My Faith Chronicles

Conflicted Much

This country, and its beliefs, are split right down the middle. Half of the country views the police, those who have vowed to serve, and protect our communities, as nothing more than socially sanctioned murderers. Others, believe they are simply doing their jobs.

And, if that’s not enough, half of the country believes that the color of a persons skin makes them more, or less, socially acceptable than others, while the other half believes it’s best to simply look the other way.

*sips coffee*

For me, it’s all so conflicting.

On July 4th, 1976, I remember sitting on the front porch of our family home in Dayton, Ohio, waving sparklers, and tiny American flags, paying homage to the freedoms, and liberties of this country.

“The Spirit of ’76” was the slogan I remember that season. I remember how proud I was to be an American; the importance of being proud. I remember the parades, and the fireworks, and what seeing them made me feel like. And, I remember how all the little kids in the neighborhood would come out dressed, and decorated, in various shades of red, white, and blue.

I loved it!

I thought I would always feel that way. There was no place like the USA. And, I could tell by the way the sky lit up with bursts of light, the BOOM BOOM BOOM of fireworks from street to street, neighborhood to neighborhood, everybody else felt the same way.

I never thought I’d see the country, this country, showing out the way it is now.

*another sip, please?*

I’m not ashamed to admit, I’ve had run ins with the police. A couple of times, I complied with their orders, and short of my own guilt, and anger, everything went over smoothly.

One time though, I was as innocent as a newborn lamb, and they decided to take me to jail anyway, based solely on the fact that I was the one who had any sort of criminal history.

In the back of that police cruiser, I kicked, and screamed, and I cursed the day. The more I writhed around, the tighter the cuffs got. And, that only made me act uglier.

When the officer pulled over the car, I wasn’t even smart enough to get scared. No, I wasn’t drunk, or high off my behind. I was pissed.

But, that officer was not a monster; not to me. He reached down in my purse(he had seen me put my Newport’s in there earlier), told me it was going to be okay while putting one of my squares between my lips, lighting it, and gently saying “Calm down.”

On the flip side, watching the police freely kill on camera, and literally getting away with what I view as murder, it makes me wonder how close I was to death by cop myself, and it makes me extremely grateful that I got away with my life.

Now, on the flip side of that, I cannot help but to think about the face of the entire country right now. No matter which side we sat on, whether democratic, or republican, this country has always given the appearance of class. We were the country to pattern yourselves after; the melting pot of the world.

Our First Ladies looked like they took High Tea, and smelled of Esteé Lauder. On cue, they smiled, and they waved, giving every little girl in the world something besides fairy tales to aspire to.

Actress/Model Vanessa Williams was stripped of her Miss America crown back in the ’80’s because nude photos came to light. No way did our America want to be viewed in that light. Now, we have a First Lady whose nudity is everywhere, and the country is perfectly fine with it?

Really? *sips coffee

Did the thought of the smell of Cocoa Butter being in the White House flip this country on it’s head?

Was having a POTUS with black skin really so bad that it pressured this country into turning away from everything it taught me to believe in?

I have to say, I have a problem with that. And, I don’t know how to feel.

What I do know is this: I am not built for hate. And, I struggle with feeling the same pride that I felt as a child. I want to love, and respect this country that drilled into my head, and my heart that “united we stand, and divided we fall.” The problem is, all I see is our division, and nobody with the feeling of dizziness; sick at the thought of falling.

Until our next cup;

Jae

Taking The Wrong Prong at the Fork In The Road

     Okay, Preachers, and Pastor’s, Prophets, and Prophetesses, I am gonna need some advice on this one.

     I can almost hear your collective advised counsel in my head right now.

     “You’ve got to forgive, seventy times seventy”

     “The battle is not yours, it‘s the Lord’s”

     Resist the devil and he’ll flee”

     “Be ye transformed by the renewing of YOUR mind.”

     “I went to do good, and evil was ever present.”

     And, the Word of God is something that I believe in, and respect. It is. 

     But, sitting here with my cup of coffee, and going over the incidents of the last couple of days, my heart is filled with anguish; I am teed off!

     Tell me, oh Sage’s of God’s Word, how to handle a situation where you’re doing all you can to do right, you’re trusting in the Word, you’re praying, and repenting daily, and someone gets to talking up under your clothes(for you young bucks, that’s when someone makes a derogatory remark about what’s going on in your private areas), calling you horrible, nasty, unheard of things, that would make even the most sexualized person stop, become shocked, and turn red?

     What do you do then?

      Ok, you sip on your coffee, while I put what I’m saying into context.  And, we’ll see where your opinions fall then.

     First, let’s start with the fact that whatever I do for someone else, is always done with my heart.  I don’t have much.  But, what I do have, I don’t mind giving. I feel like that’s what God expects of me; it’s what I’m supposed to do.

     Next, imagine going to do something to help one of God’s folks, one of the saints of the church, and they have another family member present who ain’t stud’n having a God on their side.

    You go on into their dwelling, after being invited in by the homeowner, and you begin to do what thus said the Lord: “Do unto others as you would HAVE THEM do unto you.” See, we all have to get old one day, we will all have some form of impairment, if we are blessed enough to live long enough to have to go through it.

     So, in spite of the fact that you know evil may be present, you go to help because, after all, “NO WEAPON”, right?

     Now, if you will, imagine hearing, out of nowhere I might add, a man saying “all you do is whore around! You wouldn’t be so tired and drained if you weren’t such a whore!” 

     Yes, clutch your pearls, and gasp! “Why, I neva!”

     They whisper it, though, because God forbid somebody sees them for who they really are: Fake, phony, and full of evil forces.

     And, as they are saying it, they are waving a crutch, or a stick in your face, posing a physical threat to you as well.

     Now, what if it wasn’t the first time? What if, as a woman, some jerky devil approached you with this kind of madness?  What if it was said, and done, to your wife, or daughter?

     Can you truly say that your first response would definitely be a Holy response?

     Because my response, even though I never said a curse word(progress), was not what I was raised to believe that “Holy” is. I went verbally off!

     It all, I think, depends on who you are, and what you’ve been through.

     Listen, the things that I’ve been through make me leery of, and in tune to, an abusive spirit. Like, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up when I’m close to a person who carries it.  And, in the back of my mind, I stand ready to correct their bad behaviors, because I have this thing in me that says “if I don’t check them, they are going to hurt me!” And, I don’t want to go through any abusive situation ever again in my life.

 So, there I stood, in full “The Color Purple” mode, screaming the words “Until you do right by your mother, everything you even THANK about gone crumble!”

     Whaaaa?? “Pull back! Chill out!” I tried to reel the old me back in. She wasn’t listening. She was tired of the mess!

     And, before I knew it, the screaming had nothing to do with me being called a whore,  because this man does not know me. He’s never been to my house, seen me outside of his mother’s home. So I realized, I couldn’t possibly care any less about what this man thinks of me. But, I care very much about how he treats that old lady. So, he opened Pandora’s box, and I dug in it, and I dug in it, praying to get to “Hope”.

     Hope was lost for that moment though. I had shown out, scared the bejeezus out of the woman I had come to help, and now I had to leave, taking all the blame.

    Blaming myself, hurt in my heart from just trying to do right, worrying that God has forgiven me a thousand times over, and this time He may not: what I felt was overwhelming.

     It still is!

     This time, as opposed to any other, one variable changed.

     God had someone call me, and after I explained to him the circumstance, he apologized for the guy, told me to pray, and let it go. This time, I wasn’t standing out on a weakened branch alone. Someone was there to take my hand, and pull me back, where I could stand, sure-footed. And, I am so grateful.

     But, for me, in all my PTSD-ness, and my shell-shocked-don’t-make-any-sudden-moves-or-noises-around-me-ness, this could be a recurring issue.  And, that just makes me ill to even think about.

     So, tell me, please, what would you do with an issue like that? Because, while leaning on the Word of God, and praying without ceasing, is what is drilled into some of us from early childhood, we are left with the thought that our humanity, our feelings, our hearts, and our minds, don’t have any real place in the body of Christ. 

     And, I refuse to believe that. It all matters.

     Until our next cup;

     J

     

     

On The Idea of Soul Food

     In 1977, I sat at the oval shaped wooden table that sat dead center of our family kitchen, and I watched my mother prepare her church famous potato salad. 

     It was an early Sunday morning, somewhere around six a.m.  Momma was sipping on a cup of decaf(which could interfere with the classic taste of the recipe), so she had commissioned me to be her personal taster. 

     “Taste this.  I need to know that there’s not too much mustard.” She told me.

     I was never one to do anything without questions, and understanding. So, while leaning in to nibble off of the plastic fork that she had gotten from her stash underneath the bar area that she used for storage, I asked her “Why?”

     “Too much mustard, and it’ll be too salty” she said with a roll of her eyes.

     I took a taste, and it just seemed to melt against the warmth of my ten year old tongue.

     “Eeeeyumm!” I said, my eyes no doubt rolling in the back of my head from sheer pleasure.

     It was perfection, I tell you. The creaminess, and the fluffiness, of that potato salad made me want to learn more about what she did in that kitchen. So, like a magician’s assistant, I let her try out every kitchen trick she had on me.

     Even then, I had an understanding of the importance of passing down information, and knowledge, generationally.  Back then, our parents, our elders, passed down what they knew because they understood that what they knew, was all they had, besides Jesus.  

     And, if nothing else, they wanted to make us good spouses, and have us be able to feed our families, even if what we had to feed them wasn’t very much.

“Food for the body is not enough.  There must be food for the soul”

                      -Dorothy Day

     And, they kept us in church, didn’t they? These parents of ours, children of the children of the children who were raised by slaves, passed down to us the only comfort food for the soul that they knew: The Word of God.

    “Man cannot live by bread alone” they would preach out over wooden podiums.  “But by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God!”.   And, this was a definitive declaration; something agreed upon by all.  This was part of a recipe for salvation, passed down generationally, because it was all they knew.  God was all a lot of old school parents had. So, passing down knowledge of Him was about way more than church.  It was about leaving their heirs with something more valuable to them than goods, and wares. It was about a legacy of love, and finding peace.  It was about eternal life. 

     With all this is mind, I wonder why we are so quick to get in the kitchen and recreate grandma’s recipe for peach cobbler, taking every measure to recreate it perfectly, yet we mock, and downplay grandma’s recipe for holiness, and success in the church.

     “They were too tough!” I hear people say.  “Oh, it don’t take all that! Those old saints were trippin'” some of us declare. Yet, looking back to those old saints, they were far better structured, much more prepared, and way less likely to jump in front of a crowd of people declaring themselves as prophets, or psalmists, or gods. They added humility to the recipe of salvation because their cookbook(The Holy Bible) told them to.  

    And now, in 2017, you want the ones to whom this recipe was passed down to leave out ingredients, or add something inorganic to a recipe that’s worked for years? Does that sound logical to you?

     The recipe is the point. It is a connection to everyone that came before you.  It pays homage to the struggle of being without, the idea of coming together, and the necessity of being able to follow simple instruction in a world without structure. The recipe is important.

     And, if my mom had have left out one ingredient in her potato salad, it wouldn’t have been the same. It would’ve been edible. But, it wouldn’t have been perfection on that plastic fork in 1977.  If she had been careless in her preparation, I wouldn’t be a boss in that kitchen right now. I can appreciate that. 

     We live in a culture today where everybody who thinks they have obtained a lil knowledge wants to take that lil bit of knowledge, and bash in the church.  And, it’s ridiculous.

     We forget what they had to endure just to give us hope for the future.  We judge them, and talk about them without the understanding that the church, and God’s Word, was all they really had.  Without it, they would have failed. 

     We bash the church for not standing up against political issues, for not coming out to march, and walk, and scream at police, and lawmakers, about issues in the black community, without realizing that they were never taught to.  It wasn’t a part of the recipe.  The recipe called for prayer, and supplication.  That’s what they knew.  And, that is what they passed down.  

     Learn to appreciate the meal for what is.  You want to tweak the recipe in your own house, have at it.  But don’t bash the church. The recipes that they left us, to them, were invaluable; it was their golden goose, a key to Heaven.  And, they thought you were worth it. They thought you would appreciate it someday.  Don’t prove them wrong.

     Until our next cup;

     JFaye

“With My Hands Lifted Up”

     Coffee, and praise, this morning: that’s what I have to offer.

     As I sit at​ home, the briskness from the air conditioning prickling my skin, I am so thankful that the little things still warm my heart.

     First, let me tell you that I struggled at the thought of giving you this testimony,  because it will reveal to you a few more of my many imperfections.  But, the gratitude that I feel behind this testimony makes it that much more necessary for me to share it.

     MY CHILDREN…

     As I sipped on my first cup this morning, I started thinking about how God spared the life of my first born a few weeks ago, as she had gotten into a horrific traffic accident. My hands went up in praise, you know? I love that child. She’s my firstborn. I grew up with her, you feel me?

     Then, I started thinking about how when I was carrying her, I was getting the snot knocked out of me by her father.   And how, on so many nights, I prayed that the Lord just get her here; let her be born, safely and healthily. And, He did!

     I didn’t deserve His grace! And, since the “sins of the father fall”, I, at the time, was scared that my baby didn’t deserve His grace either. But, God spared her! And, when that hit me mid-sip, my hands went up to the Lord, again.

     ” HALLELUJAH! THINE THE GLORY!!”

     I had to set down my cup of Joe, I’m telling you! Sometimes, you don’t even see a praise coming.  It’s like, you have those moments, you know? Where, you don’t have a particular praise, maybe your mind, and your spirituality, is in a drought like state, and BOOM!! Out of nowhere comes a reason!

     Back then, I wasn’t giving up any praise for the blows that were coming at my face.  I sang the songs of Zion because they made me feel better.  And, I said “Thank you, Jesus” because I was taught to. But, I wasn’t praising back then the way I do today.

     So, I make a second cup because the house is so cool that the first one that I had to set down earlier, by this time, had gotten, like, super cold, right?

     And, I’m trying to recover from the praise, I am! I’m trying to just go on with my morning, but I was hit with another thought.

     “You have been abused so badly that you will NEVER have another baby!”

     When the specialist at Miami Valley Hospital told me that, I said “the devil is a lie!”

     “HALLELUJAH, AMEN!”

      You see, I wasn’t living right.  But, I had faith! And, if I may get real ghetto right here, let me tell you “wasn’t no doctor gone tell me what my God could, or couldn’t do!”

     And, I believed it, y’all! Just like that! 

     So, while I was trying to go on with my morning, and get that second cup, of rich, brown coffee, and it hit me that after that, I got two more children, not one, but two more, my hands went up again!

     I had to make sure I didn’t drop that coffee pot; make sure I didn’t burn myself.  But, I had to praise!

     I wasn’t living right, not according to the coarse, strict, do-rightness of the devout. But, because of my faith in Him, He blessed me. I counted myself unworthy of any blessing.  But, He saw different! And then,  He had the care, and the forethought to bless my children.  And, I’m so grateful!

     Back then, I couldn’t see the why.  I couldn’t see the how, or the because.  But, I see it now.

     The little things: they mean so much.  Back then, I had a superficial praise that I couldn’t anchor anything to.  Oh, it was taught to me.  And, it was taught right.  But, I had to find a friend in Jesus for myself.

     He’s been my strength.

     He’s been loyal.

     He has gifted to me even when I didn’t deserve it.

     He was there to listen when I couldn’t drop my pride and tell anybody else.

     And, when I look at my babies today, knowing that “He didn’t HAVE to do it, but HE DID”, I just start crying, and laughing at the same time.

     Until our next cup;

     JFaye

Help! Woman Down!

One day after Memorial Day, the day we honor those who have fought for our nation’s freedoms, the day we honor fallen soldiers, and I am feeling a bit like an injured soldier myself.

Today, coffee comes with lots of memories; memories of a time when I played harder, fought harder, and I lived for ‘sunny days’.

“Rain, rain, go away! Come again another day!”

I didn’t hate the rain. I just hated to have a good rain ruin an otherwise perfect day. I knew that the rain helped our world keep an array of beautiful colors; that the rain was just as important to sustainable life as the sun. Still, at least to me, dry land was always more preferable.

Rain was never a deal breaker, tho. If it fell, and I somehow convinced my mom to allow me to go out, and play in it(Momma didn’t play about us kids dripping dirt, and mud on her always freshly mopped floors), I always made sure that every jump, every splash in the rain, counted. It was some of the most fun I’ve ever had.

Now, I am over here begging for rain!

“Rain! Hurry up, and roll through Dayton so I can get some relief from this knee pain!”

There’s no jumping; no splashing.  When your own body betrays you in the way mine has, it feels like you’re in a fight without armor.  But a good soldier fights on, sometimes to his/her own detriment.

You wanna talk about faith? Try trusting anything around you when everything around you, including your own body, seems to be working against you.

Even as I pour this second cup, standing here, trying to not put too much weight on one side, or the other, I feel as if knives are being pushed through my knee caps, while an angry construction worker sledge hammers on the sides of them.

“Lord, this pain!” I keep hollering.

But, no relief comes; no answer.

“Lawd”, I says, “How am I supposed to go see about my Momma? How am I supposed to look out for those grand babies and I’m feeling all broke down? How am I to do anything within my purpose if I don’t feel like doing  anything at all? What about my finances?”

Still, no relief. Still, no answer

But, I’m a soldier. No, I never formally enlisted in the U.S.Military.  But, my whole life was something like war. Shards of emotional shrapnel are embedded in places that a doctor cannot get to.  I’ve never left a soldier behind.  But, the same soldiers that I helped to safety, left me behind once they got there, leaving me to finish my own fight, sustained only by God, and faith.

Now, here I am, praying selfishly for the rain to come. Even if somebody out there is planning a BBQ, or a birthday party, I want God to open the heavens, and pour out rain.

A Healing Rain.

A self proclaimed soldier, a warrior, not praying for victory, or more weaponry, but rather enough strength to fight one more day. A prayer simple enough in it’s own right. But today, it’s what I need.

It’s funny how things change; our prayers change.  I never thought that I’d be willing to do battle in the midst of the storm.

“Lord, take me through this storm!”

I used to pray to Him daily for that, and He sure enough brought me through victoriously!

Now, I’m all “Send the storm, Lord!” And, it just blows my mind.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

It’s working for my good. If I can just push pass the pain, and do that for which I am called, it’s gonna work for my good.

That’s faith… “Faith without works is dead”, right?

So, rain or shine, I’ve got to fight on.  And, I’m hoping, no matter the conditions, that you continue your fight as well.

Until our next cup;

JFaye

The Games They Play

Ok, today is the day!  Today is the day where I have to satisfy my morning with but one cup of coffee.  I forgot to pick up my stash of the brown stuff.   So, before I sat down to have our conversation this morning, I took a quick trip to the Speedway/SuperAmerica  gas station to get a  24 oz. cup of theirs.  And, I’ve made sure to make it as tasty as I can possibly get it to be.

Looking down at it’s brown-ness,  I can’t help but to think about what I had to go through to get it.  It was right there, a bee line from where I live.  And, as I set out and started driving,  I saw a car all twisted up on the curb, its driver nonchalantly waiting for help.  And, rain was falling, so I got all agitated, and worried because the defog in the car is totally temperamental.  So, even though I had prayed before I got behind the wheel, I had to pray once more.

     “Lord, listen.  Please, keep this car safe, and hold back the heavy rain until I get home.  Lord, I’m out here with my leopard print head rag on. I just got out of the bed, Lord, and nobody needs to see that.   Lord now,  I know I shouldn’t have made a run looking like this.  But, please take the wheel,  and keep a sista’ safe.  I don’t need to be caught all run up on the curb looking like this right here!   In Jesus’ Holy name, Amen, and Amen.”

Then, I had to start asking myself all kinds of questions like “Why do you care who sees you?” and “Who exactly is going to be looking for you, Jan? You’re a lady of a certain age, who cares?

“I care!” I said out loud in the all-by-my-self-ness of the old Buick Century I was driving. And, when I get to thinking while driving, sometimes the thoughts come faster than the car is actually going.

Church men are on their way to the church house”  I started thinking.  “You want a Godly man.    These is street bro’s out here, this morning, on their way to the local Waffle House with whatever chick they picked up, and used up, last night.  They ain’t thinking about you!”

Yes, I went all the way there in my all aloneness.  I keep it real, and I know what’s up.  You want to judge me for knowing, that’s your business.  But over here, it is, what it is, okay?

So anyway, after I had gotten a nice tall cup of coffee, and started sipping before I had even paid for it, I started thinking about those “church men”.

When I was growing up, church men would marry.  They didn’t believe in  long periods of dating because they were taught that even holding hands in the darkness of a movie theatre could quite possibly lead to a sexual encounter.  Because, no matter how saved you are, when your feelings get ignited, when someone causes you feel, humanity has a way of taking over, and you might break a commandment.  It wasn’t a hard thing to find a husband in the church.  The single men were plentiful, and they wanted to live right.  They didn’t want to be viewed as fleshy in the eyes of the Lord.  And, they cared about what the lay members thought of them; how they saw them.

Fast forward 30 years, and look at what’s going on in 2017.

Think about the availability of the Godly, ready, willing, and able, good head on his shoulders, man.  Like the mythical Yetti, he is elusive, camouflaged into a background in which he should really stand out.  And, that thought is bothersome at the least.

I mean, he’s Godly, right? Then, why can he not be picked out from among the so called sinners, the bad boys, in the bunch? Shouldn’t the brotha stand out, a halo of righteousness over his head symbolizing his availability? Or, does he have to be searched for, the same way we search for God in everything?  I mean, we believe that man is made in the image of God, right?  Then, is it not logical to think that the search for a Godly man, the perfect man for us, may be more about faith than anything else?  Listen, he’s right there.  A beeline from where you’re standing, in a sense.   But, for some reason, you’re blinded to him.

You thought you saw him once, a good looking man, in the church no less.  He carried the Bible close to his chest like a shield, and he uttered “Praise the Lord” a lot.  He paid you so much attention that you had to ask God, and a few friends:

Is he the one?”

Then, you got to know him.  Almost everything he said to you was right; almost perfect.  Girl, he caressed your ego, and you just liked the guy.  He was all that, and some kettle corn.  And, every time he said “You are just a beautiful woman(because they think that’s all we want to hear, you know), so beautiful.  I thank God for sending me you”, girl your knees could’ve buckled.  So, you started thanking God for him, just like he said he did for you.  And, all was good.  You, at last, were sitting in the Winners Circle.

After months of talking, nothing that crossed the line, just feel good conversation with a person who seemed to understand you in ways that others didn’t, there you were, gathering your cell phone, and your Bible, your lesson books, and your shawl, and you heard that fella, right in earshot, saying the things to Sista Edith, that he always said to you.   You tried not to be shocked, but you couldn’t help but be appalled. Emotions are redundant like that. And, that’s why you were blinded in the first place. It wasn’t meant for you to see him. But, you wanted somebody.

And, you’re left, once again, feeling badly.

Your view of him changed.  Now, he’s a player.  But, you didn’t want to call him that because he’s a Godly man.  I’ve got you!  I’ll say  it!

He’s a player!  He’s got a players mentality; play in his wheel.  He doesn’t do things in a straight line; it’s a lil crooked.  It may not have been your clothes, but he sweet talked his way into gettin’ something out of you, then started trippin’, girl.  He is a player!   And, he may not even realize it.  But, more than likely, he does.  He just doesn’t think it’s wrong, because no sex was involved.   No sex, no sin, right? Wrong!  He played you, and it’s okay to acknowledge that.  In fact, it’s healthier for your spirituality if you do.

Do you realize that there are some preachers, some deacons, some lay men, and women in the church who still have play in their wheels? Like the whorish woman, they use their “wiles” to get what they want.   You have to come to terms with that.  Acknowledge that.  If you don’t, you may end up on that metaphorical curb, lookin’ all crazy in your leopard head rag; a stupid look on your face because you’ve crashed, and you should’ve seen it coming.

Todays church is not like the church of 30 years ago.  See, the women who didn’t stay around the church like good girls are now back, and they are looking for a man different from the all the guys that ran through ’em in the streets.  Yea, I said it.  And, the girls who did stay around and never married anybody because nobody in the church was good enough for their bourgeois behinds, are now desperate to get the pick of the litter.  And,  the men, although church men, they know it.

Now, these  guys may think they’re ready, and they  may be willing, but girl, for you? They ain’t ready!

I’m not saying they are not saved, or living for the Lord.  But, you have certain standards.  You know when you’re being used; when they’re blowing smoke up an unholy place.  You’ll  call ’em on their mess, and you’re supposed to.  But, they don’t want to hear that because they are not ready.

“You are just so beautiful”  he’ll tell you with the biggest smile he can pull from an arsenal of smiles.

But he’s saying it everybody, girl.    Let me tell you something.   “Anything learned cannot be unlearned.”   Almost every professor at Wright State University said that to me.  Back then, it was applicable to my education.  Today, I can apply it to life.

If you’ve spent countless years flirting with men, or  women, to get your way, to make a way for you to get things your way, picking up a Bible won’t change that.  If you’ve learned that  by whoring out your smile, and flittering your eyelashes,  you can make stuff move, then that’s what you’re going to do.  You’re a player; a manipulator.  And, the only thing that’s going to change that is the desire to be something different than that.

But, here’s what I think needs to happen.  One, I need to drive up to the gas station and get another cup of coffee.   And two, in trying to establish your faith, and keep your faith, and hold on to your sanity, you need to point out to the manipulatOR the fact that you feel manipulatED.  Stop letting people make you feel a certain way; bear a certain cross.  You’ve gone through enough.  And, you don’t need anybody playing any silly games with you.

Now, if that means that you end up by yourself, you have to make a choice.  Play the same game in the church, with church men, that you played with the street men when you didn’t know better, or want better.  Or, you can break the cycle.  Love yourself.  Get caught up in the love of Christ, and be at peace.

Until our  next cup;

JFaye

 

 

Through My Mother’s Eyes

It’s Mother’s Day 2017, and I’m VERY blessed to still have mine. Everything I think I know about love, came from a foundation laid by her, via The Word of God (i.e. The Holy Bible).

As I sip on my coffee this morning, my toes rubbing softly on the blue gray carpet in my always too crowded townhouse, I cannot help but to think about the things I’ve learned from her, and how they’ve impacted my life.

     “Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”

     Corinthians 13, written by the Apostle Paul, is often read in conjunction with wedding vows. Oh, it sounds beautiful. Just listening to the verses being read at a wedding can carry a heart away, a blissful momentary ride on the love bus.  And leaves one to imagine themselves, if they have not yet experienced it, loving another so wholly, and so completely, that they become one living, breathing unit.

“If it ain’t a Godly love, like Paul speaks of in Corinthians, if you’re unwilling to bear it all, and endure it all, it ain’t real love” Momma would say.

But, enduring it all for the sake of love doesn’t always feel good, does it? That’s the part they leave out.  “Real love” is not always some dreamy, butterflies in the stomach, oh-I-can’t-live-without-you thing that you take for granted, and play with. “Bearing all”, and “enduring all” takes a lot of sacrifice.  And, knowing how much you’ve sacrificed raises your expectations, making you really believe that “love conquers all.”  So,  there’s no way it won’t work out, right?

Then, because your belief system is so strong, unwaivering, you are devastated when it all falls apart.  That “ole Christian guilt” rears its head, and before long, you’ve accepted all the blame for something that was always out of your control.

     “Everything Happens For A Reason”

     “He said over in Jeremiah 29 ‘For I know the plans I have for you!'”  Momma’s​ Sunday school class was always the place to be on a Sunday morning because the woman could fair out teach God’s Word in her day.

“God’s plan for your life is perfect. He knows what He’s doing when it comes to your life.”

So, since “God’s plan is perfect”, and “everything happens for a reason”, then why feel bad about anything? Why does what we know about God, and the church, back us into so many corners when it comes to love?

Being affiliated with a Pentecostal, or Holiness, church means not believing in divorce. The juxtaposition is that divorce is a very real possibility.

I would NEVER marry someone unless I felt in my heart that it would be forever, because that’s what I believe in; what I expect from marriage. On the other hand, when it comes to love, I don’t trust people with my heart.  My faith in true love, lasting love between two individuals for an eternity, has been, at best, shaken.

And this is where Momma’s biggest lesson would come in.

“You need mo’ Jesus!”

She would often say the words to me when she knew I was feeling bad; when I needed encouraging. And, woo wee, I would get so mad.

“I mean, I’m telling you that I’m hurting, or that someone hurt me,  your instinct is to tell me that I need moJesus?” I would think to myself.

But you know what? She was right.  See, our views on love change. That’s natural; unavoidable.  But, love itself should not.  If Jesus thought the way I do, that you can’t trust love once you’ve been hurt by it, we’d all be lost. If He had let the fact that he was disappointed in me, and the fact that He had to wait on me to learn what love isn’t before I understood how much He truly loved me, if He had let all of that ruin my chances at redemption, where would I be?
So, I am thankful for my Queen on today! What she has taught me about love simply cannot be measured. A Godly love brought her, and Daddy, to 36 years of marriage, and seven kids.  And, when I look at love through my mother’s eyes, I cannot help but to see the Lord.

Until our next cup;

Janet Faye