So, three days ago I celebrated my 28th birthday!!! I have officially drifted from my mid-20s into the late-20s. Hitting this junction in my life caused me to reminisce on the first time I really begin to plan out my life. It was spring 2004 (I was 22), and I was approaching college graduation.

As I began to prepare myself to enter the “real world”, it was the first time I truly began to ponder what I truly wanted out of life. It was also at that point that I realized how far I was from the dreams I had dreamt for my life. Everything—the husband, the kids, and the dream job all seemed so far away that I literally spun into such a deep depression that I couldn’t see my way out. On numerous occasions I honestly thought death would be easier than me climbing out of the deep, dark hole I was residing in.

After re-evaluating EVERYTHING I was doing in my life, re-vamping my relationship with God, and re-connecting with a body of believers (shout out New Birth Fam!), I was able to climb from the hole and find joy in life and living again (around 24)! In the midst of my new found joy of life, I also developed a plan. A plan I was sure God had divinely imparted to me and would quickly bless and prosper.

So for the next couple of years, I threw my all into this plan. Worked my assets off trying to make the vision I’d created, the one I felt was divinely imparted, come to pass. I was going to church 2 to 3 times a week, loving and giving the man I was supposed to marry my all, and working like a slave from my home-based business. And before I knew it (circa 26), I was lucky to make it to Sunday’s 10:30am service on time, my future husband, yeah, he was engaged to someone else, and I was in debt up to my eyeballs due to my people refusing to pay me for my services. So here I was, broke with a broken heart and broken dreams to match. I could’ve spiraled right back into the black hole I’d called home 4 years earlier, but I didn’t.

Over the past 4 years, I had really searched and figured out who God was and what He’d promised me. So even when it appeared that God was forsaking me, I knew enough about my God to know, He would never do that. I trusted Him when I couldn’t trace Him and pressed. Eventually (26-27), I found myself teaching high school English and developing myself into the woman I’d always wanted to be.

So here I stand, 28 & 3 days old. My life is far from where I imagined it would be back at 22! I have no husband and no potential mate and only one of the 5 kids a dreamed of having. My Oprah-esque media empire is a lot of hard work from fruition. And I’m not living the “good life” I’ve been dreaming of since 2000. But I’m know I’m right where God wants me, and I’m loving every minute of my now.

I don’t have a husband or a potential mate, but I love myself more than ever before. I love the strong, spiritual, determined, and caring woman I have grown into. And I also heart the fabulous, God-fearing diva that is emerging. By the time my husband arrives, he’s going to have a true prize in his hands. And that, I take pride in.

And while I don’t have my 5 biological kids, I do have 1 who is the greatest kid of all time, 9-10 kids who I love, pray for, and protect like they are mine own, around 20 kids who I mentor, and close to 350 students whose lives I have touched in some way, shape, or form. I live and breathe for these kids. They add value to my life.

I may not be the media giant I dreamed of becoming, but I am one of the few people I know of who LOVES the job I get up and go to every morning. I take pride in being an educator, and in being freaking good at it! Teaching literature is a means God set up that allows me to change kids’ lives (no exaggeration). I love that He trusts me with so much, and I love that I’m effective. I also love that teaching gives me just enough off time to plot my media takeover and surprise the world. Oprah’s leaving a void in 2011, and I’m trying to take it. You’ve been warned. J

Finally, I may not be living the “good life” of fabulous parties, lots of money, and fame that Kanye and T-Pain song about. But I am living the Good Life where all of my needs are met, all of my fears are subsided, and all of my burdens are cared for by someone bigger than myself. It’s an amazing Life that only He could design (peep Jeremiah 1:15). It’s wonderful, and you could have it too. But only if you want it.

Through the past 6½ years of struggle and joy, tears and laughter, agony and pleasure, I’ve learned one amazing lesson: live life in the now! Don’t let the regrets of yesterday or the dreams of tomorrow steal the blissful moments you have the ability to enjoy now. Find comfort and happiness in the NOW, while healing from yesterday and planning for tomorrow. God is in the now! You can only enjoy Him in the now! And you can only enjoy now with Him!