Sundays With Rae

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

On Behalf of My Insecurities

June 2021

The other day I asked myself if I was responding to a situation from a place of confidence or insecurity. In that moment, I realized it was the former but I also realized that sometimes it’s the latter. The word insecurity has always felt like a bad word to me. Something I know exist but I feel like it shouldn’t. So much so, sometimes I dress it up as something else. Pride, ignorance, uninterested, and the list goes on. To embrace, “not knowing” and “uncertainty” is a scary feeling, but it’s necessary.


It’s not about being wrong as much as it’s about being wrong about something I “should” already know. That carries with it a level of shame and embarrassment that I really don’t like feeling. But sometimes people know more than us. Sometimes our ideas are not the best ideas. Those truths do not make what we bring to any table with sit at, any less valuable. I am learning to be open to being challenged without feeling like I am being threatened or that I’m inferior or deficient.


For me, sometimes it goes beyond what I “should” already know; sometimes my insecurities are rooted in being unsure of how others may respond to what I know or what I believe or who I am. I can recall a time when my friends told me a group of people didn’t like me. My friends were joking but because I strived to be liked by everyone and couldn’t bear the thought of someone not liking me, I pressed them for more details. In the pouring rain, I refused to let them inside my car until they told me who these people were and what exactly they said. I shudder with embarrassment thinking about how I responded that day. However, I am pleased to say that if I were faced with that same situation today, I would be okay with finding out someone didn’t like me. I understand now that I may not be everyone’s cup of tea and that doesn’t make me a failure or unlikeable, it makes me who I am and I like her, which is what’s most important.


I have made great gains in this area of my life but there is still a lot of work to do. Too often, I’ve allowed my insecurities to speak for me. I respond to what I’ve heard, instead of what was said. And don’t get me wrong; sometimes people say things and there is more to it than what was said but we should ask about “the more,” instead of assuming what “the more” is. Our insecurities force us to look at ourselves in the mirror and acknowledge the not so pretty parts that we thought we were hiding well. Why are we triggered by the things we’re triggered by? What does my response say about me? What am I afraid will happen if I consider another’s perspective?


As comfortable and familiar as our insecurities can feel, they are not very good security blankets. I work really hard to allow my confidence to rest in God and not my insecurities. I am intentional about questioning my doubts instead of accepting them as truths. I am surprised that after all this time, I still struggle with this but I’m convinced practice makes perfect. So I’ve given myself permission to fall and trust God to help me get back up and I can say that I’ve created a lot more distance between falls.


Jeremiah 17:7 But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. (NLT)

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

But What If?

September 2020

So I was watching this movie called “Irreplaceable You.” If you’re looking to cry and be in your feelings, this is the movie for you. If not, just read this post and be happy. At some point in the movie, they talked about planning and being prepared for the what if’s of life. It sounds like the responsible thing to do and in a lot of ways it can be, but it can also serve as a distraction from what is.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know I’ve been planning my wedding since I was a little girl. You know I can be a perfectionist (read more here). You know I have an interesting relationship with time. You know I missed out on a lot of the good after my dad died (read more here). And as carefree as I can be with my day to day plans, sometimes I struggle with letting God be God over my future (read more here). This past Summer, I talked a lot about trusting God through this pandemic. It got to the point though, that I was worrying more about the what if’s than trusting God with right now.

Of course, we have to plan for our futures and make responsible choices and prepare for the unexpected as much as we can, but we also have to live now. We can go over one thousand scenarios of how a situation may play out and still not account for some random factor that influences the outcome. All that time spent trying to predict the future, only to be met with a circumstance you never saw coming. I’ve done it too many times. Despite the many conversations I’ve had with God about giving my future to Him and allowing my desires to be His desires, and trusting His plan, I still have to tell myself, “Jocee, He’s got this. Enjoy your right now!”

What experiences and memories are you creating today that you will be able to look back fondly on? How are you spending time with the people you love today? What are you doing in terms of self-care this week? Spiritually, what can you do today to grow in the areas you need to grow in? The what-ifs of life will always be there. Because of them, we have to make certain adjustments and consider certain options but we don’t have to stop living life. So today, I’m reminding you that God’s got this and all you truly have is now.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Give and Take

It’s difficult to see God as a giver of love when you feel like He ripped it away from you, pulled it from underneath you while you were floating on cloud nine. You quickly realized, there really is no sunshine when they’re gone. You were taught God is love but the evidence you possessed of that love has vanished so you’re forced to truly learn to believe in what you can’t see. You don’t do this overnight. There are times when it doesn’t feel like God’s for you. When you not only question if He’s love, but you start to wonder if He’s even good. These are dark days and long nights but time passes and things happen, and light starts to peak through. One smile turns into another and joy no longer feels like a stranger. You no longer equate proof with truth. God helps your unbelief. You find a way to have hope and wait patiently for what you don’t yet see. You cling to a faith you didn’t know you were capable of holding on to. And soon enough, God reminds you that He’s still who He said He was. That He’s good and He’s love. And He may take, but He certainly gives.

Keep believing in what you can’t see and one day you’ll look up and find love staring you in the face.

1 Corinthians 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

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

Hope Through Thorns

Death always has a way of shaking my faith. Even before my father passed, I can remember being broken up when the singer Aaliyah died and crying real tears when my college professor’s father died. These are people I’d never met before but their deaths, along with many others, always made me give God the side eye. How were those closest to the deceased supposed to do life without them? Even before experiencing my own greatest loss, this seemed like an impossible task. And after living out the impossible daily, my faith is still shaken. Not broken, just shaken. This may be the thorn in my side and I’ll live with it, knowing God’s grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 9:12).

So this week I’ve been waiting for the latter part of what Jesus said in that verse, for His strength to be made perfect in my weakness. A gifted producer and songwriter named LaShawn “Big Shiz” Daniels died in a car crash on September 3, 2019. He was not someone I knew personally, in fact, the only reason I knew of him was because my sister made me watch the show “Tamar and Vince,” and he made frequent guest appearances. I had recently stumbled across his Instagram and marveled at him and his wife’s love for each other. It’s what I love and hate about social media: it gives you access to people’s lives you wouldn’t regularly have access to, which most times brings a smile across my face. However, on Wednesday instead of bringing a smile, it brought tears I refused to cry in the middle of the day but would eventually let flow like a leaky faucet. It brought uneasiness and a restless night in which I tried desperately to find sleep. Every post I saw spoke so highly of LaShawn and how he brightened every room he walked into. He was unapologetically himself no matter what crowd he was in. If any good could come from the past five days, it’s that I am encouraged to be who and how God made me, wherever I am.

This wasn’t really my loss but I grieve the suffering those who know him are experiencing. It was their loved one this time, but it could very well have been mine. None of it makes sense and it doesn’t seem fair, but as believers even when faced with such pain, we still choose to trust God. It’s been hard to say that these past few days. Literally, bringing tears to my eyes because my heart and mind don’t believe it but my soul knows it’s true. I have hope and I pray LaShawn’s wife, children, family, and friends find a way to have hope too.

Romans 8:24-25 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

August 2019

Say Something

Per usual, I was having a conversation with a friend about grief and I told her that healing doesn’t mean not feeling. I thought about all the times I walked around not feeling anything because I didn’t have the energy or time to do so. There was always something more important to focus on. Work, church, family, friends, always something. I didn’t realize my cup was full and this grief was spilling over into every area of my life. I didn’t notice how many plans I cancelled or didn’t bother to make. I didn’t notice how careful my interactions were with others, afraid they’d ask too many questions. I didn’t notice how quiet my dreams had become.

I told my friend a lot of stuff that she probably already heard or wasn’t interested in hearing, but I wish I told her about Job. When my dad passed, I turned to the Book of Job, for what I thought would bring me hope and solace, after all, growing up in church I always heard how Job was faithful to God even after he lost everything… That’s not exactly how the story went. Job was not praising God all the day long while he went through. He wasn’t pretending nothing was wrong. To put it quite frankly, Job was not here for what God was allowing him to go through and he didn’t mind telling his friends and God about it. Maybe Job didn’t curse God, but he cursed the day he was born. He had no problem displaying his grief by tearing his clothes and shaving his head. In fact, in Job 7:11, Job says he won’t be quiet, but he’ll talk about his anguish and he’ll complain from his bitter soul. Job refused to suffer in silence like so many of us do. We think we’re doing everyone a favor, including ourselves, by not grieving so loudly, but it’s killing us softly. Job was as faithful as they come, and even he acknowledged the pain he endured.

Everyone’s process is different but I’m of the belief we can’t talk grief out in our heads. For some it means going to counseling, for others it means going to lunch with a friend, for others talking to God out loud, and still others it means writing a book about it. Or you may be like me and have to do all of the above (a lot of times). Just because you can’t “feel” grief or maybe you ignore it, doesn’t mean it’s not there, begging for your attention, wanting you to share it so you don’t have to bear the load by yourself. Your display of grief may not be as elaborate as Job’s, but its affect on your life can be just as impactful. I’m going to tell you like I told the little girl at my school who wouldn’t speak up for herself: “you better open your mouth and say something.”

Chicago, IL (April 2019)

Do it for the Lord

Some years back there was a video of a little girl saying she wasn’t going to do it for the vine but eventually she does (one of my favorite videos). In our daily lives we are presented with a host of opportunities to do something for the Lord, and we don’t. It’s not comfortable, the other person doesn’t deserve it, or perhaps they do deserve whatever treatment you’re giving them, it’s not in the budget, it’s not part of the plan, or maybe you just don’t want to. I’ve been there more times than I want to count and often times felt justified in my not doing. But that’s not how God has called us to live our lives.

Colossians 3:23 says “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” As to the Lord. As to the Lord. One more time for the Holy Ghost, as to the Lord. Not my comfort level, not someone else’s “worth,” not my plans, not my budget… as to the Lord. One of my favorite songs is “For Your Glory,” by Tasha Cobbs and the lyrics say “For Your glory, I will do anything…” And every time I sing that part, I feel it deep down in my bones.

Unfortunately, that feeling leaves when my mom ask me to look up her flight information when she is just as capable as I am or when I’m asked to teach Sunday School when I would rather sit in the Senior class. “For Your glory, I will do anything…” I’m not doing my mother or the church a favor because everything I do should be as to the Lord. All for His Glory.

And I know: you’re ALWAYS doing for others. Shouldn’t you be allowed to say no sometimes? You definitely should say no sometimes but if you say yes, don’t blame anyone else because you made the choice to help. When we go out of our way or allow our day to be inconvenienced to help someone, we don’t get brownie points. Jocee, you don’t get brownie points. It’s my reasonable service; the least I could do because I’m doing it as to the Lord.

So when you’re asked to do something, especially when you don’t want to, remind yourself to do it as to the Lord. Don’t half do it because they asked at the last minute. Don’t expect something in return because you did it when you didn’t have to. Don’t complain about doing it. Do it as though God Himself were asking you to. Do it for the Lord.

December 2018