2017 has been my "Golden Year". I launched this blog on 07.17.17 my 32nd Birthday with the hopes to share my story and to blog about my grief journey and being a special needs mother. I have gained so much since July when I posted my first post and in August when I started the Erica M. McAfee Podcast. Below are my 10 lessons I learned in 2017 in no particular order.
- Everybody needs therapy. Including me.
I know you are like really Erica? Everybody needs therapy? Yes, you do. Including me. I began therapy at the beginning of the year because of many reasons, but mainly because I needed to sort out my grief around not being able to physically have more children. I lost my uterus when I had my rainbow baby Max in August 2014. I was only 29, and still very much prime in my child bearing years. Although my pregnancy experiences have not been positive (lost 2 babies 1 boy at 39 weeks at birth and 1 girl at 18 weeks miscarried), and I almost lost my life having my son Max. I wanted to make the choice myself and I wanted to be in control. God is in control and I don't regret the decision the doctors made. I needed to talk to someone to sort out why I was feeling that way. It goes deeper into my childhood and why I say everyone needs a therapist. Our childhood and the way we are raised shapes and molds us more than we think. Talking to someone to help you think about why you are feeling certain ways will help you gain clarity and peace is needed. I started this year in therapy because it was needed and I'm happy I did. If you are interested in coaching click here.
- Start where you are.
When I started the Erica M. McAfee Podcast I had no clue about how to host the podcast, upload the podcast, record and edit the podcast. I just started and Googled my way to success. I remember when I uploaded my first show and Apple Podcasts/iTunes accepted it, I was excited. I was nervous and very scared. But, I started where I was and continued to do the work (cue Iyanla).
- Collaboration over Competition
There were a few women I reached out to of a lighter hue (hint hint) when I started my podcast to collaborate. They did not want to give me the time of day. I'm like we aren't in competition with each other this is collaboration to spread a bigger message and ministry. I then started to restructure who my target audience was and I have been welcomed with collaborating with so many amazing women in this loss community.
- Cold emailing works
Cold emailing does work and I am happy I learned this technique this year. This is how I have secured most if not all of my podcast guests.
- You have to fight for your marriage.
This is a transparent learning because marriage is difficult if you are fighting each other instead of fighting together. I learned this year that I'm willing to fight together instead of fighting him on why he didn't pick up his clothes off the floor or put the toilet seat down lol. You feel me? There also comes a point in marriage where you both have to really make the decision if this is worth fighting for. Year 5 was our fight year. I'm excited to go into year 6 being willing to fight together instead of each other.
- Being ok with not having more children.
This was a hard one for me. I've been wrestling with this decision for a long while. I'm finally at a place where I'm ok with not having more children. Although, I know that God may have other plans for us. I love my family and want to create lasting memories with Maxwell.
- My circle maybe smaller but it is more meaningful
I've developmed deeper friendships with my besties this year. I've shared deeper and became more vulnerable to them. I'm usually very guarded about what is going on with me and my life, but transparency has been my biggest lesson learned this year. We all have problems. We all have issues. We all need to be honest about them and find someone you are willing to trust and share life with. Thank you to my boos you know who you are for allowing me to trust, be vulnerable, and still love on me this year.
- Family hurt is worst than church hurt
I hate that this is true. I lost my grandmother at the top of the year, and it has a been a difficult road of recovery for my family. Many family members still haven't spoken and its almost a year later. This hurt is deep, but what I have learned is that God will heal broken hearts. We will get to a place where everyone can speak again and not be petty and bring up the past. I have also learned that perception is reality with family. They may think something is true from years past but never questioned the logic of said truth. Maybe one day I will reveal and share this more deeply, but I'm praying for restoration and healing of my family in 2018.
- Your Mess can be Your Message and Ministry
Thank you God for allowing me to use my mess, my losses, my grief and turning it into my message and ministry. I have always had a passion to help others in some way. I am happy that I was placed on this journey to help other black women heal, gain clarity, and find peace after loss. He will turn your mess into your message (cue Robin Roberts). If you are looking for coaching or someone to talk to click here.
- God's plans will always be greater than our own. As much as I like to say the 1000+ podcast downloads and organic growth of this platform is my own. It is not. God has his hand all up and through what I’m doing and his plan is always greater than my own. I have finally learned this and I’m surrendering in 2018. I’m giving my all to him and going into 2018 being Fearless: Doing What Scares Me! Tune into the first solo podcast of the year on this subject and my goals for 2018.
Join the 31 Day Prayer Challenge!
This challenge is for you to journal and write out your prayers daily by using the 31 daily prompts HERE. You can also download the (32 Page) 31 Day Prayer Challenge journal for $2.99 for you to print and use on this challenge.
So, what's next?
- Begin journalling using the prayer prompts Here.
- Join the Sister's in Loss Facebook Group.
- Share your testimony how God is working in your life by the prayers you write out.
- If you want to go deeper join the Sister's in Loss Bookclub. For January we are reading Priscilla Shirer's "Discerning the Voice of God" You can download it here or listen to it free via audiobook here. I will be going live every Thursday at 7PM EST in the Sister's in Loss FB Group to discuss the book. We also we will chatting during the week in the Sister's in Loss Group Chat.
- Lastly, I have created a Spotify Playlist for you to meditate on while you pray and write out your prayers. Listen to this worship music and write out what God putting on you heart for the daily prompts.
Love you! Mean it!