Sundays With Rae

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

Filling Time With Feelings

I recently told someone it’s been May 20th the past couple of days in my world. Time has become such a fluid concept for me (which I’m sure my bosses did not appreciate considering I had deadlines to meet). However, as a child, I was obsessed with time. I wore ugly sports watches well into high school because I always wanted to know what time it was. Now, it just doesn’t seem to be that important. The days come and go. I’ve had really great days and other days, not so much. I’ve talked to friends a lot more than I usually would have. I’ve stayed up way past my bedtime most nights. I’ve read books. I haven’t written as much as I’ve wanted to. I’ve cooked (yes, me, I cooked). I’ve done bible plans. I’ve exercised. I’ve loathed video conferences. I’ve cried. I’ve taken breaks from social media and the news. I’ve prayed. I’ve laughed. I’ve done a whole lot since the world took a “kind of” pause but I’m realizing through writing this, that I’ve let a lot of time just go by.

Some days I’ve been really intentional. Sometimes I intentionally rested and sometimes I intentionally completed tasks, but I haven’t had enough of those intentional days. With that in mind, I’m going to do more to fill my time with things I set out to do (being intentional) instead of just going to bed at 4am, clueless as to how it got to be so late and unsure of what I’ve done with the day (being lazy). That may look like me sleeping in until noon some days and other days getting up at 8am (probably not going to do much earlier than that unless I’m highly motivated). That may look like reading a book for four hours or binge watching “A Different World.” That may look like praying/mediating for an hour or listening to music while playing Candy Crush Soda Saga. That may look like doing a video call with my college friends or harassing my younger sister about whatever comes to mind. That may look like writing about everything and nothing or looking up recipes I’m not going to make. And that may still look like, “today we’re going to just see what happens,” sometimes. We don’t all have to start a new business or become fitness gurus (shout out to those of you who did though; I can’t tell you how proud I am to call y’all friends!) but we all have to be responsible for what we do with our time. I want to fill my time with things that feel right for me. I want to look back and be able to say time did not pass me, but I decided how I passed it.

As in control as I thought God was, this whole pandemic has shown me just how true that is. He is working things out for good, and even after we get to our new normal, I always want to fill time with feelings.

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.

May 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

Pause in the Plan

Guess who doesn’t have to go to work until further notice? Me, I don’t. Of course I’m beaming with excitement! I thought I would get a day or two but it’s going to be at least a week, probably two. As a single person with no kids who will still be getting paid, this is honestly like an early Spring Break for me. We’ll probably have to make up some of the time, but I’ll deal with that then. In the midst of my joy, I realize what I’m considering a vacation, for many it’s a disruption in their life they didn’t see coming and they don’t know how they’ll recover.

Their kids are out of school, but they have to go to work. They don’t have to go to work but they’re also not getting paid. One of their family members is sick and they have to take care of them. Appointments they’ve had for months have been canceled because offices are closed. Events they have been looking forward to are no longer happening. Trial dates have been postponed. They have no idea what their tomorrow will be. It’s like everything has been put on pause.

We’ve all experienced a pause in our lives, maybe not to this degree, but in some way or another, things don’t end up going the way we think they will when we think they will. We wait. And we hope. And we pray. This is the trying of our faith. Can we really trust God? Will He really see us through? Did we hear Him right? Yes, yes, and yes! This pause doesn’t mean the plan won’t come to fruition and it doesn’t mean it won’t be difficult but know that God is working it out. There is a grand scheme of things we are not privy to. It’s easy for me to say all these things while sitting in the position I’m in but trust me when I say there have been so many moments when I didn’t believe, and I desperately wanted to. God is faithful, He always has been and always will be. Lean into Him through this pause and know that you’re coming out on the other side.

Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

February 2020

To read more about waiting, click here and here and here

Saying No

I recently had to tell a friend no to a very important request. I knew the request was coming and every time I thought about saying no, my stomach turned a little. Even though I knew it was the right decision, it didn’t make me feel any better about it because I don’t like saying no. It feels like I’m letting the person down; almost as though their life can’t continue if they don’t have my yes. I know how ridiculous that sounds. To think I have that much influence in someone’s life, is just not realistic. It’s like saying God can’t use anyone but me and I know that’s not true.

The past six or so months, I’ve attempted to master the skill of saying no. Not because I don’t want to be helpful to others, but because some circumstances are not helpful to me. It causes stress that affects other areas of my life. Sometimes I don’t have any room on my plate for anything else and instead of trying to pile something else on, I need to say no. I can be a better friend, employee, family member, and Christian when I can give a whole hearted yes and not an obligated yes. When I do the latter, I find myself resenting the person because I said yes. They didn’t force me; I made a choice. And I’ve started choosing to say no more often.

There are times in life when saying yes is inconvenient and we simply don’t want to, but it allows us to be a blessing and we should say yes. It can be difficult to differentiate between those times and the obligated yes. I’m still figuring that part out, but one tip I can give you is to truly seek God first. No agenda, no preconceived notions, just a simple “what would You have me to do, God?” Trust the answer He gives you and if it’s a no, trust that the people in your life will accept your no as the best answer you could give.

Colossians 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

February 2020

Loved Me Clean

I can recall going to babysit my goddaughter and when I arrived, she and her sister were outside coloring with chalk. Some of the chalk made it on the sidewalk but most of it was on her. Like, all over her. As soon as I got out of my car, she yelled “Hi, Jocee! I coloring.”  To which I responded, “I see,” and prayed to God she didn’t touch me. I know I work with kids but I was off the clock. And I’m not saying I wouldn’t have cleaned her up if necessary, but thankfully her parents were there. Without a second thought, when it was time to clean up, they worked together to get the two colorful ones, less colorful, and I played with the clean third child. God is more like my goddaughter’s parents and less like me. It doesn’t matter what mess we’ve made, He loves us all the same and is more than willing and able to clean us up.

My goddaughter was completely unbothered by the mess she made. It was fun and she probably would have stayed out there all night if her parents had let her. She didn’t realize it probably wasn’t a good idea for the chalk to stay on her and if she didn’t wash it off it would get on everything she touched, even the things she didn’t want it to. This is how sin affects us. We think we’re living our best life, not realizing we’re making a mess. What was only suppose to go on for a little while, ends up becoming our lifestyle.

Thankfully, God loves you enough to clean you and every part of your life that was affected. He doesn’t focus all of His attention on those who are already clean; He specializes in those who are a mess. Sometimes He has to clean you while you’re kicking and screaming, but choose to want to be clean today.

Psalms 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

June 2019

Hurdles Are Not Finish Lines

I ran track in middle school. I was slow so I ran the mile but I was always infatuated with the hurdles. My teammates, who were much faster and more athletic than me, made jumping over each one look easy. I tried a number of times and every time I got to the hurdle, running full speed ahead, I would stop. No matter how much I talked myself up and how encouraged I felt, when I got to the hurdle, that was it. Finally my friend, the expert hurdler on the team, got tired of seeing me struggle, and she said “girl, just jump! You’re stopping before you start.” And she was right. The hurdle always ended my race. What was meant to propel me forward, I let stop me. We do the same thing when faced with challenges in life. Instead of jumping over to the other side and continuing the journey we’re on, we stop.

The loan didn’t come through. No one showed up at the event. The reviews weren’t good. They died. You didn’t pass the test. They picked someone else. The marriage didn’t work out. There are all types of hurdles that look like finish lines. We say, “well, I tried” or “I guess it wasn’t meant to be.” We close that chapter, not realizing there was more to the story. Keep going. Keep trying. Jump! I did, and I made it across the first hurdle and all of the others.

Today I’m encouraging you to jump over that first hurdle you come across; don’t let it end your race. Ok, you’re uncomfortable. Ok, it took longer than you thought. Ok, it’s going to take more money. Ok, you have one less friend. JUMP! And keep running the race. God hasn’t brought you this far to throw in the towel. He’s more than able to help you over that hurdle. Trust Him.

Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

February 2020

2 Years and Counting…

There are bloggers much more successful than I am, meaning they have more followers, they get paid to write, they post more frequently than I do, and a list of other things. But I realize my goal with this blog was never to gain a lot of followers, make money, or become a social media influencer. My goal was simply to encourage and help someone feel less alone in this world. And by that standard, I have been successful. I feel like I’m truly doing God’s will when someone tells me they read my blog and it helped them or they shared it with someone they thought needed to read it.

Of course there have been times when I felt like a particular post didn’t get enough views but I reminded myself of my goal. God may have given you a task, maybe to write a book, start an organization, start a blog, begin a new career, go back to school, whatever it is, make sure you know why you’re doing it. You won’t always have the support you think you need, the outcome won’t always be what you imagined, but as long as you’re fulfilling your why, I believe God is pleased and that’s the ultimate goal. Here are a few tips to help you stay focused on whatever that task is:

Be consistent – Whatever you say you’re going to do, commit to doing it. Don’t commit to something crazy because it sounds good or the next person is doing it. Commit to what you know you can do.

Invest some money – I’m not saying spend your life’s savings but we tend to take things more seriously when our money is involved.

Trust God – There’ll be times when you question if you heard God right because nothing seems to be coming together but take Him at His Word.

Thank you for all your support!

January 2020

You Have Food at Home

One of my goals this year (and every year before now) is to dine out less. I use the term “goal” loosely… very loosely. It’s something I would like to accomplish but I’m not working hard to accomplish it. I don’t have a plan but it feels like something I should say I want to do. It’s so easy to pick up some lemon pepper wings or an eight count nugget meal; there’s a place to stop on almost every corner. Even when I buy groceries, most of the time the food spoils because I don’t feel like cooking. But when I finally make enough money to hire a personal chef, I’ll be able to say, “I have food at home.”

Many of us have decided we’re going to have more peace this year and experience more joy, but the worries of this life seem to be everywhere we turn. We’ve been living how we’ve been living for years and peace and joy seem to require too many steps, they’re too costly; attaining either is an inconvenience we’d rather not encounter. But what if I told you, God already has it for you? That He sent His son to do the work and pay the cost so you could enjoy the outcome? What you want, you already have if you’re walking with Jesus. He’s cooked up a meal full of joy and peace with love. You don’t have to go anywhere else to get it, simply go home and enjoy all that God has prepared for you!

When doubt and worry try to tempt you, remind yourself you already have peace. When anger and sadness are within your reach, don’t be afraid to say you already have joy. As humans we go through a range of emotions, but don’t be so quick to indulge in every emotion, every time, for such a long period of time. Don’t be so quick to hold on tight to the things you say are weighing you down. Choose what God has already given you. Even if you can’t taste the joy and peace yet, keep making your way towards home.

Something New

Those who know me well know that my favorite holidays are my birthday and Valentine’s Day. Both are real holidays so don’t try to convince me of otherwise; I’ll simply think you’re delusional. New Year’s Day is slowly slipping into this category of favorite holidays. I’ve always looked forward to setting goals and creating vision boards. It’s like no matter what happened the previous year, I made it to the new one and it’s filled with all these unknowns I’m excited to uncover. Of course I can’t predict the low moments and I don’t anticipate them; I choose to take them as they come. Those good times though… The ones I can’t even dream up if I tried, experiences that will unexpectedly etch a happy place in my heart, creating connections that will last a lifetime, this is what New Year’s Day represents to me: the hope of everything good.

I know we can choose any day to start new and make plans and set goals, but I like that there is a particular day we acknowledge something new, marking the beginning of whatever will be. On January 1, 2013, I was happy about the possibilities the year held, completely unaware my dad would die almost 11 months later but I won’t discount that moment on January 1. I’m learning not to allow an event, no matter how impactful, to define time. It may influence my view of a particular time in my life, but I won’t let it take the joy out of the happy days and the wonder that filled them.

I’m not sure what 2019 was like for you, how many wins and losses and everything in between you took but expect great things in this new year; I do, and God willing, I always will.

Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

December 2019

You Might Need Stitches

I’ve gotten stitches once in my life (aside from minor dental procedures). Something about a glass table breaking and me getting a cut in my mouth. I don’t remember the incident but if I look inside my mouth, I can see the scar. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if my parents did nothing about the wound. Would it have ever closed? Would it have gotten infected and caused more damage? How much more pain would I have endured? What if they tried to put a band aid on it? Too often, we choose band aids, over stitches. We put a band aid on an open wound, only for weeks and months to go by and it’s worse than it was before. You find yourself in a lot more pain, causing more damage than there ever should have been.

Whether it was someone talking to you crazy, a loved one passing, a relationship ending, or a friend not showing up like you thought they would; we’ve all suffered some sort of hurt in relation to another person. We’ve been wounded. With some of these wounds, you pour hydrogen peroxide on it, slap a band aid on there and it’ll heal just fine. Maybe all it takes is a conversation with the person or saying a prayer, and you’re good to go. Other wounds require more extensive measure, like stitches, for the best possible outcome. Some of us have been shot in the face and we’re treating it like a skinned up knee.

People around us will encourage us to go get seen by a doctor, but we’ll say we’re okay. We’ve gotten use to the pain, and don’t even notice the damage is spreading. We just keep putting a new band aid on. We say we forgive but don’t really mean it and every argument is worse than the last. We say we’ll change but we don’t and keep getting the same results. We say we’ve gotten a handle on our grief but can’t tell you the last time we’ve felt joy. We say we’re over the break up but spend most days wondering what could have been. You need stitches, not band aid after band aid in the form of fake smiles, alcohol and drugs, and nice looking Sunday outfits.

What do these stitches look like? It’s always going to start with going to God, the greatest physician of them all. Wounds close, when we allow God to heal. We allow Him to stitch every part of our day. Wounds heal when we’re willing to follow whatever directions He gives. If He says to keep the area wrapped, we keep it wrapped. This may mean not saying everything you feel. If He says keep the area clean, we keep it clean. Be mindful of the thoughts you think and the company you keep. If He says rest, rest. Stop buying everything you can think of, trips included, to try to make yourself feel better. If He gives you an antibiotic prescription, take all of it. Read your Word and attend your local services, often. Wounds requiring stitches require more care and if you wish to be healed, you’ll see it was worth it.

And one last thing, your wound, is your wound. Maybe your friend went through a break up too, but she doesn’t seem as heart broken as you. It’s okay. The same injury can cause a different wound for different people. You just focus on knowing when YOU need a band aid and when you need stitches.

Psalms 103:2-4 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

July 2019