Sundays With Rae

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

Destinations and Journeys

Pursue purpose.
Be a goal digger.
Turn your hobby into your hustle.
Do the work you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

It’s what I keep repeating to myself, but I don’t seem to be measuring up to the expectation. Starting to second guess myself, every move I make drenched in hesitation. If what’s for me is for me, why do I have to work so hard? Why am I constantly having to pick myself up off the ground and lick my own wounds? No one said it would be easy, I just didn’t think it would feel like cruel and unusual punishment. That is until I suffer a win and my labor doesn’t quite feel like it was in vain. Long nights seem worth it. It’s only then that I embrace disappointment and failure no longer seems like an option. And I tell myself…

Pursue purpose.
Be a goal digger.
Turn my hobby into my hustle.
Do the work I love and I’ll never work a day in my life.

So even when I grow tired and weary, God help me remember this is who You called me to be. Head bowed under an open sky, trying not to cry, help me remember I was made for this and I’d be remiss if I let it pass me by. Remind me stop signs aren’t dead ends, there’s plenty of road ahead. So pedal to the metal, I can’t give up now. Keep me in the fast lane, I don’t want to slow down. There is no destination, this is the journey with plenty of sights to see. Help me take it all in as I…

Pursue purpose.
Be a goal digger.
Turn my hobby into my hustle.
Do the work I love and I’ll never work a day in my life.

 

Matthew 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible

 

June 2020

 

To read more about overcoming obstacles, click here.

Broken Things Work

December 2019

Yep, those are my car keys. I was attempting to open a package and without much force, the silver part went flying across the room. My spare key was in Florida (blame my parents) so my mom overnighted it to me, but I still had to go to my second job. How was I supposed to drive my car? I figured I’d try to use the broken key. It took a couple of tries and required a lot more effort than usual, but the car cranked! Over the course of the next 24 hours, I was able to turn my car on and off several times using the broken key. It took longer than usual, I had to watch what I was doing, I had to be careful (the black part came completely apart one of the times), but it worked. When my spare key finally arrived, it felt so good to turn the key in the ignition without worrying about steadying my hand so the silver part wouldn’t fall out. The broken key worked, but a key that wasn’t broken was better.

After my dad died, I took a week off, maybe less from school. I got all my assignments done and managed to graduate with a fairly decent grade point average and hopefully helped a few people along the way. I made it through, but I certainly wasn’t whole. I was my broken car key. I worked, I turned on and I turned off but I did not do it with the ease I once knew. It took longer to get things done and I found myself being more careful, afraid my emotions would get the best of me. Too often, we settle for broken keys. We think because we made it through the day, we did good enough. Family and friends check in with us and we list all these things we’ve accomplished, not willing to admit how much of a struggle it was. Or if we do admit it, we’ve accepted it as our life. We’ve decided there is no spare key coming to make life easier.

What if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way? I’ve said this a lot of times in one way or another and I’ll keep saying it: God wants you to live a happy, whole life. Bad times come, but it doesn’t have to be life as you know it. You don’t have to settle for a broken key barely getting the job done. You are deserving of a fully functioning key that doesn’t require much effort. Upgrade your life and get a push start! Just because something is working, doesn’t mean it can’t work better. Pray, go to church, go to therapy, read your bible, take that trip, read that book, take time off, turn off your phone, meet a friend for lunch. Whatever it takes, live life whole.

Luke 17:19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

 

 

Signed Up

As a child I never knew teachers were just as excited as students for breaks. And as a teacher, I’m still understanding that students sense a break coming just as much as we do. It’s like they want to make sure we deserve the break. After the last two weeks I’ve experienced, I can say I deserve it.

I’ve been hit, talked to crazy, yelled at, picked up crying 9 year old’s, broken up fights before 7:30am, had to ride the school bus so my student would get on, failed to get another on the school bus who simply refused, stayed way past 5pm to get done what didn’t get done, remained calm as my student experienced what felt like 35 different emotions in the span of an hour, and I kept showing up. Unfortunately, this is not a unique experience. Teachers and administrators who work in environments similar to mine will echo similar stories, if not worse. And on top of everything we’ve had to deal with, we’re still faced with the responsibility to teach.

Someone asked my principal how he was doing because of all the craziness we had been dealing with and his response was, “I’m good. This is what I signed up for.” Back in May I discussed what it took to teach at my school and how I chose to work where I work and I’ve had to remind myself of this choice these past two weeks. I’ve had to tell myself these students still need to learn to add and subtract and sound out unfamiliar words and write a sentence. They still need me to do my job in spite of having to do a million and one other things that aren’t in the job description. I’ll never get paid enough or receive the recognition others may think I’m worthy of, but I assure you no one goes into this profession for the money or fame. You do it because you think you can help a child be better than they are today. It literally brings tears to my eyes knowing I won’t be able to help them all but it won’t be because I didn’t try.

I would prefer not to endure more weeks similar to the last two, but I’m committed to showing up and trying even if they are. I’m also committed to self-care and making sure I’m well so I can show up as the best version of myself which means enjoying every moment of this break. After all, like my principal said, this is what I signed up for.

Shameless plug: If you are wanting to show a teacher you appreciate them and the work they do, consider donating to my project to help my students get laptops. Part of my job is to teach my students how to navigate in the world outside of the classroom which involves knowing how to interact with technology. Your donations will help me do this. Thanks in advance! https://www.donorschoose.org/project/the-world-at-our fingertips/4318295/?utm_source=dc&utm_medium=directlink&utm_campaign=teacherhub&utm_term=teacher_5173652&rf=directlink-dc-2019-11-teacherhub-teacher_5173652&challengeid=21140514

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me

October 2019

Tired and Faithful

So let me tell you all about my blessing a couple of weeks ago. I teach school full time and I also tutor and work as a behavior technician. It’s always a long week but I’m grateful because this past summer I asked God to create opportunities for me to make more money, and He did just that. With these new responsibilities, it’s easy to neglect the things I’ve been doing but I’ve done my best to remain faithful. Welp, that faithfulness was tested one Wednesday evening.

I was already tired from my full time job and then I had to drive almost an hour away to go tutor. I was about 98% sure I wasn’t going to bible study. I was going to be late anyway and I just didn’t want to be there. After getting through my tutoring session, I said “Jocee, we can just go home,” but as I got closer to my church’s exit, the Holy Ghost kept telling me to go to bible study. So I took my tired self to bible study.

I walked in and one of my favorite deacons was leading a discussion about winning souls for Christ and meeting people where they are. This is an area I struggle in and I walked away feeling better prepared to share my faith with others. If that wasn’t enough, one of my favorite family of cooks had some leftover food they were giving away. Lunch and dinner were taken care of for the next few days! I left both spiritually and naturally fed all because I pushed through my tiredness and remained faithful.

We pray for all types of things and when God gives them to us, we’re too tired to do any of the things we were doing before. We’re too tired to pray, too tired to read our Word, too tired to go to church, too tired to remain faithful in our positions at church. We’re just tired. Through our tiredness, we don’t realize God has more in store but we’re too tired to do what He’s already given us. If I had not gone to bible study that night, it may not have been the end of the world. Maybe I would have got into a car accident or maybe I would have gotten home safely and life go on. Our faithfulness isn’t always life or death, sometimes it’s just helpful. My faithfulness got me a good word and good food, something I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. There is a high chance I would have not found out about how good bible study was or that they were giving away food. It would have been a blessing I missed out on unknowingly. How many blessings are you willing to miss out on because you won’t be faithful?

And don’t get me wrong; it’s not a you do something for God and He’ll do something for you. We serve a good Father who gives good gifts, emphasis on gifts (Matthew 7:11). That same Father allows His Spirit to dwell in us and that indwelling should cause us to live a certain way and do certain things. My faithfulness doesn’t make me right with God, but because I am right with God, I am faithful. Don’t let your tiredness, cause you to miss what else God has for you.

John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

September 2019

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

God’s Expectation

All my friends who are pursuing and currently working in the film industry are the same. Every project they do, they give it 100%. Every. Project. It doesn’t matter how big or small or how much they’re getting paid (or if they’re getting paid at all), they always give it all they’ve got. They stay up all hours of the night to see the vision in their heads come to life. No matter what the expectation is, whether low or high, they always set the bar just barely within reach because they always want their work to be the best they could do. I believe this is how God calls all of us to pursue life. The work we do shouldn’t just meet our expectations, but it should be what God expects of us; our very best.

I’ve told you all before, I’m lazy. There is just no other way to explain it. Most things I do, I do just enough to get by. Enough for someone to say, “that was pretty good,” and even if they don’t, at least they can say I got it done. I’m aware it’s a very mediocre way to live life but it usually leaves me more time to watch TV (don’t judge me). This has served me well up until now. I’m in a season of my life where I’m asking God to do some pretty BIG things. I mean things I’m scared to say out loud but I’m crazy enough to believe Him for it. As I was praying about some of these things, God asked me if I’d be willing to meet His expectations. I literally paused because I knew my answer should be yes but I also knew what this “yes” meant. What’s BIG to me, is little for Him, but I know what I’m asking requires me to live a less mediocre life. It requires staying up all hours of the night. It requires being uncomfortable sometimes to get the job done. It requires showing myself friendly (Proverbs 18:24). It requires obedience, when sacrifice seems like enough (1 Samuel 15:22).

For someone like myself, who is in their winning season, God’s expectations have to become my expectations. There is no way around it. I can’t take shortcuts. I can’t half do it. Everything I do, I have to do my very best even if no one else expects it of me because all I long to do is meet God’s expectation of me.

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

June 2019

Testimony Tuesday: Jasmin

Jasmin is one of those people you meet and don’t forget. You can tell she loves what she does as a teacher and even when I met her and she had what most would call an “active” class full of first graders, the love of God still flowed through her. Growing up in a Baptist church, Jasmin was always familiar with God. Her grandmother did the work of an evangelist, her mother and sister sung in the choir, and her grandfather cooked in the kitchen. At the age of seven she accepted Jesus as her Lord and savior and after leaving her hometown of Upland, CA, to pursue her undergraduate degree, she still attended church faithfully. But, it wasn’t until after college that she truly cultivated her relationship with God. She began to develop a greater understanding of who God is and who the Holy Spirit is, and the role He plays in her life. The truth of God giving up His only begotten Son so she could live became very real for Jasmin and she started to live like it.

With this new knowledge, life still happened but there was a hope Jasmin continued to cling to. After graduating from college, Jasmin longed to work in the field of juvenile justice, but bills had to be paid so she started working at a car dealership. Within three years, she worked her way up to a Senior Sales Advisor position. Although the money was good, the hours were long and she knew this was not a forever job so she started taking classes to become a teacher. Jasmin always enjoyed working with kids and felt God leading her in that direction.

After completing her Master’s degree, she got a teaching job! Or so she thought. They would later call and tell her they could not hire her as a full time teacher but she could work as substitute due to a technicality. We all know a substitute teacher and a full time teacher is very different pay. Just when it felt like everything was falling into place, her world began crashing down. Thank God for praying mothers. Jasmin called her mother, they prayed, and within the next few hours, the school called back and said they would be able to hire her as a full time teacher. Jasmin knew it was only God that worked the situation out in her favor and it served as a reminder as to how real He is.

Jasmin will be the first to tell you that she spends a lot of time at church. There were moments when she felt as though she could be doing other things with her time but she came to the conclusion that it was more fulfilling to work for Christ than to focus on the things of the world. When faced with adversity, it can become difficult to stay faithful and not grow weary, but God has shown Jasmin time and time again the power of her faith and His consistent faithfulness, so she chooses to hold on.

For fun, Jasmin likes to shop (y’all she’s one of the most stylish people I know), spend time with her god babies, and mentor. She also serves as a youth minister at her church and can often times be found there serving the people of God in some way. She enjoys traveling and going on mission trips. Jasmin is currently a 1st grade teacher in the Atlanta area. You would never know it, but she is a MAJOR introvert.

Jasmin’s heart for God’s people speaks for itself. She has no idea how much she impacts the people around her and I’m grateful I’m one of those people. When I was considering buying my own home I was nervous about taking on such a huge responsibility but I thought about Jasmin. We never had a conversation about it but I remember hearing her talk about getting some stuff done around her house and I was encouraged to move forward with the process. Thank you for shining your light Jasmin!