As I look at this picture and the twinkle in my eyes, I see a 5-year journey filled with fears, depression, but also peace and elation. When individuals asked me how I was progressing, I would say "It's been a spiritual journey, but I'm hanging in there." I realize now that acquiring my Doctorate Degree has indeed been a spiritual journey. In the process, the fullness of God's character was revealed to me, as the source of my strength at my darkest hour and blessing me beyond my imagination. There have been many dark times along this journey but my darkest came last September. Experiments weren't working, two papers were rejected though I had given my all.
I felt lost and cried out to God saying, "I can't do this anymore! I give up!" Yet, in the midst of my agony and frustration, he sent godly friends and family to put my predicament into perspective and give solutions to my problems. One of my dear friends told me "sometimes we need to focus on the lessons that need to be learned." Now, that may have been a simple advice, but by this time I had whole heartedly given up control of my life and allowed God to be Lord! Once I made that commitment and lived it out, through devotion and prayer, it was now time for the enemy to destroy the foundation that Christ and I were building. Yet God raised up a standard! My family would connect me with other Doctors who would encourage me and assure me that I would get through it, while providing valuable advice.
Fast forward to May 2016, both papers were accepted and I went on to receive two prestigious awards from the Chemistry Department! It's important for me to reveal some of the difficulties I faced as often times these are hidden behind the highlights and the bright smiles. But, I want to acknowledge that this highlight fulfills the promise that "All things work together for the good of them that love the Lord." That even when I'm in the midst of darkness it's still GOOD! As I think of God's love and plan for me I am simply overwhelmed! He saw this day even as I was knit together in my mother's womb. He saw Dr. Crystal Shenandoah Lewis when I couldn't see it. For anyone who is in the midst of an academic journey or any journey for that matter, I encourage you to rely on His strength not your own. As long as He is with you, your dreary days will be transformed into the victories of tomorrow.