Sundays With Rae

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

Promise Not to Tell

Silence gives consent. Silence kills. If you don’t say anything, it’s like it never happened. We usually hear these phrases when something bad happens. But I’ve noticed that I often remain silent when good things happen. I remember when I bought my house a couple of summers ago and my coworker asked why I didn’t share during the meeting when the principal asked if anyone had any good news. It’s like I was embarrassed God allowed me to accomplish such a goal. Or like me and the devil had promised each other I wouldn’t share what God had done. What have you unknowingly promised the devil you wouldn’t tell?

It’s not that serious. No one cares. I don’t want to come off as conceited. I’m just a private person. We use every excuse we can think of not to tell of God’s goodness. Even when given the opportunity to share, we make His glory a secret. We hold on to it like our grandmother’s finest china that will break if anyone but us knows what God has done. We call it modesty, not wanting too much spotlight. That modesty can also be translated into fear. If people find out, will they hold you to a certain expectation? What happens if they think that you think you’re better than they are? Do they even know how much you trust God with your life? And if they do find out, will you be “too saved”?

Sometimes we share what we have, but not who gave it to us. We worked so hard to get to where we are, and if we’re not careful we’ll have people believing we did it by our self. I’m soooo guilty of all of the above. Either I don’t say anything at all or I just casually mention my accomplishments with no mention of the God who I know helped me achieve those goals. I would tell myself that people already know I love God so surely they know I realize it’s because of Him that I’ve been able to do what I’ve done… But why not take every chance to remind them? Why not say it out loud so I know it’s real? Why not show the devil that me and him don’t have any secrets?

I am committed to telling people how good God has been to me (not what I’ve done, but what He’s done), with the hope of inspiring them to pursue whatever He’s purposed in their hearts because if He’s done it for me, surely He’ll do it for them. This doesn’t mean making a Facebook status about everything good that happens to me with the hashtag #allglorytoGod or posting a picture on Instagram of every place I’ve been blessed to travel to. I’m definitely not opposed to sharing what you want on your page but don’t ever feel obligated to do so. It can be as simple as texting a friend “God did it again! I passed my test!” Or while at dinner sharing how thankful you are that God blessed you with the job of your dreams. Or talking to young people about where you were at their age and how God brought you out. All of this is part of moving beyond just telling what we’ve done and truly telling someone about the Source of our resources. So if you too are committed to making God famous, hold up your glass of apple cider and let’s make a toast to breaking the promise of not telling!

Psalms 109:30 I will greatly praise the Lord with my mouth; yea, I will praise him among the multitude.

July 2019

To Raynard

One of the greatest feelings I’ve been able to experience is the joy that comes from watching my friends dreams come true. Raynard, we are learning together that they do indeed come true. Those dreams we’ve dreamt together that seemed so far away, almost out of reach, now have a face and a name with the promise of forever.

We have walked this single journey together and I am thrilled to see it coming to an end for you. I have watched an intentional, surprising, confident love blossom. This love has shown us what it means to live out Hebrews 11:1 (“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”). This love causes us to reflect on 1 Corinthians 13:13 (“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” – NLT). This love brings to our remembrance Ephesians 3:20 (“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us”).

I use the terms “us” and “we” and “our” and “together” because Raynard and I are a package deal. It’s not something many people understand and we’re okay with that but I’m grateful his future bride has welcomed me with open arms. I’m grateful he has someone in his corner who will always be on his team, who he can share his hopes, dreams, and fears with, who will love him through his high highs and low lows. She is someone who will elevate his already successful ministry, and again, for that I’m grateful.

There’s so much more I want to say but I’ll save it for the wedding! CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Proverbs 18:22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord

#meetthebrants

Before the Resurrection

“You got up so I could get up again.”
He is risen and I’m glad about it! Resurrection Sunday could not have come at a better time. The past month or so, I’ve felt like I’ve been running in place, not really getting anywhere. Work has been annoying, my allergies have been trying to take me out, and I’ve been having hard conversations with myself. Although there have been multiple bright spots, as a whole it still felt like blah.

Today reminded me that after Jesus was crucified, Saturday (or whatever day came before He rose) came and went. The day before Jesus rose, people were still sad and scared; they thought that’s where the story ended. Even though Jesus had already said what He said, Jesus’ disciples and followers, had no idea Resurrection Sunday was going to happen. They thought they’d just have to adapt to their new normal. But the waiting was all a part of the plan.

So perhaps this running in place does feel like Resurrection Eve, the longest Saturday ever, but I’ll trust God because the same power that got Jesus up from the grave, is the same power that lives in me. I’ll be like Noah and keeping building with no rain in the forecast. I’ll be like Mary and carry what God gave me. I’ll be like the woman with the issue of blood, pushing through the crowd to touch the helm of His garment. I’ll rise with victory. Happy Resurrection Day!

Luke 24:6‭-‬8 He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.” Then they remembered that he had said this. (NLT)

Bright spot (March 2021)

A Funnel Cake Discipline

Today I was telling a friend about a funnel cake I bought last night. I didn’t go to a fair or attend a special event; I just know a place that sells funnel cakes and after I went to the track, drank some water, and ate some cucumber slices, at 7pm I decided that I also needed a funnel cake. To make matters worse, the hole-in-the-wall shop that sells these funnel cakes had one thousand people in there (well not one thousand but we’re still in a whole pandemic so ten looks like one thousand) and I could tell they were moving slowly. So what did I do? Sit in my car for half an hour until it cleared out and got my funnel cake and it was delicious. Some may think this isn’t a big deal; sometimes we want what we want. But I realize this is the person I have become. It doesn’t matter what I say I’ll do, it doesn’t matter what the wiser thing to do is, it doesn’t matter how much time I have, I’m going to choose to do what I want to do every time.

I could get lesson plans completed during the week, but I always wait until the night they’re due to get them done. I could be on time most places I go, but I always want to get fifteen more minutes of sleep. I could cook more and inadvertently save more money, but stopping to get something just feels more convenient. I lack discipline and it touches almost every area of my life. We all have bad days and bad weeks and maybe even bad months, but I realize my poor habits are the result of a poor lifestyle I’ve chosen. Don’t get me wrong, my lack of discipline doesn’t hinder me from getting important things done, which almost makes it worse because my every day life isn’t compromised but I know I can be and do so much better.

I am very much an advocate for showing yourself grace and participating in self-care, and I do both of those things often, but I need to do a better job of holding myself accountable. If I say I’m going to get up at 6am, I need to get up. If I say I’m going to work out, I need to work out. I’m okay with not getting it right 100% of the time, but I want to at least strive for 100%. I juggle a lot of things and responsibilities and relationships and that’s not going to change. In the midst of all of that, being disciplined enough to do what I set out to do when I set out to do it, should be a part of that juggling act. So here is a reminder to you (and of course me), that you owe it to yourself to show up in every area of your life as the best version of yourself and that requires discipline. God? Yes. Faith? Yes. Grace? Yes. Perseverance? Yes. Rest? Yes. Support? Yes. Discipline? Definitely.

Matthew 25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

March 2021

A Year Later

A year ago we had no idea that life as we knew it was getting ready to change, drastically. I remember telling several people after the country shut down that we would be back to normal in two or so weeks. Surely this wouldn’t last longer than that… It was around month two I realized things were indeed not going back to normal and they probably never would.

A sincere panic (read here) set in. How was I going to function in this new world? I already didn’t care for virtual anything, now I was supposed to deal with it as my new normal? Well, yea. I have and so have you. If you had told me last year I would have survived teaching virtually a year, I would have called you a liar. If you had told me I wouldn’t be going to church for a year, I would have called you a liar. If you had told me I would be wearing a mask every time I walked into a building, I would have called you a liar. All of this seemed inconceivable but here I am living it out.

The devastation our world has experienced often times seems unfathomable, but God saw fit to keep us here. If I’ve learned nothing else this past year, I’ve learned the meaning of the saying “nothing is promised.” Nothing. Not events, not jobs, not income, not life. So even if we find ourselves in a similar situation another year from now, rest in knowing God is in control.

Matthew 6:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

February 2021

Why Valentine’s Day?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Valentine’s Day is here!!! I have felt all the love this weekend and so much more. I’ve been asked several times why I love Valentine’s Day and the simple answer is, I love love. I always have, I always will. My mom would give my sister and I Valentine’s Day gifts and decorate the house. Even after we went to college, she would send us goodies. It was never just February 14 in my family. My parents never did a whole lot to celebrate the day but it was always acknowledged. It’s something special to me about taking a moment, a whole day, to bask in love. I know some people say it’s a commercialized day and blah blah, but to be wrapped up in something as powerful as love is a feeling I can’t describe. To be able to send gifts and cards to others, to see smiles on my goddaughter’s and her sisters’ faces, to gaze into the eyes of the one I love…. ::deep sigh:: It just fills me with so much joy. Valentine’s Day is a reminder of God’s love and how capable I am of giving and receiving that love. So if no one else has told you today, let me be the one to say HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!!

1 John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

That smile is why (February 2021)

Oh America

Over a week ago, rioters (posing as protesters) stormed the Capitol building in Washington D.C. As I watched the events unfold, I was speechless. A day I would have celebrated Georgia helping Congress turn blue, I spent glued to my TV screen trying to convince myself I wasn’t watching a movie. The more I watched, the more enraged I became. There was no revolution, just an ugly truth being televised.

My friends will tell you, I hardly ever keep up with politics. What little I do know, comes from them and the minimal research I make myself do. These politics influence the decisions that are made which impact my daily life and my future, and although important, I’ve never found them interesting. There are certain political figures I’ve taken a liken to based on speeches I’ve heard them give or learning about how they’ve helped their constituents or honestly, because they’ve looked like me and represented what was possible in America. Unfortunately, January 6, 2021 was a reminder of what was also possible in America. People drunk with lies and false narratives, weaponized their privilege and showed who they were and have always been. It was never about all lives or blue lives, just not black lives. It was never about making America great again, but simply wanting to make America theirs, and only theirs. 

This upcoming Wednesday, God willing, a new dawn and a new day will descend upon us. My faith has never been in this government but in the One whose shoulders it rests on. If nothing else, I’ll remain hopeful because it’s really all I have left. God bless America. 

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

December 2020

My Favorite Story

When asked to tell my favorite story, I imagine I’ll always tell this one.

Chai Latte  A South-Asian flavored tea beverage made by brewing black tea with a mixture of aromatic Indian spices and herbs. We steam our Chai with local milk creating a wonderful sweet and slightly spicy comfort drink.

This was the description I read online as I prepared for my date. We were meeting at a coffee shop and although I don’t like coffee, I love coffee shops. He didn’t know this about me yet, but the coffee shop was his idea and I was thrilled. Aside from my love of coffee shops, if the date wasn’t going well, I could leave after I finished my drink. The pressure to sit through a dinner or a two-hour movie, did not exist. I could do thirty minutes of terrible and be on my way. I just had to figure out what I would order. Usually I get hot chocolate when I go to these places, but I told myself I needed to get a grown-up drink and then I stumbled upon the chai latte. Bingo!

I pulled up to the coffee shop, upset I forgot to put on my eyeliner and mascara, but thankful I remembered to put on my favorite perfume. I must admit, I was terrified. The week before I had gone on a not so good date (read here), and as much as I tried not to get my hopes up for this date, I was really interested to learn more about this guy. This interest didn’t supersede my nervousness though. So, while sitting in my car, I called my friends, Kristal and Ray, for a pep talk. Up until that point, they had been leading and guiding me through this dating process and per usual, they told me to relax and just enjoy the experience. I took a deep breath and went with God.

As I entered the coffee shop, I could feel my heart beating in my stomach. I told myself to put one foot in front of the other and try to smile like a normal person. He was seated at a table quite a distance from the door and I was grateful because it was cold outside, and I wanted to be far away from that. I breathed a sigh of relief when he looked up and his face matched his pictures. He was taller than I imagined and had such sincere eyes. We had just met, but I could feel myself getting lost in those eyes. He greeted me with a hug and guided me to the counter so we could place our orders.

“I’ll have the chai latte,” I said. (I noticed he smiled after I said this)

“I’ll have the chai latte as well,” he said. (That’s why he was smiling)

I believe God gives us signs but at the same time, I don’t think everything is a sign. Looking back though, this was definitely a sign. We had quite a few things in common, but there was something special about both of us ordering chai lattes. Maybe it was the fact that neither one of us like coffee or the fact that I strongly considered ordering a hot chocolate instead. Either way, it was a sign that we were off to a great start.

Over the next two hours, the time flew by. From music to college to living in Atlanta to family to expectations to careers, we talked about it. I felt like I was meeting up with a handsome friend I hadn’t seen in a while, and I was grateful he was still single. We probably could have sat in that coffee shop and spent the day trading stories and sharing dreams until they closed, but this was a good start; a promising start. We got up to leave and he said he was going to use the bathroom before he headed out, so he gave me a hug and sent me on my way. No numbers were exchanged. No second date was planned. I was slightly devastated.

As soon as I got in the car, I called my father figure, Raynard, and told him how amazing of a date it was but was disappointed that I could have been the only one who may have felt that way. Maybe the chai lattes weren’t a sign. Maybe the conversation wasn’t as effortless as I thought it was. Maybe he had better options awaiting him. Of course, Raynard tried to talk me off of this ledge but being true to myself, once I make up a story in my head, it’s the reality I live in. After fifteen or so minutes of me discussing the many highs and one low, something happened. Through the app he messaged me and told me he enjoyed talking to me and sent me his number!!! I’m pretty sure I screamed. The wave of relief that washed over me is an unexplainable feeling. I hadn’t misinterpreted things! The conversation was as good as I thought it was! The chai lattes were a sign!

Neither of us could have known the love story that was being birthed in that coffee shop as we sipped chai lattes and discussed life. We were hopeful, but not quite sold. We were inspired by the idea of what could be, but not sure it would be reality. In 2019, I wrote about extraordinary love. I said I wanted it, but I wasn’t truly convinced that I could get it. Now that I have it… ain’t no turning back! The bar has been set and if it isn’t this, I’m never going to want it. This love is transformative, propelling me to be the best version of myself. It is a reminder of everything good in this world. It is not afraid of my dark. It is exposing the not so pretty parts of me and choosing to stay. It is healing. It is spilling over in every area of my life. If I hadn’t believed in God, this love would make me a believer. Only the God of the universe could have orchestrated such a love.

That day in the coffee shop feels like yesterday and forever ago, but I’m grateful that as time has passed, this story is still being written. And every day, I’m reminded why it’s still my favorite.

1 Corinthians 13:13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. (NLT)

September 2020

Not So Merry Christmas

If you’re reading this, you lived to see Christmas 2020 and that in itself, is a blessing!  Maybe you were happy, maybe you grieved your way through it, maybe you were surrounded by family, maybe you celebrated alone; whatever your situation was, God saw fit for you to be here. Even with a heart full of gratitude, it’s been a rough week for me. 

This was the first time in some years that I wasn’t dreading the coming of Christmas. I didn’t spend the weeks leading up to it, wondering how I would feel when the day arrived. I didn’t walk around in a daze. I didn’t cry. But as soon as I walked in the home I spent my whole childhood in, a depression set in that I couldn’t get rid of.

Being home for the holidays has been difficult since my dad died but I think this year was the worst it’s ever been. I was only there for a week but each night I was excited I was one day closer to getting on a plane and getting out of there; I was literally counting the days. I felt like a stranger in a place I should have been familiar with which was a new feeling for me. I’m used to feeling sad or not wanting to get out much, but this was different. Everywhere and everything reminded me that my dad was missing from my life. Home didn’t feel like home. Streets I traveled countless times made me feel like I was in a distant land. I could not identify with these places and spaces without my father. It took all the energy I could muster up to interact with people outside of my mom and younger sister. And the anxiety of this pandemic added fuel to a blazing fire.

It took a while to recognize my emotional state. I knew something was off but I don’t think I wanted to admit it. Even though I know grief is a process (in a lot of ways, a cycle), I definitely thought I had gotten over this part. Clearly, I had not. My sister said she noticed at Christmas dinner I was present, but checking in and checking out. She was right. I thought about the tips I gave for dealing with grief last week (click here) and had to put them to use. 

With all that was going on inside of me, I still managed to laugh from the depths of my soul, thank God for my family, dream about the one I love, celebrate friends, and be hopeful. This year I have learned the art of two things being true. I have learned to live with “both/and.” I can be sad and hopeful. I can be both drained and inspired. I can feel lost and know I’ll be found. One feeling does not negate the other, and there is enough room for both. Hopefully, your Christmas was a lot merrier than mine but even if it wasn’t, let this be a reminder that you’re not alone and we’re all doing the best we can do, you included. 

Psalms 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

December 2020

Grieving During the Holidays

Here are 4 tips to get you through Christmas as you grieve.

1. Breathe

Something so simple can have a major impact. We can spend so much time trying not to cry, trying to smile, trying not to feel, we forget to simply breathe. When you find yourself almost consumed by the sadness, take a deep breath. Then, take another. (You can find more about breathing, here)

2. Cry

For some, this may seem counterproductive (it certainly did to me) but bottled up tears don’t just disappear. Give yourself space to cry. Whether you do it when you first wake up and that aching hits you in the chest or after you make it through the day as you realize time didn’t stop because your loved one passed. You may have to go in the bathroom in the middle of the festivities and that’s okay. If you feel like crying, cry.

3. Fake It

This may sound contradictory to the above but stay with me. Maybe you have kids and a family depending on you to prepare Christmas dinner or maybe you’re in charge of organizing the annual family talent show. Maybe you have to go to work and literally can’t afford to stay in bed like you want to. Your responsibilities don’t care about your grief. Fake your way through it. If you have to put a timer on your phone to go to the bathroom every hour and give yourself a five minute check-in, do that. If you have to spend your lunch break crying in your car, do that. And the rest of the time, smile even though it hurts. Try to muster up the strength to find a joke to tell. You may look back and realize this wasn’t a very happy Christmas, but you did what you had to in order to get through the day. 

4. Talk 

Grief can feel like our dirty little secret. We don’t want anyone to know we’re struggling. We are held captive by our own emotions. It doesn’t have to be that way. Find someone who you know will be supportive and tell them how you’re feeling. Tell them your mad or you’re sad or you don’t feel anything. Tell them you can’t wait for the day to be over. Tell them you tried to fake happy and just couldn’t. And after you’ve done that, talk to God. Even if you’re mad at Him, even if you don’t think He can hear you, do it anyway. 

Psalms 34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. (NLT)

December 2020

To read more about my grief journey:

Good is Coming

My dad dying was like God taking my favorite vase and dropping it on purpose and the shock of it all left me speechless. But I let my silence speak volumes, because I had nothing to say to God. As far as I was concerned, He’d made a mess and left me with the broken pieces. I know the Bible says all things work together for the good of them that love the Lord but maybe I didn’t love the Lord because surely no good could come from this.

Those were (sometimes still are) dark days. I’m grateful I’ve grown to a place where those days are few and far between, but when those bad days come, sometimes it’s really bad, making the good seem nonexistent. And it’s a pity, because there’s so much good. So much, that even if I tried to hide from it, the good would find a way to me. And maybe this seems impossible to believe right now. Maybe you don’t have dark days, but you have dark weeks and it’s been months since you said the word good and meant it. Misery may love company, but you’re doing just fine all by yourself. I know that feeling.

Grief is difficult. It just is. There are no shortcuts. You are where you are. Other people may not understand it and they don’t have to. You don’t have to see it right now, you don’t have to feel it, and I’m somewhat tempted to say you don’t even have to believe it (although, it helps if you do), but know that one day you will be able to genuinely smile again. You won’t measure time by loss. God will be friend to you instead of betrayer. He won’t just be seen as taker, but giver. One day, your bad days will be few and far between because good is coming to find you.  

Romans 8:28 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.

Enjoying the good (November 2020)