Last night I watched the movie, “Malcom and Marie,” which was a 2-hour dialogue between a couple who had just come home from an awards ceremony. Malcom had won an award for a movie he produced about a 20 year old model/aspiring actress who had overdosed on drugs. Marie.. well.. I don’t care how many ways Malcom tried to spin the story.. Marie was his inspiration behind the movie. I’m not going to give away too much of the movie. I want to give you a chance to watch it because, I don’t know about you, I hate spoilers. So, I’ll just leave you with this:
Most women are nurturers. When we love someone, we tend to put their needs and feelings before our own. From the macaroni scene, to stifling her feelings, until the end, Marie was that woman. But did Malcom notice? Do men notice? Like Marie, most of us suppress our feelings, smile and keep going like we’ve never been hurt or bothered. Is it right? Heck, no! But it’s what we do. It’s who we are. Like most women, Marie didn’t want to steal Malcom’s shine. She just wanted to feel appreciated.
Hmm… Wonder what would happen if we started putting ourselves first?
Women, nurturers, Queens, thank you for your selfless acts of love. For acts that go unnoticed. For the things you do that are second nature. Thank you for holding households together while trying to maintain your own sanity. Thank you for your unconditional love. Thank you for loving hard even when it’s hard to love. Thank you for pressing forward through your tears. Thank you for being that rock. Thank you for the sacrifices you make so that others can excel. Thank you for being you. In my Tupac voice, “You are appreciated!”
I really should be asleep, but since I’m awake I’ll write. Was having a crazy dream about the rock band KISS, rappers Kid n Play, and eating dry cornbread in some fancy hotel room. Woke up coughing and reaching for water. I bet I can’t find KISS, Kid n Play, or dry cornbread in one of those dream book. Y’all, even while asleep, I’m being entertained. Gotta love life!
Anyhoo.. Yesterday I came across a photo I had taken at a conference. It was a picture of one of the speakers’ slides which read, “Preparation. Protection. Promotion.” I remember the speaker saying these are the steps God takes us through each time we embark on something new. First, we’re prepped for it. Meaning, we go through all kinds of tests and trials until God believes we’re ready to move to the next phase- Protection.
God’s protection zone is usually uncomfortable because it’s where nothing appears to be happening. You’re still in the preparation phase but you think you’re ready to shine. You know, it’s where you keep saying, “God, I’m ready!” and He responds with, “Not yet.” I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve gone through years of saying “I’m ready, Lord.” Only to hear Him say, “Be still. Not yet.” I’ve learned from experience that when He says to be still, I need to be still. It means I’m being protected. His method of protection reminds me of a parent protecting a child from touching something hot. The parent constantly tells the child not to touch the object because they’ll get burned. But once the parent turns their back, the child touches it. Lol. As I said, I’ve learned from experience to listen.
The protection phase isn’t as bad as it sounds. It’s where you get to make mistakes and no one seems to notice. You get to try what works and what doesn’t work. I guess you can say it’s the “trial and error” phase of the journey. The only problem I’ve had with this phase is that, it some situations, it can become too comfortable. Sometimes it becomes so comfortable that when God says it’s go time, you refuse to move. You make excuses for not moving forward. As usual, I’m not just writing this for you; as I write, God is speaking to me, too.
So, once God says you’re ready– which, from my experience, is when you feel the least prepared– comes the promotion. Promotion is scary, yet exhilarating; especially if you like adventures! However, promotion comes with a cost. Promotion comes with more exposure. More vulnerability. More responsibilities. As Biggie said, “Mo money, mo problems.” However, as Fred Hammond said, “No weapon formed against me shall prosper.” Y’all, I’m so grateful I have God in my corner. When the problems come, or I encounter situations that seem unbearable, He reminds me that I can handle anything that’s thrown my way because I’m His child. I’m royalty!
This year I’m walking into new adventures standing tall knowing that God’s with me every step of the way. Ready or not Shaun, it’s game time!
As always, thanks for reading my early morning ramblings. Now it’s time to go back to sleep.
Every morning, as soon as my great-great grandmother stepped foot out of bed, she would grab her huge white bible, flip to Psalm 23, and began reading– well, more like reciting– the entire chapter, aloud. Not a day went by that she didn’t do this. Y’all, I hate to admit this but it wasn’t until a few months ago that I realized this ritual set her mood for the day. That one chapter had her smiling, humming and singing all day long. Well… let’s just say that I choose to believe that’s what had her humming and smiling all day long.
Anyway, a few months ago, I decided I wanted to be like her and establish my own morning ritual by reading a chapter from the book of Psalms. However, I wanted my own chapter because, thanks to her, I already knew Psalm 23 by heart. Plus that was her chapter. Well, I’m not sure how or why I chose Psalm 113; however, once I read it I knew it was for me. Just for me. Here’s a snippet of what gets me going each morning.
Psalm 113:1-3 NIV
Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, you his servants; praise the name of the Lord. Psalm 113:1
Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and forevermore. Psalm 113:2
From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised. Psalm 113:3
As I said, this is just a snippet. There are six more verses in the chapter. I don’t know about you but the first three verses have me smiling already. Y’all, there’s just nothing like starting a day with praise.
Seems like the older I become the more death seems to bother me. I’m not saying I wasn’t bothered by it before, but it was just different. When I was younger I believed I would live forever. Now that I’m almost 50, I see things differently. I often feel like I’m in a race against time. Will I achieve my goals before death takes me away from here? I try not to think about death, but it’s hard not to. A week ago, one of my mom’s long-time friends passed. Two weeks before that, a couple my family used to attend church with, died within days of each other. Their son and I were classmates. Then, two days before Ms. Cicely Tyson passed, one of my friends texted me that her dad had just passed unexpectedly. It’s like death is lurking everywhere. Honestly, it’s becoming a little too much.
Y’all, I have so many questions that only God can answer. Am I in a race against death? Will I die before I achieve my goals? Will I live to see my dreams come to fruition? What is God’s definition of “fulfilling your purpose”? Because I believe we could possibly have two completely different definitions. Sometimes I feel like I should stop pursuing my dreams, goals, and purpose, and just settle where I am. You know, just be content with what is. I mean, it would be less stressful. Less time consuming. Less heartbreaking. Less complicated. So why do I want more? Why do I continue to live as if I have 50+ years ahead of me? Why am I still moving forward as if I can have anything imaginable? Why?
Smiling as I write because first of all, I’m actually a mother; and secondly, I’m a mother of a 26 year old queen. How? When? On most days, I still feel like I’m in my 20s.
So, around this time (6 a.m.) 26 years ago, I was trying to rest but couldn’t get comfortable. I was having contractions but they were only 7-10 minutes apart. The night before I had called my friend Sue, my unofficial birthing partner, to prepare her for what was next. Then, I called my other friend, Trina, who was the only one with a child and “experienced” in childbirth, to give her a heads up. Trina also lived across the street from the hospital so I had somewhere I could chill before checking into the hospital. I remember her saying not to have the baby until she got off work. Like I actually had control over when the baby would come. Y’all, we were so young and naive.
Well, around 2:00 p.m. my contractions were about 3-5 minutes apart. I’m just going to let y’all know, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing! I was following instructions I heard tv doctors give their pregnant patients, “Wait until the contractions are 2-3 minutes apart, then go to the hospital.” Y’all, I hadn’t called a doctor at all! The last time I called the doctor’s office was when I lost my mucus plug and that was days before. However, I did call Sue, who lived 30 minutes away in Ft. Walton Beach.
When she got to my house we grabbed my bag and headed… not to the hospital… but to Trina’s house. According to wonderful doctors like Heathcliff Huxtable, I needed to wait until the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart before heading to the hospital. So I was going to wait. By the time I arrived at Trina’s, I was so hungry. Hadn’t eaten anything all day because I heard some women used the bathroom while giving birth and that was the LAST thing I wanted to do. You see, my obstetrician was FINE!! Whew!! He had muscles everywhere! The last thing I wanted to do was use the bathroom while giving birth. But y’all, I was so hungry. First, I ate a bowl of ramen noodles. Then, I ate a little bit of every sugar-sweetened cereal she had in the house. Honestly, I don’t believe I knew what I was doing. I was in pain. I was trying to wait for the right moment to go to the hospital. Y’all, I was scared. All I knew to do was eat.
Anyway, once the contractions became unbearable, I went to the hospital and checked into labor and delivery. When I got there, I attempted to explained to the nurse that I was in labor. I don’t know what was going on that day but I remember her snapping at me and saying if I wasn’t dilated 4 cm they were going to send me home. That’s all she said and left me standing there. I guess the people in the waiting room felt sorry for me because they were the ones who got me a wheelchair and talked to me until Sue came up (she was parking the car). Everything that happened afterwards happened really fast. When the nurse checked me, I was more than 4 cm dilated. That’s when she actually tried to help. In hindsight, I guess I didn’t appear to be in labor. Like that’s a real thing. Believe me, the contractions were coming and I was in so much pain. But the cramps I endured during my menstrual cycles were far worse. So I just did what I did whenever I cramped, I beared it. I never once screamed or got out of character. I just took it.
Less than 3 hours later my baby was born. And no, I didn’t use the bathroom while having her. Lol. Another crazy thing happened afterwards. Sue asked me if the nurses were playing some kind of joke (told you we were young). Our wristbands had another mother’s name on them. Y’all, we had on the wrong wristbands! Talk about CRAZY!! I’m so happy we got that cleared up or I would have brought home someone else’s baby.
So that was 26 years ago. Today, I’m happy to report that the last 26 years have been just as adventurous, if not more. I have truly enjoyed motherhood. It’s been an honor watching KiSondrea become the woman she is today. I pray that today, and everyday forward, is just as wonderful and adventurous as the day of her birth.
I’ve had some good days I’ve had some hills to climb I’ve had some weary days And some sleepless nights But when I look around And I think things over All of my good days Outweigh my bad days I won’t complain
Sometimes the clouds are low I can hardly see the road I ask a question, Lord Lord, why so much pain? But He knows what’s best for me Although my weary eyes They can’t see So I’ll just say thank You, Lord I won’t complain
The Lord as been so good to me He’s been good to me More than this whole world or you could ever be He’s been so good to me He dried all of my tears away Turned my midnights into day So I’ll just say thank you, Lord
I’ve been lied on But thank You, Lord I’ve been talked about But thank You, Lord I’ve been misunderstood But thank You Lord You might be sick Body reeking with pain But thank You, Lord The bills are due Don’t know where the money coming from But thank You, Lord Thank You, Lord Thank You, Lord
God has been so good to me He’s been good to me More than this whole world or you could ever be He’s been so good He’s been so good He’s been so good So good So good So good So good To me
He dried all of my tears away Turned my midnight into day So I’ll say thank you Lord I won’t complain