My Faith Chronicles

Dear, Son Son;

I don’t know if you need coffee this morning, or not. But, I know I need mine. And, I’d sure love it if you would at least sit with me, and have a donut or something, while I pick yo’ brain about this here issue!

I am knowledgeable person; know a lil bit of something about everything on both sides of the street. This is not a humble brag. It’s just the truth. But, I have a serious issue with having to take on the task of teaching a man how to be a man!

I’m sorry that I’m not sorry. But, some of these men are out here taking the scriptural “leave and cleave” way too doggone literal for me.

Maybe I’ve waited too late. Maybe the fact that I’ve raised a son is clashing with my search for so called real man. I don’t know. But, if I have to cook for. Do your laundry, AND tell you not to be disrespectful to your boss, then I start to see you just a lil bit differently.

Like they say: “Two out of three ain’t bad”.

But, that third one, see, it jabs at me.

I mean, raise your hand if you believe that a man who is ready to be a husband and a provider, ready to be the head of a stable household, should already be equipped with the mind that he has to respect the hand that feeds his family…👀 Don’t worry. I’ll wait.

*Sips coffee, and waits for answer*

While you think about it, let me tell you how I respond to a disrespectful to whomever kinda man:

😒😒

“Son, Son, listen” is how I’m going to respond to that every time! If I’m on a date with a guy and his boss calls him, and the guy is being nasty with his boss, and cross, and rude, I am immediately turned off and mentally out of the door.

“You still need raising Son, Son! My son is grown. And, I know you think you are, too. So, I know the last thing you wanna hear from me is that if you are that disrespectful to your authority here on Earth, and the Bible teaches you not to be, then how are you going to keep me led to the authority of Christ? How are you expecting for me to follow your authority?”

That’s my knee jerk response when I witness certain behaviors. And, I really don’t know whether I’m right, or wrong. But, it’s how I feel.

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh” can be found in Genesis 2:24. And, I agree with it, 100%. The problem is that I believe that before one cleaves to a wife, he should be first ready to be a husband.

My momma and daddy had begun training me for wifely duties before I was even eight years old.

“Learn how to act like you got some sense. Someday, you gone marry and all that mouth gone get you in trouble. At least you gone leave here knowing how to take care of home” Momma would say as she sat next to me with a watchful eye, making sure I folded up the whites as close to perfect as possible. My young life was intense and demanding, while my brothers were working and playing football.

And, my daddy was the type of man that didn’t even have to be told that there was no milk in the house. He analyzed; he surveyed. He always came in with what was needed.

So, you see my dilemma, don’t you? I’m thinking that men are just sent out into the world and told to provide but not in every way that matters. To me, provision is more than a financial thing. It is emotional, and psychological, and spiritual, and sure. I need a man who can provide answers, not necessarily to me, but to himself. I need you to mostly know what to do. You need me to know EVERYTHING? You ain’t ready!

It’s not judgment. That comes with a gavel, and condemnation. It is discernment; knowing what a thing should be, and seeing what it is, or what it’s not. And from what I can tell, there are more men who are not ready, but pretending to be, than there are men who are actually ready to the point of seeking out how to be a good, lasting, effective, loving, and sensitive husband. I keep having to hand out reminders, and say “No, don’t do that”, or asking questions like “Now, is that really the best way to handle that?”, sounding like a brother’s mother. I have to guide you like a mother!

And, that bothers me. You know?

So, I’m gonna pray on it, Son Son; see which way the Lord leads me. Maybe He’s leading me to walk alone.

Until our next cup;

Jae Marie

Let’s Talk About These Chil’ren, Ok?

“I’m curious to know how much Faith was talked about, or exhibited, in some of these homes”

Good morning all my Christian Realists out there! Hey, Y’all! Haaay! If you’ve got your coffee, and you’re in a safe, and comfortable space, tell me: What kind of mess have we instilled in the minds of Generation Y?

Between the overwhelming amount of school shootings over the last few weeks, and some of the social media posts that I have read, or scrolled past, I am noticing a lot of behaviors amongst teens, and young adults that are not only disturbing, but a lot of it borders on psychotic as well.

Kids are setting themselves on fire for “Likes”! That is not normal. Anybody who wants to hurt themselves for fun is psychotic to me! They are saying things to each other with intent to hurt and embarrass. Intent! They are bragging on social media about “wiping dirty pads/tampons” on somebody’s book bag, and poisoning their personal products to make them leave the dorm room because of no other reason than skin color. That is evil! And, we are giving them all the attention they could ever ask for with nothing more than the click of a computer mouse.

The lens through which these kids are viewing the world is blurred, at best. They think it’s ok to do the dumb stuff they do. It will bring them fame, and possibly fortune, if only they can get enough people to watch them act a fool. And, infamy is just as profitable as fame. So, these kids have a mindset that leaves them inclined to do either bad, or good, and people will remember you.

And, who doesn’t want to be remembered?

When I was a teenager, sure, you’d see people making fun of folks in church. They’d point, and laugh at what people where wearing; tap each other on the leg if someone got caught sleeping. And, if the spirit of the Lord fell on the congregation, little silly teens would get other kids laughing at somebody’s Holy dance, up to, and including, a full imitation of what they saw. And, school bullies have always been a thing. If they could get the whole bus laughing at your clothes, or your shoes, or your hair, or even your face, then they would be deemed the most popular person in school.

Now, it’s broadcasted live. And, we share it, acting all fake offended while laughing our butts off!

And, what about us? Aren’t we supposed to be the examples? Are we not supposed to be the light that guides them in the right direction? Well, what happened?

Unlike a lot of people, I cannot blame it solely on the millennials. Some of them are doing what they’ve seen. Some of them are so spoiled, so used to having things their way, that they will say and do anything to keep it that way. And, some of them have been raised by parents that believe money, power, and respect are the end-all-beat-all’s, and that all three are worth living, killing, and dying for.

These kid’s have been left to be their own person, and to figure it out for themselves, and they do not know how to handle it. Parents don’t want to be the bad guys; want to give these babies their privacy. And, we are giving them millions of views so we are not much better.

You better getter over that way of thinking so you can save these kids!

Your child needs guidance! Either you can guide them, or the world will!

I am speaking from personal experience here. It’s hard out there for an adolescent mind. The pressure to be apart of the herd is real. And, when you’re young, fitting in is everything. And, that is all an adolescent mind knows!

You need to know how your child’s mind works. You need to ask questions. You need to tell them about the time that you felt like an outcast; you weren’t always together. These kid’s need to know that life is not all getting lit, and having fun; all sugar plums, and chocolate fountains. This world is hard, and crazy, and rude. But, it is our choice to be good, or evil that makes all the difference.

I’m curious to know how much Faith was talked about, or exhibited, in some of these homes. I admit, I am completely biased because I was brought up in Faith; in the church. And, I’ve been through some things that quite frankly should’ve sent me to the Looney Bin. But, I’ve never wanted to hurt me, or anyone else.

Is that because of the way that I was raised? I’d like to believe so, yes! Even if I wanted an arsenal of guns in my bedroom, I had a momma that was going to intrude whether I wanted her to or not. That was her house. Not mine! And, I had a daddy that was going to plead the blood of Jesus with so much assuredness that whatever wrong you were thinking about would become a vest of guilt, and shame, a vest that you wore, albeit invisible to onlookers.

And, that same vest keeps me from viewing, or sharing some of the mess I see on social media, too. I refuse to glorify bull malarkey, in any way. I refuse to let evil think it’s good. What message does that send to these babies?

I just do not get it. And, I’m so concerned about these young people. I don’t want to hear about another group of babies gunned down while trying to get their lesson in school. I don’t want any more kids overdosing on “lean”, or bath salts, or synthetic heroins, just because they don’t understand that everybody just does not fit in with everybody. And, that’s ok, possibly a good thing in the long run. I want them to know that there is another way. Faith in God works!

What do you want?

Until our next cup;

Jae Marie

When You’re Messing Over You, I Can’t Take It!

“You need a big sister that will keep it all the way real with you”

Your greatest disservice is to yourself! I know team “Holier Than Thou” won’t get this one. But, for those of you who want to understand, grab your coffee mugs, let’s sit on the floor, and cross our legs Native American style, and talk about this thing!

Why do you keep offering help to people who don’t think you’re good enough to serve them?

Why do you hold fast to loyalties that have NEVER been reciprocated?

Why do you keep company with people who are even more negative, more condescending, more cynical, than you can be, yourself?

When are you going to stop reaching out to people who don’t care enough to reach back?

I mean, aren’t you tired of stretching out, and grabbing nothing yet?

Baby, sip on that coffee, and let me tell you something ’cause you need a big sister that’ll keep it all the way real with you.

None of it will change until you do.

If you keep selling yourself short, if you stay open to the bull excrement, if you keep putting yourself in the position to be treated like a doormat, then guess what? That is what it is going to be. People are going to devalue EVERYTHING about you until you SHOW them a NON-DISCOUNTED you!

In order to fully step into your calling, you have to have enough faith to stand up for yourself.

First off, stop extending help to people that you know are going to turn it down! Your work should speak for itself. And, if you’re doing your job, so will your reputation. When you do your thing to the glory and honor of God, what’s for you is going to come. Look for those who initially rejected you to come look for you in the long run. You feel me?

Second? You don’t owe anybody anything unless it’s God, your momma, or your family. If you notice that people in your camp don’t ride for you as hard as you are riding for them, then you’re in the wrong camp. And, it’s as simple as that. Learn how to ride by yourself and for yourself! Maybe that’s what’s needed to get you to the next level. Dead weight is heavy!

And, why in God’s name are you so narcissistic that the person you chose as a best friend just happens to be just like you? All they do is reinforce YOUR bad behavior. What are you going to learn from you that you don’t already know? That’s insane. Branch out, and get over yourself. Real talk.

And, if you are constantly reaching out to try and connect with someone and they are not reaching back, I get it; I’ve been there. That’s why I can tell you to pull back ya arm! You ain’t doing a thing besides posing as tree branch, and giving yourself this narrative that makes you believe that you are not worth it. Stop it! Some things you can’t fix. Accept that. Put it in the hands of the Father and be about your business!

We all go through stuff like this. Our nerves get wrecked by so much stuff that we could change ourselves if we would just readjust our way of thinking about our faith.

Faith does require you to take ALL the mess. Faith is more like a column that you lean against, or hold onto, while you’re IN the mess!

Ya dig?

Until our next cup;

Jae Marie

The Detriment of Faith

Faith can be detrimental to a weakened state of mind

“Hold up! What’d she say?”

You heard me correctly. “The DETRIMENT of Faith”.

For Mr. and Mrs I’m So Holy I Can’t Read On From Here, I get it. This blog may not be for you. But to those who are interested, grab a cup of coffee, sit in your favorite easy chair, and let me explain where I’m coming from.

The thought started during an academic discussion about the movie “Black Panther”; the politics, and symbolism that are shared within it’s content.

I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen it because the movie is fabulous on every level. But, I will tell you this. I was asked a question:

“Why would they(The fictional Wakandans) leave themselves in a position to have everything taken from them just like the real Africans did centuries before?

My answer? “Faith”. And, I wasn’t speaking on the “God’s got it” kinda faith. I’m talking about the kind of faith that a good hearted person has in other people; the misguided notion that if you do right, you’ll get done right in return.

I sat there, my friend and I sipping on our coffees, and I broke it down for him, the way I see it, from my point of view.

“It’s the detriment of faith” I told him.

“What do you mean? Donovan said, his dark eyes wide, and confused, his tongue cleaning coffee from the right side corner of his dark full mouth.

“It’s a never-ending cycle” I told him, speaking to him with absolution before taking another sip from my pink porcelain coffee mug.

“We do the right thing. We expect right in return. We have faith that a thing is going to work in our favor. And, when it doesn’t, we have faith that God is going to make it alright again. And sometimes, it’s to our own detriment. It creates a narrative that can keep us forever on the losing end. It just does. But, that’s the essence of it, right? Isn’t that what faith is?” I asked him.

Donovan didn’t really know how to answer. Puzzlement was anchored to his brown bearded face.

“Well, that bothers me” he said, looking at me like I had truly destroyed his world.

“It bothers me, too” I told him, my right hand extended, offering him one of my soft cookie bars to try and put him at ease, “We’re human. It’s supposed to bother us is some ways. But, that’s where choices come in. We have the choice to do right, to share, to be open to other people, other races, other cultures. But, with those choices, we give the same choices to others, and that leaves us open to getting hurt.”

My living room got quiet. All I could hear for what felt like minutes was Donovan taking longer, and longer sips of coffee, and an occasional sucking of his teeth. I started stirring at my coffee, the spoon ringing out against the cup, another added annoyance.

“I’ve never thought of it that way” Don said, finally breaking the semi-silence of the room.

I adjusted myself in the tan high-back dining room chair that I was sitting in. And, I leaned back into it.

“I think about it all the time. My faith waivers sometimes. I get discouraged. Things are not always perfect. That’s not logical” I told him.

“Now”, he said with a smile, “That’s refreshing. I get tired of folks who claim to be saved acting like everything, and every day is perfect. I hate when people try to convince me that because they have faith, nothing can possibly go wrong for them.”

“Exactly” I told him. “It is just not logical to think, or behave that way. Yet, we all do it because we believe in something/someone greater than ourselves. We have faith that’s it’s done! So, if that is the essence of faith, if that’s how the faithful believe, why do the words “detriment” and “faith” seem out of context to you?”

Donovan asked for a raincheck on our conversation, and left my house on his way to work. I kept on thinking, and loving every sip of my dark roast coffee.

It’s not that far-fetched. I thought. Faith is repetitive, if nothing else. No matter what: FAITH. Get robbed? FAITH. Get cheated: FAITH. Abused? FAITH. Need renewed faith: MORE FAITH

Faith can be extremely detrimental to a weakend state of mind. And, that’s just real. It’s not easy.

Watching “Black Panther” had opened up a dialogue between Donovan and I that centered around the idea of faith in God, and humanity, and the greater good. And, being faced with the idea that having faith in anything/anyone, will always have it’s consequences, Donovan, a very intelligent young man, found himself at a loss for words.

Now, I’m left wondering : Do I think too much?

Until our next cup;

Jae

Jae Marie@Facebook.com

BLACK COFFEE

Coffee…when it’s black, and it’s strong, it is loved by millions. But when you’re a woman, and your black, and you’re strong, well, there’s a special kinda chaos that comes with that.

EVERYDAY SHENANIGANS

Let’s say some idiot cashier with a chip on his shoulder wants your day to be as bad as his when you go to your local Speedway/SuperAmerica to pay for your gas? Say this “jerk” throws back your change as he stands there, spitting out his chaw into a styrofoam cup, like seeing spit is the best you deserve, and he does it all without ever looking you in your face?

I know a whole lot of people that would encounter that type of behavior, promptly curse dude out, and call the young man a whole suitcase full of racists. But, when you’re a strong, black woman for real, more often than not, the first reaction would be to smile at the ridiculousness of it.

Personally, I am so strong with it that a sudden refusal to let such an idiot see me break would just wrap itself around me like a cape, a virtual Wonder Woman, and I’d ask him one question, with a smile: Are you having a bad day? If he is in fact a racist, then like a strong cup of coffee, I’ve charged him up. But, if he’s just ignorant, and doesn’t know any better, he’ll probably respond positively, a question with a smile, maybe: “Nah, why you say that?”

Strength can move mountains, or it can be so heavy handed that it tears up everything. You feel me?

PAIN NOT PAIN

Perception…people who don’t know coffee can look at it in a cup, see it’s blackness there, and automatically assume it’s too strong. But, a person who has a true relationship with the black nectar knows that even black, coffee, depending on how it is made, can be as weak as water.

I was made strong. On the surface, that’s what you’d see. I’ve been ground up a certain way; been through some processing that a lot of folk couldn’t have held up through. So, there’s a certain bitterness there, but not so much bitter taste that there’s a turn-off to my flavor; black, strong.

No matter what’s going on around me, those words are everything that I am: Black. Strong.

To a daggone fault!

When I’m in pain, you ain’t gone know it.

When I’m hurting, you know, inside? When my heart is begging for comfort, I’m not gonna let anybody see that. I’ll cry at home, just me, Jesus, and box of tissues, sitting dead center of my bed, wondering “Has the world gone mad?”

And, in the process of getting ground up, I developed an understanding of what it feels like to have to go through the grinder. Like, I feel for people. Trouble in your way is not a joke. Nothing/Nobody asks for that grinder! So, because I look so strong, and people get sorta lost in the surface strength, they’re often surprised by my sweetness. I am a surprise, and I love that!

Coffee is lucky. No matter how strong that coffee looks, it’s not strong enough to make itself feel. And, I’m not strong enough to make myself NOT feel. I am terribly human, and I love that, too!

I am strong enough to walk into a gas station, get TOTALLY disrespected by an attendant, and understand that he may not be as strong as he looks either. And, he’s certainly not strong enough to make or break my day!

Until Our Next Cup;

Jae

And, Then Came “Black Panther”

“Your hair texture ruined all my kids’ hair!” my daddy would tell my mom, the soft, black coils of his own hair resting atop his head like a bed of feathers.

“You ought to be ashamed of how nappy your hair is!” Momma would then say to me, the way too hotness of the pressing comb tearing its way through strands of my hair, Royal Crown pressing oil dripping down, and burning my scalp.

I would sit there, and flinch, every single time, as Mom pointed out how long, luxurious, and manageable my baby sister’s hair was in comparison to mine, and it always made me feel like crap.

As I sit here this morning, my coffee sweetened just the way I like it, I recall a time where I exhibited very little “Black Pride”, and even worse, I didn’t even realize that I was doing it.

By the time I was eighteen years old, I was already wearing wigs, and weave, and getting extensive sew-ins, because I was lead to believe that black hair, my kind of black, was something that I should be ashamed of. The hairstyles that I couldn’t afford I learned to do myself because I wanted to be accepted; look beautiful.

The irony of it all is that the same people who helped me develop the insecurities, were the most unhappy with my new found attitude once I started altering the look, and feel of my hair.

Talk about being confused.

I went on like this for what seemed like forever, judging myself in comparison to everybody else. But, with age comes wisdom. And, the more I educated myself on my culture, the more of me I found. And, over the years, I have been coming out of my shell, so to speak, when it comes to my blackness, and loving who I am, the way that I am. And, it hasn’t been easy for me. I love a good wig!

And, then came “Black Panther”.

I have been sitting in anticipation of this movie for months, partly because I am a fan of Marvel Comics, and Stan Lee, mostly because I saw the cast and realized that part of me was going to be up on the ‘big screen’.

You see, it’s one thing to talk about “black pride”, another to see, and feel it, happening right before your eyes. I haven’t even made it to the theatre yet, and all the posts on Instagram and Facebook have me more than overwhelmed.

It is one thing to see the Bantu knots on, and African garb used as costumes to make the film more believable, quite another to see black folk showing up, dressed as royalty, drizzled in cultural pride, to go out and support what the film stands for.

I saw the images that have so many joking about “our people” coming out doing their thing for “Black Panther”; the “Coming To America” jokes. But, it was no joking matter to me.

I was so filled with Black Pride that I started crying, and couldn’t stop. I didn’t see a reason for joking. I saw a cause for celebration.

“How many of them felt shameful, and displaced by their blackness like I did?” I thought to myself. “How many of them have tried to fit into a world that says that everything, from their nappy hair, to their flamboyance, to their skin color, is the wrong thing to exhibit in a land developed on white supremacy? A land where parents have been so trained against blackness that they train their children up to believe themselves that they are wrong?

I couldn’t believe that the joker’s didn’t understand it the way that I did; couldn’t believe that every black person everywhere wasn’t dripping, and snotting with tears at the sight of all the black pride in those pictures.

But, they haven’t gotten there yet. And, that’s ok. Every person comes to Faith and Pride in their own time, I guess. Still, I wish I could wave a magic wand and make them see it the way that I do, feel it deep down in the soul the way that I do.

It is wonderful to anticipate seeing people who look like me, people who look like the people I came from, grace the big screen in such a powerful way. Finally, we have a movie that depicts black superheroes, rather than slaves. And I, for one, am ecstatic!

Black coffee, no sugar, no cream. Doesn’t always taste good. But, it will wake you all the way up!

Until our next cup;

Jae

To Whom It May Concern;

We met.

We met. And, over a hot cup of coffee, you told me how beautiful you think I am; how worth it.

You sat there, your brown face as innocent as three year old child, and you talked about how spiritual you are; how devoted.

All of this, over a cup of coffee.

You spoke of Jesus, and tribes, and Hebrews, so articulately that it almost distracted me from the chaos in your eyes. Almost.

I wanted to believe on every word that you said; wanted to have faith.

But Experience… She is a cruel teacher; a horrible mistress. And, my faith in her, kept me from having faith in you. And so, I waited. And, I watched. And, I listened. And, I learned.

All of this over a cup of coffee.

Time passed.

Time passed, and I got to know you a little better.

White teeth through a caramel smile, you just kept telling me how beautiful you think I am, a ploy to keep my attention. And, you smiled so much, I thought it wicked.

“Devils are spirits, too” they say.

And, a devil holding a Bible is still a devil.

So, when you started to treat me with ugliness, there was no surprise.

And, I hated that.

I hated that the knowledge I had of good, gave me knowledge of the presence of evil; that my devotion to God shined a light on your devotion to the perils, and the evils, of this world.

All of this over a cup of coffee.

Your pettiness, and your hate for your fellow man, it helped me.

It made me grateful that I don’t feel the way that you feel about the world. And, your ugly treatment of me forced me to look into the mirror and find the beauty in myself. The more you talked about hate, the more I sought out the truth about love. The more you spoke about differences, the more similarities I found in every man, and woman.

I wanted to have faith in you, I did. But, Experience wouldn’t let me. She kept pointing me towards what I knew of God; what I knew of prayer. She reminded me that her sister, Faith, is bigger than spoken words, and past hurts. She is a juggernaut!

And, I was moved by that. I was so moved that I tried to introduce you to them both. But, your blind devotion to the spirits that you inhabit wouldn’t allow you to step outside of your comfort zone. They kept you angry: angry at injustices that you’ve never even encountered. They transported you by ship in your mind, every day a slave brought over icy waters, to new land. And, you were reluctant to meet them. You were fine with not knowing either one. But, I needed them both. So, I left you there, stuck in past relationships, angry at what was.

We met. And, I realized that with Faith, I am strong; I am free. And for that, I thank you!

All of this over a cup of coffee.

Until our next cup;

Jae