Today we have a guest post by V. Lynn Whitfield, author of the new book The Party’s Not Over Until God Says So. She is an attorney with over thirty-one years of experience. In spite of being a ward of the State of Ohio and parentless before the age of eighteen, she secured an academic scholarship to attend Brandeis University which not only provided her with a high quality education, but also equipped her and prepared her to successfully attend and graduate from law school. After one year as an attorney, she found herself without a job and the topic of media attention. She was disciplined by the Florida Bar and many said her career was over. She was able to rehabilitate her career and has gone on to be a successful criminal defense attorney and now practices municipal law and serves as a City Attorney in Hallandale Beach, Florida
In January, 2012 she suffered a subdural hematoma and had brain surgery. Although she woke up paralyzed on her dominant side, she didn’t let that stop her. She worked hard and just three weeks after starting rehabilitation, she was walking and using her left side again. Just three months after surgery she was back working full-time as an attorney and writing. Her ability to rehabilitate herself both professionally and physically makes her qualified to discuss and advise on how to overcome the storms of your life.
V. Lynn Whitfield
Author of : “The Party’s Not Over Until God Says So”
It was Labor Day weekend in 2008. I decided to travel to the west coast of Florida for a golfing and spa weekend. A couple of friends initially said they were going but once it was predicted that Hurricane Ike was going to veer that way, they quickly changed their plans and opted to stay at home. Not me! I was hopeful that I would be able to get at least one day of golf in and definitely some spa services. So off I went all by myself for a new adventure. I spent Friday evening shopping at a nearby outlet mall, one of my other favorite activities when traveling. It started raining as I drove back to the condo I had rented. The rain was not too bad and I was able to go out later for dinner in one of the restaurants in downtown Naples.
The next day was beautiful and sunny. I played eighteen holes of golf with no problems. Well, that’s not quite true. I’m the problem when I play golf, but the weather cooperated. Later after my afternoon at the spa, it started raining. It rained all night long. The next morning it was raining a little harder. It was obvious that I was not going to be able to play golf on that day. Not having anything else to do I started watching the weather and I became concerned that the weather was only going to get worse. I made the decision to head back home to the east side of the state.
Starting out back across the state on I-75, affectionately known as “Alligator Alley,” I encountered a constant moderate rain. After about a half an hour of driving I came upon an extremely heavy rainstorm. I could barely see the cars in front of me or on my sides. The sound of the rain hitting the windshield was drowning out the music on the radio. My windshield wipers were of no use clearing the glass. The condensation on the inside of the windows made it hard to see anything. Normally in heavy rain I look for the white stripes on the roadway, but they were invisible to me. When I reached an underpass, I noticed several vehicles pulled over to the side of the road waiting out the storm. I wanted to join them, but every time I thought about it I could hear my dearly loved elderly aunt saying, “Baby, you don’t know how long the storm is going to be there. If you keep on driving eventually you’re going to come out of this storm.” It was something she had told me years ago when I questioned her about pulling over during rainstorms. It was a philosophy I adopted in my life along the way.
It is not limited to just when I’m driving in a rainstorm, but it applies when I’m going through one of my life storms. Believe me I’ve had plenty of opportunity to pull over and wait it out. I know if I had done that, I would not be where I am now. I’m not going to tell you that it wouldn’t be hard to keep going, because it often is hard. It is often scary and sometimes you have to slow down to a crawl. Just like you do when you are driving, you have to hold on tight to your steering wheel. In life your steering wheel will be whatever you believe to be your Higher Spirit or Being. For me it is always going to be God. You know those bumper stickers that say, “Jesus is my Co-Pilot.” That’s not true for me. You see, Jesus is my Pilot. I let him take complete control, especially during my life storms. I place all my trust in Him and God.
When I was twenty-six years old I went to work one day on top of the world. I had a great job prosecuting those charged with crimes and I was very good at it. I had built up a great reputation in the courthouse. At that time in the early 80’s there were not a lot of black attorneys in the State Attorney Office in Miami. And I had the nerve to wear a nose ring. That evening I returned home not knowing if I would continue to have a job. I didn’t know if I would face criminal charges. I was scared. I didn’t have a savings account or any other source of money. All I had was God. After I was the headline of the local section of the Miami Herald, things got worse. My job was gone and just about all of my money. I couldn’t let my family know what happened. All I could do was wake up every morning and keeping putting one foot in front of the other.
One day a friend told me about a sign he had seen in a storefront legal clinic saying they were looking for an attorney for the office. I went by and got the job. Eventually, I started working for another criminal defense lawyer and I was beginning to see my way out of the storm. I still had to go through some minor squalls but things got better. The whole time I held on tight to my trust in God. I wasn’t as active in the church as I should have been, but I knew who was able to keep me in it all. That is when I developed a special affinity for the poem “Footprints.” I believe God was carrying me some of the time.
It was because of my ability to safely maneuver through the past storms in my life that I was able and confident that I would be successful in getting through when I awakened from brain surgery and was totally paralyzed on my left side. When God has brought you through storm after storm, after storm, you have to know and trust that He will bring you through this latest one. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Think about it. When David took on Goliath, he had already successfully slayed the lion and the bear. He was ready and equipped to slay the giant.
Your previous storms have equipped you to withstand the winds and rains of the current storm. You just have to trust in the past experiences and believe if He kept you through those He will keep you through this one too. People wondered how I could be so at peace laying in that hospital bed. See they didn’t know what I knew. I knew it was not the end of my story. I knew that God had more for me to do and to do it I had to be up and walking and typing. I never doubted my recovery. I worked hard at it with confidence until it was achieved just three short weeks after starting rehabilitation therapy. I had to learn to walk, write, drive and even dress myself again. It is amazing how much we take for granted every day.
So what do you do when you encounter a storm while driving or in your life? Do you grip the steering wheel a little tighter and keep inching forward? Or will we find you on the side of the road wondering when it’s going to stop so you can move on? Remember standing still in a storm just gets more rain dumped on you. Driving and moving forward will eventually get you out of the storm. My advice my friend, continue driving through the storms. Sunshine is waiting on the other side.
V. Lynn Whitfield is available for workshops, seminars and keynote speaker based on her book The Party’s Not Over Until God Says So. She is also the author of 101 Black Pearls Of Wisdom and is a contributor to Baby Boomers – Life After Fifty. Contact Lynn at: firstname.lastname@example.org or (561) 856=6757