Sundays With Rae

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

Understanding My Mother

As most of you know by now, I absolutely love talking about relationships and not just romantic relationships. I’m fascinated by how fluid relationships can be. How you relate to someone today can be very different from how you related to them ten years ago. Often times these difference are rooted in changing seasons in our lives. How we see someone changes as we change. This sentiment is true of daughters who are now mothers. I asked family and friends how their understanding of their mothers have changed since becoming mothers; what lessons they have taken away from their experience as daughters that they hope to teach their children.

“I can say to continue the path of keeping God first in their lives like my mama did us!”

Arnecia

“The great work that goes into it, namely for mothers, whether or not the dad is present. The sacrifice and riskiness of pregnancy. The physical, emotional and maybe even mental tolls of bringing a child into the world. I guess it’s more so a greater appreciation for her and what she had to do and give up to bring us into the world and to raise us.”

Natasha

“Something I understand about my mother now that I am a mother is how much she sacrificed herself to make sure that we were all good. I know, I know cliché! But I think about the days she would wake up early, get us dressed for school and herself ready for work, take four children to school then go work an eight hour shift. After all of that, she’d pick us up from our various after school activities, sometimes go to parent/teacher conferences and/or church, come home and cook a meal, get us off to bed, and finally…FINALLY, she would have time for herself and my dad. Wow! I’m tired just reminiscing! I look at my own life as a wife and a mother and I pray that I can measure up to at least half of the woman that she is.”

Shanell

“My entire life I looked at her as a mother, I never looked at her as a person. I never realized how much she gave up for us to be our mother. She had goals and dreams. She had plans, but she chose to become a mother and that comes with sacrifices.”

Gina

“After becoming a mother I understood that my mom was not just a mom, but a person. And she did the best she could. When I became a mother I decided that I wanted to be better. Not better than her, but better than who I was at the time. The best I could was not enough. I wanted to unpack all my baggage and offer my children the best version of me. As I worked through my own trauma and unresolved issues, I realized how difficult it is to parent through pain. I began to understand my mother had probably been doing the same thing. I understood how exhausted she must have been. And how strong she was. I understood that there was no way for her to know if she was doing it right or if we would “turn out ok”.  (Especially the difficult child *raising my hand) I understood how terrifying that must have been. I accepted that her best had been good enough.”

Kathleen

“How intentional she was about having us around people, outside of her and my dad, who genuinely loved us. Currently I’m trying to build that for my children. This was beneficial [for my parents] because they had a lot of quality time, but creating a community of love for us was important as well. And I see the importance of that, and being intentional about it, now that I’m a mother.”

Carol

“When you think your kids aren’t listening, they really are.”

Tina

“Since becoming a mother, I understand better the love and forgiveness that
my mother exemplified. Her love was not one size fits all, but she catered to our individual needs like only a mother can. As far as forgiveness, I can still hear her show us and tell us ‘Don’t turn rail for rail.'”

Mrs. Raytha

Whether your baby is still a baby or you’re mothering a pre-teen or you have adult children or you’ve been blessed to now be called a grandmother, I pray you remember that even when it doesn’t seem like it or you don’t feel you’re equipped, God is using you to influence generations to come.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! (November 2020)

Psalms 139:13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

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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:

The Compliment: It Was Alright

I started this month off talking about celebrating my friends and the importance of acknowledging their wins (click here). However, this past Thanksgiving, my sisters brought to my attention that I struggle to give them compliments. I literally laughed out loud because they were right. Out of the three of us, I come in last when it comes to passing out compliments. If I have on a nice outfit, my younger sister will say, “Ok, I see you!” If my older sister enjoys a post, she’ll text me and say, “You did that!” If I enjoy a meal they prepare, my response? “It was alright.”

They slightly overexaggerated because every once in a while, I will acknowledge something they did well. And to tell you the truth, they were complaining but I think they enjoy my usual reaction. I say it was alright, they call me a hater, I say whatever, they say I never have anything nice to say, I agree with them. It’s a whole thing we do. I’m good at celebrating their big wins, but the daily, mundane things, I would rather be a jerk about. Is it right? Eh, I guess not. Is it something I want to change? Not really. Is it something I should change? Maybe.

I know all siblings have unique relationships and this is the relationship I have with my sisters. If I’m being honest with myself, this is the relationship I’ve had with most people in my life until recently. My younger sister has told me for years that my expectation of people is so high and I can be hyper critical if things are not my idea of perfect. So, I have tried to be more intentional about pointing out the little things that I do like when I’m among friends and not just waiting for the “big” stuff, but this has not quite transferred over to my sisterships. Although I like the pattern I’ve settled into with my sisters, I do plan on adding a few more compliments throughout the year (not too many though; have to stay true to who I am lol).

Maybe you always give compliments. Maybe you’re like me, and when you give a compliment your friends and family think something is wrong. Whichever category you fall into, this week, take the time to compliment someone you don’t normally compliment. Or give someone a compliment about something you often overlook. Tina your hair looked nice last weekend. Lethee, I liked your maroon swimsuit. Savor these until March or so because until then, everything will be “it was alright” 😊

Proverbs 15:4 Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. (NLT)

December 2019

Walking Down Stairs

I was walking behind a little girl and her mother the other day. The little girl was holding a cup in one hand and her wallet in the other, and as she glided along this breezeway, she hummed along with the song that was playing overhead. When we got to a set of stairs, her humming stopped. Her glide became careful steps, one foot placed delicately in front of the other as she balanced her cup and wallet. Eventually, she called out to her mom to wait for her. Her mom seeing her struggle, grabbed the cup and held on to the little girl’s hand and off they went. The apprehension the little girl appeared to be holding on to was replaced by her mother’s hand. Walking down the stairs became as easy as walking down the breezeway.

Sometimes we’re juggling a million and one things and we’re juggling them well. We’re handling all our work responsibilities, our church commitments, our family obligations, all of it. But then we find ourselves faced with a staircase we must walk down. The very things we were able to do with ease, now appear to be a challenge. The ideas aren’t flowing like they once were, events are starting to overlap, sticking to the routine feels impossible. You’re still putting one foot in front of the other, but you’re scared you’re going to fall. I encourage you to let someone hold your cup for you; let them grab you by the hand and help lead you down the stairs.

We don’t have to do it all, all of the time, all by ourselves. God has someone there who is more than willing to help you.

Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

November 2020

30 is Almost Here…

Last year I created a list of 29 things I wanted to accomplish by my 30th birthday (click here). Well, I didn’t get everything done but…

1. See Kirk Franklin in concert

My only goal was to go to Kirk Franklin’s concert but an opportunity presented itself in June to hear him speak, then I waited in a lonnnnngggg line to take a picture with him and it was amazing. I went to his concert in July and my sister and I met his tour manager, randomly, who gave us a heads up that Kirk Franklin would be taking pictures with fans after the concert. So, right before the concert ended and they announced to everyone what would be taking place, we made our way to the line and that’s how I became best friends with Kirk Franklin!

June 2019

 

July 2019

2. Go to Poets in Autumn

This has been a tradition for me and my friend Kahri for the past 5 or so years (although I abandoned her in 2018, a little bit lol).

October 2019

3. Go to the beach

I went to the beach quite a bit my 29th year of life which makes me smile.

December 2019

4. Get a massage

I also got a few massages this past year and they were well needed.

5. See Alvin Ailey Dance Company

I’m honestly sad I didn’t take pictures at this event. But it was such a great experience.

6. Go to a karaoke bar

This almost didn’t take place but a wonderful person made sure it happened. I wasn’t nervous about it until I realized I was really doing it and I’m so glad I did. (this is a screenshot of the video)

March 2020

 

7. Go to a vegan restaurant

It was edible. I’m glad I was able to support a black business and that a black business offers food options such as this. Nothing I would eat on a regular basis though.

October 2019

8. Get laptops for my class

I was able to do this because of my wonderful friends and family and I’m grateful for them all!

9. Be featured on someone’s blog/vlog/column

My best friend, Crystal, launched into the blog world this year and I’m so proud of her. She gave me a shout out on her Valentine’s Day post. Click to read all about it!

Is Love Possible For You?

10. Go to therapy

Crystal also encouraged me to go to therapy. When I initially put this on my list, I was in a different emotional place and I actually tried one therapist and it didn’t work with that one. By the time I talked to Crystal about therapy again, some time in November, life wasn’t terrible but I knew it could be better. I wrote about my experience here.

11. Get my hair done consistently

Consistently is a strong word. I got my hair done more than I usually do though, so go me! Shout out to my stylist, my sister, Jalethea.

June 2019

12. Go on a hike

So I’m going to be honest, I don’t remember going hiking but I’m pretty sure I did so we’re just going to say I did.

13. Go to a house warming

My friend Gary got his own place and I was fortunate enough to celebrate with him!

14. Meet someone new, who I know will be a lifelong friend

I’ll write more about this at some point but know that God will send you who you need when you need them and it’ll be life-changing.

15. Go camping

This counts. I was in a tiny cabin in the middle of nowhere. It counts.

July 2019

16. Hold a conversation with someone I don’t know but look up to

At the Kirk Franklin concert I got to talk to Ezekiel Azonwu, one of the poets from Poets in Autumn who I believe is one of the masterminds behind the tour. I was able to tell him how much I enjoy his work and how I appreciate his dedication to his craft and it shows in the quality of his content. It was a great moment.

17. Show up for a friend who really needs me

I was blessed to show up for a few friends this year and I’m grateful.

18. Take my goddaughter to a tea party

This wasn’t an actual tea party but we did go get tea together from a tea shop. She wasn’t a big fan but I was happy to be with her. (she also stepped in dog poop that day so I got the pleasure of cleaning that. Precious memories.)

September 2019

 

I have a day to get the rest of this stuff done…

1. Go to a dance class (If not for the Coronavirus…)

2. Perform at an open mic (And yet again, the Coronavirus…)

3. Do at least 3 Testimony Tuesdays (I did do one)

4. Buy another book bag (someone’s getting this for my birthday)

5. Go to Colorado (I was supposed to go on April 9 but the… yea, you know)

6. Write a full song (I wrote lines for multiple songs)

7. Pet a monkey (I did see them!)

July 2019

8. Read 10 books (I read 3)

9. Write a happy poem about my dad (this might happen tomorrow)

10. Finish one of my book ideas (I have started the first chapter)

11. Speak at an event (not including my local church; I was actually supposed to but we ran out of time)

My 29th year of life was AMAZING. I accomplished so much, went to so many places, and enjoyed the company of so many great people. I don’t know what 30 will bring but I pray you’ll join me for the ride! HAPPY (early) BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!

 

Proverbs 31:10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies

Do Your Own Work

You all remember in school when the teacher allowed you to work in pairs but said everyone had to show their own work? If you had a good partner, you all collaborated, both contributed ideas, worked together to come up with an answer. If you had a not so good partner, either they waited for you to do all the work then copied your answer or they were unwilling to let you do any of the work and insisted you copy their answer. In both cases, both parties didn’t do their own work. Too many times in relationships, whether they be romantic, friendships, parent/child, coworkers, we’re unwilling to do our own work. It’s always someone else’s fault that we are the way we are. We take what others give us, and don’t contribute our own ideas and thoughts to the situation. We think we know it all, and won’t allow the other person to have a voice.

You may have had a rough childhood, but it doesn’t give you the right to be a rude adult. You have to do your own work and stop blaming mommy and daddy. This may mean going to therapy and figuring out how to break the cycles you’ve found yourself entrenched in. Maybe she cheated, but you made the choice to stay, so now you do the work of helping to mend the broken bridge and not look to her to fix it all. This may mean saying less and listening more or speaking up for yourself when you notice things getting off track.

As believers, we can’t have good relationships if we don’t have a good relationship with the Father. He’s already sent His son to do the work, it’s up to us to do our part. I don’t know about anyone else but when me and God aren’t on the best terms, I’m very difficult to be in a relationship with. I’m not as kind, as patient, or as understanding as I should be. I say mean things and I’m not sorry about it, I’m just not nice. Me, myself, and I have to not only make it right with God, I have to be accountable with the people here on earth that I call friends and family. That could mean praying more and reading my bible more often. It could also mean apologizing to my friends and family and not passing it off as, “they know how I am.” And part of this work, is taking steps to keep from making the same mistakes. This could come in the form of keeping that mean thought to myself or speaking up for myself when my needs aren’t being met.

I’m learning that I can’t look for other people to maintain good relationships with me. If I’m choosing to be in relationships, I’m choosing to do my own work. And I’m also learning that not everyone wants to do their own work and I’m unwilling to let them copy mine.

July 2019