Sundays With Rae

a blog for women by a woman who is trying to get her life together while still loving Jesus

Beautiful

Please tell me sometimes you look in the mirror and admire how beautiful you are. You take the time to stare and behold your beauty, even if just for a moment. The feeling may be fleeting but it would have been present nonetheless, and everyone should be able to say that at one point or another, they saw themselves as beautiful.

There will be days you will paint yourself as ugly, unaware that the paint you use is water based and can be washed away but what remains is truly something beautiful. You are truly something beautiful. You are a masterpiece; not even Van Gogh could have thought up something more beautiful than you. That ideal image you strive to be, you are her. You are her! So you go on being you, with your beautiful self.

Song of Solomon 1:15 How beautiful you are, my darling, how beautiful! Your eyes are like doves. (NLT)

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New York, New York (August 2016)

For more about being beautiful, click here

There’s No Such Thing as Unicorns

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They exist!

Rewind nine or so years ago, a friend and I are sitting in my college dorm dreaming out loud about our futures. We start talking about our husbands and how wonderful it would be if they truly love God. I’m not talking about that I go to church on Sunday and pay my tithes when I can kind of love; I’m referring to the God drives my whole life, everything I do is for His glory kind of love. And along with that, they would be super relatable and funny and love us like Christ loves the church. The more my friend and I discussed it, the less realistic it seemed. The men we spoke of was just as likely to exist as unicorns. So that’s what they became: unicorns; figments of our imaginations. However, recently I thought back to this conversation, and realized how wrong I was. There’s no such thing as unicorns but these men are in fact real.

As I sit procrastinating (I should be doing homework), I can think of six men who I know personally who are these men; some of them married, and others not. It’s not about them being husbands, it’s about them being great men of God. My friend and I were so focused on the title of husband, we ignored the God in the men around us. Ladies, Godly men do exist. The ones you know, may not end up being your husband, but they’re certainly not unicorns.

I’m guilty of saying “they’re no men out there who love Jesus (I probably said it last week lol). Or if I’m having a good day, I may say, “well all the ones who are living right are already married.” That’s just not true. Take a moment and take inventory of the men in your life. The ones you call friend, who you discuss scriptures with, who can pray for you (and even if you don’t, you know you can). Celebrate these men. Tell your friends about them. I’m not saying they’re you’re besties or even that you interact with them on a daily basis, but I’m saying they’re real.

Some of you will think about the men in your life and coming up empty, still reconcile in your mind that these men are unicorns. I encourage you to look deeper; think about the men in your church who you never talk to but always seems to worship with a sincere heart  and has an overall genuine spirit (if you don’t go to church, that may be a good start). Think about the guy at your job who always asks how your day is going (not in the flirty way, just being nice) or the one who is always wearing the WWJD hat. Remember, it’s not about these men being husband candidates; it’s about these men existing. And these men existing gives you hope that the husband you’re praying for exists too. No unicorns, just men who are following after Christ.

Going Off to College: 10 Tips (Part 2)

Last week I gave you five tips, now you can enjoy the other five. (Click here for Part 1)

6. Growing apart isn’t bad.

We all have those high school friends who we think we’ll be friends with forever. That’s super cute, but as time goes on, you may find you don’t talk as much or you’re not interested in the same things. Perhaps they didn’t go off to college and can’t relate to some of the things you’re experiencing on a daily basis or vice versa. This is okay. It doesn’t make you or them bad people. Maybe when you go home to visit, you all can catch up over lunch or perhaps it was awkward the last time and this time you decide not to. That’s okay.

7. Stay on campus (at least one year).

It’s expensive. It’s small. It’s too many people. It’s dirty. It’s hot. I know, I know. But it is so convenient. You can wake up 15 minutes before class. No traffic to worry about. Lots of new people to befriend. Quick access to everything on campus. Once you return to the comfort of your off campus apartment, it’s difficult to convince yourself to go back to campus for a probate show or the free midnight breakfast (we did it at Florida State and it was amazing). I understand not wanting to spend your entire college career living on campus, but at least give yourself one year. Some of my best memories from college, happened while I was living on campus.

8. Use the resources.

Go to your professor’s office hours, especially if you’re at a larger school. They are the people making the exams, why not go to them for the answer? I spent many hours in my room trying to teach myself concepts, that could have probably been explained in 15 minutes, if I had just went to see my professor. If your school provides any sort of free tutoring service and you’re struggling, utilize it! It’s better to ask for help now than a week before final exams and you need a 150% to pass the class. Studying in your room is fine, but studying outside your room is even better. Most college campuses have plenty of study areas

9. Join an organization.

This is how I met amazing people in college. My freshmen year of college I joined an acting group, and these wonderful people help me to feel comfortable in the skin I was in, having a profound impact on me during my time at Florida State. Maybe you played basketball in high school, join an intramural team. Perhaps you were in chorus, join a singing group on campus. Even if you didn’t do anything in high school, you may have always wanted to try modeling; there is probably an organization for that. Your university might be small and not have many organizations, but you can start one! Organizations are a great way to meet people and form a since of community with people who have similar interests. And don’t just be a member, be a part of the leadership team. Not only does it look good on your resume, it grows you as a person. I had the privilege of being president of a bible study I helped start, and I learned so much about myself and what I was capable of.

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My wonderful acting family (November 2009)

 

10. Call home.

You love your family and they love you, but you love this freedom too. It’s easy to forget to call home to let someone know you’re alive and breathing, but make the time to do it. Put a reminder in your phone, write it on your calendar. You may have the kind of family that calls you twenty times a day, answer at least once (yes I’m telling you to ignore the rest of the calls. If it’s that deep, they’ll send you a text about it). If your family is letting you spread your wings, and waiting for you to call, do it at least once a week (that’s bare minimum), even if it’s just to say you’re okay and life is great or this sucks but you’re making it work. Sure, everyone can follow you on social media and see all the fun things you’re doing, but it’s good for them to hear your voice (and you may not want them to follow you on social media).

College WILL be a wonderful time in your life. God did not bring you this far to leave you, so even if it gets tough, keep going! You won’t regret it!

And if you need someone who’s been there (and stayed saved while doing it), to walk through this with you, slide in my DMs (lol, but really).

 

 

Going Off to College: 10 Tips (Part 1)

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Freshmen year of undergrad (July 2008)

You’re only a few weeks away from being out of your parents’ house and you can’t wait or maybe you can wait and would rather wait, but time waits for no one. Everyone has already told you what to do and what not to do, so here I am telling you what might be helpful. Take what’s useful, pass the rest to someone else:

1. Find a church home. 

Freedom! Finally, you get to decide when and where (and if) you go to church. You know what you believe, so be sure to choose a church home that aligns with those beliefs. I went to a big church, medium church, Pentecostal, nondenominational, predominantly black, as well as a church with many different races. I searched all over and finally found a place that helped me to grow spiritually and that’s what’s most important right now. You no longer go to church because your parents make you go; you have to develop and expand your own relationship with Christ. And don’t just go so when your parents ask, you don’t have to lie about it. Go and participate in the different ministries, go to the young adult bible study, and the Saturday fish fry. Get connected with genuine people who will be concerned about your soul. Also, look into collegiate bible studies on your college campus.

2. Don’t be afraid to say no.

You will have the opportunity to do all sorts of things in college. Smoke weed, drink alcohol, stay up all night, blow through your refund check, go to the club, gain weight, have sex, be in a music video, get hazed, participate in the Pokemon Go challenge, just a plethora of things. You know right from wrong so behave accordingly. It’s easy to focus on the “bad” things but they’re may be some things you’re just not interested in doing. Try new things, yes! But if it’s not for you, it’s not for you. One year, my whole group of friends decided to join a community service fraternity. It seemed like a wonderful organization, but I was quite active in other organizations and worked part time, and as much as I love helping other people, it just wasn’t quite for me (now I sound like a jerk who didn’t want to do community service lol).

3. Don’t forget why you went to college.

I remember taking one of my first college tests, and getting a D. It was a wakeup call for me. This isn’t high school where you can get by doing the bare minimum, so you may have to adjust your study habits. There will always be an event (or seven) going on, so practice time management in balancing work and play. You want to have fun in college, but you also want to eventually leave college with a degree, preferably in 4 years or so. So go to class, do well, and stay away from 8am classes. I know, you had to get up at 5am to get to your high school, but this is different, trust me.

4. Stop going home so often.

You’ve never been this far from home, for this long; I get it, you’re lonely. But I assure you, you won’t make any friends if you’re running home every time you get the chance. It’s difficult being in a new place and not knowing very many people, if any. It’s okay to miss your family and friends. It’s okay to cry about it. And after you’ve done that, wipe your tears and go to the interest meeting of that Art Club or the Black Student Union you saw a flyer about.

5. Try to make the best of it with your roommate(s).

I have had 10 different roommates, none of which I knew prior to living with them, and of the 10 only one was strange. If I can get through it, so can you! It is important to let your roommate(s) know your pet peeves as soon as you move in together, whether that’s dishes in the sink, using your stuff without asking, or never taking out the trash; make them aware and be sure you know what theirs are. You won’t live with this person forever, so don’t sweat the small stuff. I don’t think you’re going to die if he/she leaves their shoes by the door. If you do need to voice a concern, do so in a manner that is direct and clear. Don’t leave sticky notes and I would caution against text messages if y’all not cool like that. Do exchange numbers, you never know when you might need their help. If worst comes to worse, keep it respectful with a casual hi/bye (if you happen to be in the living room when I’m walking in/out the door) and live life.

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Always repping my squad #gonoles #fsu #ibleedgarnetandgold

Check back next week for Part 2!

Don’t You Dare Quit!!!

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Koko Head, June 2011

In the summer of 2011, I spent the summer in Hawaii and my friend had this bright idea to climb Koko Head, a crater consisting of over 1000 steps to the top (half way through, the steps become a bridge so you’re basically crawling at some points), with the trail becoming so steep, it almost feels like you’re walking at a 45 degree angle. In the beginning, I was excited; the climb seemed relatively doable but by and by… Quite some time passed and I realized I was still climbing and wasn’t anywhere near the top. It was hot, I was sweating, I didn’t have enough water, I’m lazy, just everything seemed to be all bad. I kept questioning why I was even doing this. I wanted to turn around and threatened to numerous times, but instead (and with my friend’s encouragement) I just kept going. Although I didn’t want to be tired, I wanted to reach the top even more. I knew the view would be worth it. And it was. I wanted to be able to say I climbed Koko Head. And I did.

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It wasn’t fun anymore (Koko Head, June 2011)

Goals are not easy to accomplish. Jesus’ goal while here on earth was to be offered as the ultimate sacrifice so we could be made right with God. He knew what he would face, but it didn’t make it easy to go through. He cried and went as far as to ask if possible the cup be passed from him (Luke 22:42). But with all of that, he did it anyway! He took the betrayal, he took the mistreatment, he took the beatings, and because he didn’t quit when attaining the goal got difficult, we all have the opportunity to gain eternal life.

In my head, if I have a goal I want to accomplish, then the work ethic should just appear out of thin air. I should want to do everything it takes to accomplish my goal. I should never get tired of working towards my goal. I should always enjoy every step it takes to reach my goal. Lies, all lies. Even when we’re doing what we love and what we want to do, there will be parts of the process we don’t like. Most parents love their children and love being parents, but they’re not necessarily thrilled about cleaning up exploding diarrhea. Grossed out, and perhaps a bit annoyed, they get their baby clean (and anything else that needs cleaning), and kiss their bundle of joy, still grateful they get to be called a parent. Disliking certain parts of the process is not a sign to quit. You get through it and keep going.

Other people may appear to be accomplishing their goals at a faster rate than you are. While climbing Koko Head, there were 7 year olds moving up that crater faster than me and some people passed me a couple of times (I would be lying if I said I didn’t think about tripping a few of them, it was the heat getting to me lol). But I kept going because I had a goal to reach. Their goal was their goal, and my goal was my goal; them accomplishing their goal, had nothing to do with me accomplishing my goal. If anything, it served as motivation. If they could do it, then surely I could too!

You may want to start your own business and every time you turn around something seems to be going wrong. The building didn’t pass inspection, the investor pulled out, the marketing campaign didn’t go as well as planned. It’s always something, but none of those are reasons to quit. You’re trying to go back to school, but the loan money didn’t come through, you didn’t pass the prerequisite class, you didn’t get into the college you set your heart on going to. Keep applying, keep trying.

In this life you may be tired, frustrated, discouraged, disappointed, and a host of other negative emotions. That thing, that goal you are striving for, is worth it. It is worth the sleepless nights, the sweat, the tears, the naysayers, the multiple drafts, the rejection letters, the conference calls. It’s worth all of that! It’s okay to feel however you feel, but you cannot quit.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me

An Anyhow Praise

There are times in life when we just don’t feel like it. ‘It’ can be anything from doing laundry to praying to smiling to going to work. We simply don’t want to. Sometimes we push through those feelings and do what we have to do anyway and other times we do nothing. If there was ever a time ‘I didn’t feel like it,’ it was a few weeks ago. My mind said, ‘go ahead’ and my body said, ‘naw, you good.’

In the past month, I’ve managed to hear about six people dying (celebrities not included), many of whom I’ve had personal interactions with on some level or another. Those who know me, know I don’t take death very well (yea I know the saints shouldn’t be stricken with grief and all that but He’s still working on me in that area), so at any moment I really could have shut down. Add on top of that a headache that had been present for a week and at times was debilitating (my younger sister had to stop in mid sentence several times until I pulled myself together to listen to her), along with annoying allergies/sinuses.

It would make perfect sense to go to work, come home and go to bed, but my church was having a week long revival. My sister and I had made up in our minds we were going every night and every night, I didn’t feel like going. I was emotionally drained and my body was exhausted, but every night, I went. Every night I would shout ‘hallelujah’ or ‘thank you Jesus,’ and my headache would intensify but I would shout it anyway. Every night we would go down to pray, and I didn’t really feel like talking to God, but I did it anyway. I didn’t necessarily get up feeling better but I knew what I was experiencing wasn’t going to be forever.

Every night I went to church, every night I got down on my knees and prayed, the devil lost. I know he thought because I was physically and emotionally tired, I wouldn’t be faithful to what I said (go to the revival every night), especially after the days went on and I didn’t feel any better. But after that first night of the revival, I realized it wasn’t about how I felt, it was about what I knew. I know God still sits on the throne (Psm. 47:8). I know trouble doesn’t last always (2 Cor. 4:17). I know weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning (Psm. 30:5). I know the devil is a liar and my God can’t lie (John 8:44; Num. 23:19). There are too many things I’m depending on God to do to allow my ever fleeting emotions and mortal body to control my faithfulness to Him. Time and time again, He’s showed up for me and just because I don’t feel like it, doesn’t mean He’s not worthy.

So even when you don’t feel like it and everything in you is giving you a reason not to, do it anyway. Worship God anyway. Praise God anyway. Go to church anyway. Pray anyway. Remind the devil, that despite how you may presently feel and the lies he may tell you (why would you serve a God who won’t heal you, if God loves you so much why won’t He make you happy), you’ll always have the last laugh because your Father in heaven has the last say and all things will work together for your good (Rom. 8:28).

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April 2016

I Like Him, He Actually Likes Me Too?

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It’s so beautiful when the thirst is mutual #facts

Recently, I had a conversation with a friend regarding a young man she was interested in and without boring you with all of the details, she basically couldn’t believe someone liked her as much as she liked them and everything actually seemed to be working out. My response? Girl, I’ve been there! So often, we are faithful to God and we think He just ignores our faithfulness. We live as though nothing good is suppose to ever happen to us. We’re just suppose to be alone forever, make enough money to pay our tithes and our bills, go to church, read our bible, and pray. LIES! God wants you to have the desires of your heart, including love.

Let’s be clear, this isn’t a sign you should continue talking to that guy you know is no good for you (the nextflix and chill guy who hasn’t seen the inside of a church in months if not years). No, you leave him alone, in fact, run far away from him. I’m referring to the guy who insist on paying when you go out, who doesn’t mind worshipping next to you every Sunday, who prays for you, who has a job and is constantly pursuing his goals, who looks at you as though you are a queen, who only wants to talk to you, and is never too busy to do so. You deserve that guy. God wants that guy for you. So I say this as your big sister, big cousin, good friend: don’t screw it up! (harsh I know, but someone has to tell you)

Don’t overthink the situation. Stop trying to come up with reasons why this won’t work. Stop trying to compare it to every other blossoming romance that failed. Joshua 1:8 has become one of my favorite scriptures, because it tells me that I play an active role in my life. If I am studying my word, spending time with God, I will make my own way prosperous, including being liked, loved even. A wonderful friend of mine (thank you Kathleen!), mentioned something on Facebook last year that resonated so loudly with me. So often, we want God to speak to us. We want to hear an actual voice or see some sort of sign from God (which He is capable of), but if we have the Holy Ghost, are spending time with Him and consulting Him throughout the day, He is already speaking to us. We are able to go through this world with “God lenses” on, allowing everything we take in to be filtered through Him, including a potential significant other. “God lenses” come with discernment, so the guy who says He’s a Christian or believer (or whatever they want to call themselves), but continually attempts to get you naked, won’t make the cut. “God lenses” won’t allow you to see what you want to see (a cute man crush Monday post), but what He sees (a fully committed, God fearing man, someone who encourages your walk with Christ). This guy could be “the one,” or not, but I assure you that you will never know if you live life waiting for the other shoe to drop instead of being committed to the moment.

This is what you prayed for, a man of God to sweep you off your feet. First and foremost, continue walking with God, but don’t be afraid to enjoy walking with this man. You are “living in blessings that use to be prayer requests” (@evinamiri on Instagram). Let life be great!

Joshua 1:9  Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

And if that guy you prayed for hasn’t come along yet, consider reading this:

Live While You Wait

Tip Tuesday: 4 Tips for Single Christians Considering Dating

If things are getting pretty serious, consider reading this:

Tip Tuesday: Dating God’s Way

 

 

With Gratitude

It’s been 365 days since my first post on this site. Since then I have made 26 posts, my site has had 2,503 views, and has gained 11 followers. Pretty good for my first year, but I must admit that at times I got discouraged with how many likes I got or how many people viewed a post. However, I constantly reminded myself, if just one person could relate or was encouraged or was simply able to smile, I have fulfilled the purpose of this blog. Thank you for all the likes, the shares, the comments. Thank you for supporting me. It is my prayer that through this platform I continue to be a light by putting my life on display and being sure it’s me.

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Baby Treasure Hunt

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always enjoyed interacting with children, so it was no surprise when this baby started playing with me, I went along with it. The baby was no more than 2 years old, and gently touched my arm. No big deal. He held his hand out and I shook it. This went on for awhile almost as though we were playing tag. He touch my arm, I shake his hand. All of a sudden, the baby starts digging in his diaper, and I mean he was digging like he was searching for treasure. I start to panic on the inside, knowing that once his treasure hunt was over, he will continue to try and play tag with me. The logical thing would be for me to move but we were in a closed space and there was nowhere to go. The child’s grandfather was sitting next to him, but he was watching tv and not really paying attention. I didn’t have sense enough to say something like “what are you doing in there” to bring attention to the situation. But soon enough the hunt was over and just as I predicted, the hand that had been rummaging through his diaper found its way on to my arm. I had on long sleeves so I was able to keep my cringe on the inside, but before I knew it, his hand was lunging for my neck. Flag on the play, flag on the play! I let out a small scream as I maneuvered my neck out of his reach. I’m proud of myself for only letting out a small scream because inside I wanted to jump up and out of my skin. The grandfather finally said something to the child, but the damage had already been done, I had already been traumatized. Some may say, well at least he didn’t actually touch you but the mere possibility is enough. The possibility that he could have found some “treasure” in that diaper or my ninja skills weren’t up to par and he got to my neck, is enough. I look back on this situation and think to myself, how could this have been avoided… If I had just left the baby alone in the first place, then it wouldn’t have happened. But me being me, this was life.

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Not the baby partaking in the treasure hunt but my cute cousin (2008)

God Doesn’t Need You

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The work of the Creator (view from Koko Head, Oahu, Hawaii, June 2011)

It sounds harsh but it’s reality. In our world, it’s so easy to think all of life will stop if we don’t pursue our passions; if we’re not obedient to the voice of God. But the truth of the matter is, life will go on. Yes, there is only one you and nobody will be able to be a better you; but when we decide we’re going to ignore that gut feeling telling us to apply for the job or pick up our camera, we don’t let down the world and God as much as we think we do. We let down ourselves. God used a donkey (Numbers 22:23-33); it would be no surprise to me when He uses somebody else to write the next New York Best Seller. God used a prostitute (Joshua 2); I have no qualms in Him finding a willing spirit to help families out of poverty. If we are unwilling to be obedient and follow Him, surely He can find somebody who will. And that is what I find amazing. God can use anybody, but He chooses me. He chooses you. God doesn’t need us, He wants us.

God knows how lazy I can be and how shaky my faith is at times, but He still wants me. He could have used anyone to write this blog but He told me to do it. He could anoint anyone to sing, but He gave you the voice. It’s not by chance or accident. It’s not like someone asking me what I want for dinner and I respond with, “oh, whatever is coming up on the next exit.” No, God has a specific meal in mind that can only be found where you are. He wants you. But if you make yourself unavailable, He can certainly raise someone else up. Yes, what God has for you is for you, but you can’t get it, if you don’t want Him too.

There are so many benefits that come with being wanted by God, but we will never get to enjoy them all as long as we’re putting Him off. “Next year, I’ll start working with the youth choir.” “I’m going to start my weight loss journey and inspire others, but I have so much other stuff going on.” “I am going to go back to school and pursue the business God told me to, but I have to use my money elsewhere right now.” God already knows our shortcomings and what we’re faced with and He still wants to use us. We have all these excuses, but all God wants is a yes. He wants us. Say that to yourself. Out of all the people in the world, God wants me. God wants me. God wants me. He can do it without me, but He wants me anyway.

Exodus 4:10-12 And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.  And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.

I can’t imagine how many people would be overjoyed if Beyonce called them and said she wanted them to work with her. Even if they were the green M&M remover, they would be ecstatic to say they work with Beyonce (and don’t let Beyonce know their name). And here it is, the creator of the UNIVERSE wants to work with you. He not only knows you by name, He knows the number of hairs on your head, he knew you before you were even born and wanted you then, no resume needed (Matthew 10:30; Jeremiah 1:5)! The job He has for you is far greater than the green M&M remover. It may not be a fancy title or come with a lot of money but it will be purposeful. It will not only affect you, but everyone who comes in contact with you. You will have the honor of saying God, the creator of the whole entire world, wants me. He chose me.

God has a choice. He will be quite alright without us, but He wants us. Can we say we want God as much as He wants us? Can we say that if He never does another thing, we’ll still chase after Him? No matter who you are, you need God, but we can’t just need God, we have to want Him. You have the choice in wanting Him. Choose God.

Psalms 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.