Doubting God

5-ways-to-stop-self-doubt-in-its-tracksI have to admit that I am scared.  The new school year is quickly approaching (Monkey’s first day is August 23d!) and I feel like I am ill prepared to take this on.  I’m scared of failing to educate her the way she deserves.  I’m scared of failing financially in my business and then having to take a more full-time position and therefore quit homeschooling.  

And here’s a kicker….I’m scared of succeeding and not being able to handle it well.  With humility, grace, and gratitude.  Even though that may seem like a silly notion, I’m sure you all can relate.  You know the situations where you’ve been praying fervently for something, waiting  patiently and with expectation.  Then it finally arrives and you either feel like it’s too good to be true, so you ignore or deny God’s hand in the circumstances.  Or you start feeling yourself a little too much, forget to give God the glory.  Or somehow forget to keep seeking God in your success and things eventually fall apart.

Either way, I have to shake off this fear.  I have to walk in confidence that His promises are not empty.  And it is hard, but not impossible.  It is a moment to moment, and sometimes second to second decision to choose trust.  Even in the process of writing this post, I’ve volleyed back and forth between the two extremes – choosing to stand in belief or fall victim to giving up.

But one thing I can say is that I’ve never seen Him fail.  Ever.  Even in those times where I felt abandoned or was caught up in how things “didn’t work out,” I can look back and say He was there, with me every doubt-filled step despite my emotional misgivings.  The times I thought my world was falling apart were actually just opportunities for me to return to the path He had set rather than trying to carry on in my own, destructive ways.

So for those of you who are waiting on something, whether big or small.  Or are discouraged because you feel like you are alone or that He’s forgotten about you, I beg you not to let your emotions win.  Not to let your lack of control during these times determine how you will proceed.  Not to let your lack of patience result in settling for less.

And even if things don’t turn out the way you thought they would, or the picture didn’t quite develop as quickly as expected, that does not mean He has failed you.  Because “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake” (2 Peter 3:9).  Not because he’s trying to punish you, but because He knows best.  If He didn’t He wouldn’t be God.

So what will you choose today?  Trust and surrender?  Or fear and despair?

First Dates at the Piggly Wiggly

So I’m originally from Detroit.  Home of the Bad Boys (that would be the 90s Piston’s for those lacking knowledge of the real NBA).  Neighbor to the Canadians, aye.

But my mom’s family is from the South.  Like the for real for real South.  Where they had garage sales and farmer’s markets before they were a faddish, pretentious thing.  And during summer months I used to go down south (that’s what I called it back then) to visit my great grandmother, grandmother, cousins, etc.  But on some days it was just me and my great grandmother, or MaDear, as we call her.

No.  Not this MaDear:

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Don’t stare at this too long.  It will make you dizzy.  Sorry.

But a real woman who totes Bibles and quotes scripture.  Not guns and strange advice that involves pimp slaps.  Nothing against MaDears that do, I just didn’t want you to confuse the two.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s talk about one of my favorite pastimes when  I was in the south with MaDear.  Going to the Piggly Wiggly.

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That’s right.  I have some of the best memories tied to our trips to that particular grocery store.  Sometimes it’s just the little things, ya know.

But thinking back on our Piggly moments, recalling recent conversations with friends, and just reflecting on my life in general gave me a crazy, but logical idea.  That Piggly Wiggly, or just any grocery store in general, would be the perfect first date location!

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Ohhhh, I know it’s hard to hold back your excitement.  It’s such a romantic, one-stop shop kind of first date location.  I mean, there’s food, snacks, beverages, games and toys.  Everything you need.  Besides all those gems, I have a few other reasons why this idea is legit.  Here we go:

1)You will get an up close and personal view of how they treat strangers

Ever see those guys who yap on the phone while the cashier is attempting to check them out?  Rude.  Or the man who yells at the customer service representative over something that’s out of their control? And theeeeen for some reason, they try to get others standing in line with them to band together for The Cause?  Nah bruh.  Or the one who doesn’t say please or thank you to the employees who took time to help?  Ugh.

Would you date a man who did any of the above?  I thought not.  If that guy walked up to you and asked you out on a date after any of those things went down I’m sure you would run for the hills.

Problem is, most jerkholes like this are typically on their best behavior when escorting you to a nice restaurant or to the movies.  If you’re not careful, you’ll miss the jerkhole red flags for days.  Even months.  Don’t get fooled.  Take that dude to the Piggly Wiggly.

2) You will get some clues as to how they spend their money

Here’s a news flash for you.  I’m cheap frugal.  I have a budget.  I strive to spend my money wisely, buying mostly things I need and rarely splurging on things I want.  Student loans and kids will do this to your life.

So one thing I pay close attention to in a man is where he chooses to spend his money.  If your treasure is constantly in brand names, big ticket items, and extravagant living, we probably won’t work out.  I mean that’s not a 100% certainty, but at least an 88% chance that he won’t have a chance.

Now that I’ve gotten those out of the way, let’s get to the most important reason why grocery store dates are the future.

3) You will get to see whether he returns his cart to the corral

This.  This really grinds my gears.  I mean, really.  How hard is it to take maybe 10 more steps to put your cart where it belongs?  Oh, and this is my favorite:

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The ones who decide to gather their carts on the curb near and oh so close to the corral, but just can’t muster the energy to take it a step further.  Monsters.  Would you want to date someone this lazy?  This shockingly oblivious to their own selfishness?

I’ve actually been propositioned by The Non-Cart Corraler while he was attempting to park his cart everywhere but the corral.  True story.  And trust me.  You don’t want to date this guy, either.

To round this out, it’s obvious that I’m sort of (not) kidding about having first dates at the Piggly Wiggly.  And I’m also sort of (not at all) kidding about the above points.  But what I am trying to say is that the way your potential mate treats others, buries his treasures, and whether he puts his cart back in the corral (I swear this translates into real world red flags) are first impressions that should carry serious weight.

Basically, first dates at the grocery store would be a perfect screening process.  So for that guy that wants to get to know you better, hold him to the fire.  The Piggly Wiggly fire.

Until next time, stay vigilant and aware, girl.  And put back your darn grocery carts.

A Moment of Silence

Today, I cried.  I mean, really cried.

After all the videos, photos, and media coverage of murder as if they were muffled afterthoughts and not the loss of actual people.  After watching a son cry out for his father with wordless groaning only the Spirit can comprehend.  After not feeling anything for years and moving on to the next moment with not even a hint of apathy.  I finally cried.  I finally mourned.  I finally felt angry.

Angry because we used to take moments of silence.  Now we abuse those moments with opinions, criticism, ‘fact finding,’ and political agendas.  There is no longer true, honorable, and sincere reverence and mourning.  Our grief only lasts long enough for the next story (or the next #murder) to load on our constantly updated feed.

And when I woke up this morning I’d finally had enough.  I was heavy in ways that a person feels when the only place they have to fall is at the feet of the Father.

Have you felt that?  I mean have you truly felt that for Alton Sterling? Sandra Bland?  Freddie Gray?  Trayvon Martin?  The victims in Orlando?

Or were you too preoccupied with finding evidence of resisting?  Too set on revealing reasons why they deserved it?  Too busy trying to determine where you stood on the political side of the spectrum?  Or were you too worried about preserving your reputation by making sure you weren’t standing on the ‘wrong’ side?

Well, I know what side I stand on.  And right now I stand in mourning.  And I’d like to continue taking these moments to feel that heaviness I felt today.  To bear the burden.  And to let that grief make me uncomfortable enough to break silence and effect change.  To let that grief be an impetus for provoking conversations.  Honest exchanges where I relay my fears for my children.  And people actually understand those very real anxieties without judgement or belittlement of my reality.

Because when you shake off the numbness, what follows is not bliss or gratitude for being awakened from your stupor.  It is a sobering awareness that you have been standing still and letting headlines slide off your conscious in order to maintain the appearance of neutral.  And if you are a believer, you have no room for neutral.

Because here’s a cliche for you:  What would Jesus do?  Would he be neutral?  Meh.  History says otherwise.

My guess is he would weep and mourn with those who mourned.  Or maybe he would be table flipping Jesus.  Angry Jesus is my personal fave.  Because he never stood for trampling the downtrodden.  He never stood for injustice.  He never stood for making excuses.  And the Jesus who wept is also the same one whose love for us drove him to anger in the face of anything that stood in contradiction to the Father.

Overall, my purpose is not to incite outrage.  Or, perhaps, it is.  But not hate filled rage that overflows into riots and division.  Just anger that leads to understanding between a people that are better at throwing insults and statistics instead of creating safe spaces for compassion.  The anger that is borne out of love for one another.  The kind of anger that unifies.

So if you’re not angry yet, maybe you should reconsider your position.