ADHD kid.  At home, my Mom kept me on a schedule, so this was never an issue for me, but in the big open world without proper guidance I would find myself constantly fighting to hold back the reigns.  The irony is that while in SPECTRA, a professor (Caucasian Lady – important because of America’s history with ill-placement of Black people with mental health issues) asked if I were ever tested for ADHD.  Once I presented this information to my Mom she indicated that we all (my family) probably have it (very high strung people ; ), but we should stay away from medication and stick to our schedules.

This sounds nice in theory, but while in college, no one was near by to keep Valencya on her schedule.  So she spent her time away from class, trying to volunteer in every organization possible so that she could help the kids.  Valencya was a part of everyone’s executive board, because she was “born to lead”.  Valencya was on the choir because she loved her JESUS, and still held an executive board position in the 7th Episcopal District’s (state of South Carolina) Young People’s Division of the AME church which required travel around the state.  Did I mention that after partying on Friday and Saturday nights, Valencya made it a point to attend church nearly every Sunday? Valencya was an RA in her dorm and Valencya was also employed by Gap, Inc. at Banana Republic.  And like most young girls, Valencya was always dating.

Yes, well you are probably thinking, where in the heck did she find time to study?  I assure you that I did not, I simply crammed my way through college, attended class, and took tests sleepy as all get out.  I refused to take any stimulants or any drugs…as a matter of fact, I didn’t have my first alcoholic beverage until the age of 21 (as far as I know).  Seriously. Yes, my peers laughed as I attended my high school senior trip in Cancun, Mexico and asked for all virgin beverages, while everyone else was gladly “throwing ’em back”!  Remember our foundation and background determines how our life begins. So if you remember how I grew up…you can understand my decisions.

Either way, this girl soon learned that you can’t cram your way into medical school so she had to choose what was interesting to her and easier to manage, a psychology degree.   Before anyone tries to protest, I by no means am suggesting that psychology is a field that you can play with, I am just saying that the material was much more interesting to me than molecular biology, or biochemistry, so it was easier for me to digest the info once hearing it in class. So, I stumbled my way through a psychology major and graduated within four years (on time) and made my family proud! This was very important to me.

Having no success with gaining immediate entry into graduate school (found out about a GRE at the last minute, just took it without preparation) and okay grades, I found myself in an awkward position.  So I moved back home to Columbia, SC for the first year following College with a transfer from Banana Republic (BR) until I could land  a “real job”.  No offense to retail…I believe in it honey!  But, it was not what I went to school for, and I didn’t make very much at all as a Sales Associate.

I had my fun with my Banana Republic friends, but soon learned that I needed more money.  I heard about a customer service representative position with Verizon Wireless (VW).  You could be paid to take a course on a computer for several weeks prior to being placed on the floor to take calls.  After making it through a rigorous screening and interview process, I made it!

Well, my Mom was riding my behind the entire time I was at BR and VW pretty much indicating that I was a bum in her eyes, so I quickly moved to Grandma’s house (I now know what her intentions were…Love you Ma)! My Grandmother was the best roommate ever!  Love you Grandma, Muah! ; )

Once I reached the floor at VW, I was completely miserable.  Imagine me a sensitive Southern Girl who demonstrates excellent customer service, fielding calls from irate Americans from the Northeast region of the U.S.  Well, I was in tears and frustrated many days.  What would be next for me?

I recall sitting in an AME conference session at Emmanuel AME Church during a service and listening to the preacher preach his sermon.  In the middle of this service (completely unrelated to sermon), the Holy Spirit whispered you will move to Atlanta and you will lead a great organization.  I was so excited about the news that I nearly jumped out of my seat and I quickly began to probe God for additional answers.  God being God gave me nothing else.  I thought God meant a non-profit organization so that I could help others, so I immediately began to put in jobs for NPOs to no avail.

Through the assistance of my dear friend Travis, I learned of a management position with Target (c).  I made it through the rigorous interview process only to learn that the store manager who wanted me did not want to offer the Senior Team Leader position, I was advised of, but a Team Leader position instead which was a demotion (my position titles may be inaccurate, but you get my point).  I now know this was so that the manager could justify offering me substandard pay while requiring me to do double work.  Believing it would be easier to get a job in my desired field while living in the city, I promptly accepted the position and jetted my 23 years young self to Atlanta!

I promptly discovered misery again.  I was overworked and underpaid.  I lost weight unnecessarily. I barely had time to spend with my new boyfriend, Jerrell ; ) could barely look for a desired position, and cried myself to sleep many nights.  Having experienced more than I could bear around the 6th month mark, I remember closing one night just before my beautiful Valentine’s Day birthday and being completely miserable.  It was then that I decided to quit cold turkey.  Being the lady that I was, I put in a two weeks notice the next morning, but my prideful store manager said it was unnecessary because my replacement was coming in, which was a lie.

At this point, I was unsuccessful at securing a position elsewhere.  I was left unemployed for 6 months (six is becoming a theme at this point in my life). All the while I was arranging meetings with my social activist girlfriends in efforts to start our NPO, but we were just spinning our wheels and not moving. You should know that I worked at VW for about 6 months as well.  I was unable to secure a basic job and was flocking from job fair to job fair with my gas tank on E, nervous about the next months rent and car payment.

Desperate, I made myself the perfect prey & here come’s my Girls > Sex moment.  I can recall not being on the best of terms with my then boyfriend, now husband, Jerrell, and riding through a shopping plaza with my windows down dead in the middle of summer in Georgia because my air was not working.   Well I must have been driving pretty slow because some man probably at least 15 years my senior was able to get my attention.  “Hey Baby Girl, how you”?  Somewhere this conversation turns into feeling like he’s making a pass at me and I indicate that I am dating someone.  “Well, Damn Baby, you got a man and you riding around with no air…broke as hell!”  “Ooohh and yo gas tank is on E”.  If I’m not mistaken this man even offers me gas money.  Back then, I’m young, naive, hot and tired.  So instead of shutting this conversation down, I’m sitting there entertaining it and going back and forth with this man.  I don’t know how this happened, but at some  point the man offered me a position as his Executive Assistant.  He stated that he owned a trucking company and his wife, former assistant recently left him so he needed some help.

Gullable as ever, I agreed to meet this man at his “home” office, yes you heard me.  My next few days were filled with being in this mans home, sorting laundry, doing his daughter’s hair, following him around where he publicly berated me and even tried to withhold my payment to manipulate me.  The most scary position I placed myself in was when he called me into his bedroom, where I found him laying in his bathrobe as he asked me to, “give him a little bit”.  I refused, but in a playful manner not wanting to tick him off.  He then began to put me down and indicated that he wanted his wife anyway and not me.  By the grace of God, he did not force himself upon me and I promptly resigned, but was still silly enough to entertain his phone calls where he attempted to verbally abuse me.  As I said, God is faithful and I was saved from the hands of the enemy.

This man even got my nails done while I was “working for him”.  Knowing what I now know, he could have been attempting to groom me for prostitution.  This very situation traps young girls, unfortunately pre-teens, teenagers, along with some women who find themselves between a rock and a hard place on a daily basis.  As a society, we must continue to speak truth so that other’s might be set free.  Hallelujah!

For those of you who care, following this incident, my life went this way…

Well one day I was tired of pursuing employment “just cause” and while attending a job fair at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, I made a decision.  Instead of flocking from table to table to talk to people offering positions I was clearly uninterested in, I decided to pick up a map and seek out nonprofits only.

To my surprise, there was only one, Hands On Atlanta (HOA), member of the HandsOn Network.  When I reached the HOA table I was sad to learn that they were not hiring, but were instead seeking AmeriCorps volunteers.  The irony was thick considering I was talked out of not submitting my completed PeaceCorps application the year prior, instead my friend Crystal who sat by my side during my application process joined the PeaceCorps (as usual, look at GOD)!

Though not what I wanted initially, the AmeriCorps volunteer position was quite attractive.  It included a biweekly stipend and Education award, on the frontend.  My intention was to woo the Hands On Atlanta team into hiring me for  a more permanent position while serving.  Meanwhile, it was summer and this position didn’t start until August. How would I make it?  God blessed me with a friend who told me to not mention my degree and apply for a server position, so off to Gladys & Ron’s I went, so I was sustained over the summer.

Little did I know that God had abundance waiting for me on the other side.  Out of 100+ AmeriCorps members at HOA, I alone was selected for the one University position at Oglethorpe, while my peers were placed to tutor students in Atlanta’s schools.  At Oglethorpe (OU), I was provided free housing, a free meal plan, free trips, and more!  Can you say overflow, but God wasn’t done.  After I completed my first term (10 months), I decided to complete a second, as I was welcomed by AmeriCorps and HOA.  During this time period I pursued information about Georgia State University’s School Psychology Master of Education/Specialist of Education and Bachelor’s to Ph.D. program.

I was blessed to meet with candid professors, Varjas & Roach, who shared with me the things I would need to complete to make my application more stellar due to my “okay” undergraduate GPA.  2.679 or so if I remember right ; ), C+ ish for you people still caught up in numbers.  I was also advised of the specific GRE score that I needed, that I would need to complete a research study under the advisement of a professor, and that I would need to take a graduate course to prove that I was capable of the work.  If you think anything like I’m thinking, when I walked out of their offices, I was like “these people must be crazy…how in the world will I complete all of these things in less than a year”? That’s when I heard a still, small voice say, “just try”.  In essence, just try ME, THE ONE TRUE LIVING, ALMIGHTY GOD!

Would you know that my God placed me on a fast track for success!  God was like, “you are working at a University right and the people do love you right”? I was like, “okay, you win God, I’ll give it a try”.  At OU, I was prepared to pay for a course with my AmeriCorps education award, but they were like technically you work here, so it’s free!  Then I learned that an Education award could be used for supplies, books, etc.  So I was able to secure a much needed computer and pay for the $1000 Kaplan course to get my GRE to the level that was required.  Finally, I made arrangements to meet with a psychology professor at OU who guided and supervised my research study.

Being practical about the amount of hours I had in a day (first time ever), I met with my supervisor, to discuss how I could conduct the study using data I collected from activities I participated in with youth at schools that were served during my normal service hours.  All of this was achieved with the proper consent of course.  Somehow by the end of that year, I completed a graduate level course with an A, successfully completed my GRE course & scored on target, completed a research study, and secured a letter of recommendation from the president of OU!  As if this wasn’t enough, of course I was able to enter the School Psych program at GSU, and around my second year or so, I learned that the graduate credits I earned at OU were successfully transferable to my GSU coursework!  WON’T GOD DO IT?!

So this my friends is probably the longest post you have ever seen me write, but when I tell you that my Heavenly Father woke me up with such a quickening in my spirit, I knew it was necessary that I share this!  You all be liberated today my friends!  Let nothing hold you back!  Remember that you are enough!  Remember God is faithful and He (how I refer to God, but God can be whoever you need God to be in your life) will never let you down!

Be blessed & take God’s Peace with you my Friends!