Sundays With Rae

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

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)

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

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

Earthquakes After Midnight

It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about how I upset I was with God about my dad dying. I recently went through my Instagram page and scrolled through the years. I could see how hard I was trying to be happy, to live happy. I was being blessed in different areas of my life, but this loss was a thorn in my side and no matter how many times I went to God about it, it remained there. For me the thorn was the loss of my father but for you it could be a bad break-up, losing your job, or a physical ailment. No matter what you do, you just can’t seem to recover. You feel stuck in a prison of pain and God doesn’t seem to care. Little did I know, earthquakes come after a midnight praise.

Acts 16:40-60 tells the story of Paul and Silas and how having done nothing wrong they were beaten and thrown into prison. It does not say how long they were in prison but when midnight came they prayed and praised God. In the midst of their praise, there was an earthquake and the shackles that had them bound were broken and the door of the prison was opened. Despite how long you have been suffering and how beaten down you may feel, when your midnight comes and your prayer and praises have went forth, there will be an earthquake and you will be free.

My midnight came actually right after my church’s watch night service, going into 2017 when my goddaughter’s mom asked me if I had any godchildren. At that point I did not and I had no idea God would use my goddaughter as my earthquake. Despite how I felt prior to that moment, I trusted God. I didn’t know when He was going to bring me out or how but I believed He would. And through my prayers and praise, He did.

I had shed so many tears out of anger and sadness and frustration over my father’s loss, but when my earthquake came I found myself crying out of gratitude and happiness. Her staring at me, her laughing, her smiling, her rubbing my face, her talking, her eating solid foods, her spitting solid foods into my hand, her learning how to walk, just her. When you have been as sad as I have been, you cherish these moments no matter how insignificant they seem. My goddaughter has shown me that if I’m capable of experiencing such a profound level of hurt, I am also capable of experiencing that same level of joy. I am forever grateful to her parents.

Those who know me well will tell you I’m a gangsta (yes with an a, don’t debate me), so I’m not very expressive, but that changed last year. I’m still not walking around telling everyone I love them and hugging people (a post for another day), but I smile bigger and laugh louder and tell people how grateful I am for their presence in my life. I don’t think there was anything I could do to get to this place any faster. You can’t speed up time but you can take God at His Word. He said my mourning would turn into dancing (Psalms 30:11). He said joy came in the morning (Psalms 30:5). He said His strength is made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). And He is a God that cannot lie (Numbers 23:19).

Safiya and I

My goddaughter was my earthquake. Maybe your earthquake will be a new relationship, a friendship, a weekday service, a scripture, a child, or simply a whisper from God. Midnight is coming, go ahead and praise Him, because I assure you an earthquake will follow.

“And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.” Acts 16:26