Archive | September 2012

Be Who You Are

When becoming a mother for the first time, you have 1001 questions. You read books, you talk with other mothers, and rely on what your own Mother taught you. After all you want to be the BEST Mother you can be. Eventually after trail and error you learn what works for you. You also learn that the learning never ceases. Children are taught right from wrong and the difference between good and bad. Those things are apart of the foundation and core values set by your parents and loved ones. We are also taught to be the best “YOU” you can be. Embrace “YOUR” beauty and do the best “YOU” can. School teaches reading, writing, math, etc. Then there’s life, Mom always said “Life will teach you things you will never learn in the classroom.”

I was born a daughter, sister, aunt, niece and cousin. I didn’t know what those titles meant. I had responsibilities of being a daughter to my Mother but what about to the other members of my family? What exactly does a sister do? How am I supposed to be an “aunt” when I have two nephews older than me? (One of them had the nerve to make me a “great aunt”.) For the longest time, I didn’t feel like I connected with my siblings. I connected with my niece who was more like my little sister. It wasn’t until I reach adulthood that I was able to have a typical relationship with my siblings. We talk, laugh, joke, and fellowship with one another.

I can only be ME, I can’t be someone else. I am my Mother’s baby girl, a Mother to my son Adreyn, Sister to my siblings, Aunt to my nieces and nephews and more. I can’t be anything more or less than what God wants me to be.That’s why it’s important to be steadfast and confident in “Who You Are” and strive to be the BEST you for you. Mom was a walking example of that. There will never be another Rev. Martha V. Alexander, but her presence can always be felt. She knew who she was and remained true to herself and faithful to God.
(Jeremiah 17:7-8 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”)

As I continue to learn and know myself I know I am greatness in the making because I am allowing God to do all the work. I strive to be a constant reflection of His grace and mercy while inspiring others as He inspires and humbles me. I am eternally grateful for the strength He provides me and the lessons my Mother taught me to be the BEST Merical Joy I can be. I may not be as “churchy” as some or go as often as others, one thing is true God knows my heart.

Hebrews 10:35-36 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised…

Helping Hands and Understanding the M.A.P

My church (The Greater Piney Grove Baptist) prides itself on being “The Church With Helping Hands”. Mom explained to me as a young child that “Humans have hands for a reason, to reach out and help one another.”

Last week I had a former classmate of mine reach out to me via Facebook. She’s a very sweet young lady and I have fond memories of her smile and laughter. Knowing very little of her life post high school, I did find out through a mutual dear friend that her Mom was ill and not doing well. Anyway, she reached out to me seeking a lil encouragement. At the time I was in my own feelings because the 7th approaching. The 7th of every month is a constant reminder of my own loss. I told her that I would be in contact later on that day. We didn’t get a chance to catch up. I found out a couple of days later on September 11, 2012 at 3:20pm that her Mom had passed.

My heart broke all over again as I began to feel the familiar flood of emotions that I felt the day that my Mom passed. It is a feeling that I don’t wish on anyone. As a child we think, want, and even expect our parents to live forever but that is far from God’s plan. Otherwise our patents would literally be “old as Methuselah”. As much as we hate the idea of death, it is a natural part of life.

The support system of family and true friends is nothing short of amazing. It was their hands that rubbed my back when I was in tears. It was their hands that prepared food, that mailed cards, texted, called visited and stood by and held me up when I felt I couldn’t stand. The Helping Hands…

One of the most important, loved and well memorized scriptures in the Bible is…
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

I believe that death is the gateway to “eternal life”. God doesn’t want us to suffer, He doesn’t want us to hurt but because we’re human we do. What happens when the pain subsides, (does it ever) and tears run dry? We have to recall to our remembrance of God’s motive, His action, and His promise (Or as I love to call God’s M.A.P) to us. His motive is His love, His action was He gave His Son and His promise is eternal life for those who believes in Him. “Everything happens in life for a reason, according to God’s M.A.P”

Through the grieving process we sometimes forget about God. We become extra sensitive and maybe even offended by the cliche of textbook words of encouragement that people tend to offer. Even though they may mean well and genuinely care, it does absolutely nothing (at the time) to the person who is suffering a tremendous loss, especially that of a Mother. As time passes by, everyone goes on about their life as usual while we are left trying to mend the pieces of our broken hearts together. The loss leaves you lost. No where to go, no where to turn and at some point you find yourself going in circles.

When things settled and I was all alone to my thoughts and in reflection, I had totally forgot about God. I was grieving, hurt, angry, and a lot of other things. What is so wonderful is, He didn’t forget about me. God was there, like always. Wanting and waiting for me to come to Him to give me the “… peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) that He promised.

I pray constantly for the young lady that lost her Mother and I pray for her family. I don’t pray because its the “textbook cliche of encouraging words” but because someone did it for me. Someone reached out with their hands in prayer to help my family and I continue to get through the daily struggle and reminder of our own loss.

It’s been five months and I still can’t believe and it still hurts but I know Mom is wrapped in God arms and is reaping the eternal benefits of following God’s M.A.P.

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Don’t allow your loss to keep you lost, when God’s M.A.P is already laid before you.

Dedicated to B.H. Xoxo

I am NOT my Mother

Mom lived a full life, did things, saw places and raised 5 children single handily when she had to. She drove cabs, laid bricks, painted houses, laid wallpaper and was one of the best Pastry Chefs at Atlanta’s very own downtown Marriott. She also took care of and had compassion for other people, even when she was ill.

Mother struggled for years before receiving the call of God to be a preacher. Mom lived 73 years to get to where she was mentally and above all spiritually. She had been hurt by others, had been lied on, stolen from and probably other things that I will never know of nor experience. She never felt that she was “grand” as people would marvel at not only her stature but how she carried herself and set standard for women in our church. Mom was above all humble. When she went to church one Sunday a woman from the “Mother’s Board” said to her “Martha, you don’t even look sick.” Mom, simply smiled and said “I don’t even know what sick looks like.” Pity and complaint weren’t apart of who she was. She displayed a level of pride, dignity, respect and commanded a room with her mere presence. Walked with her head held high during trying times, smiled when she felt like crying, and loved those around her sometimes more than she loved herself. You would never catch her looking down and if you did, she it was because she was in prayer. A fashion forward diva and one to be looked up to not just because she tall or was Mommy, but because she was a friend to the sick, a missionary, comforter and a teacher to anyone that came under the sound of her voice. When she went to bed at night and before she took her last breath Mom knew that everything that she was and did was not in vain but because she answered the call to be A Woman of God. She stopped running and found peace, traveled through storms, and was able to tell others that at the end of your storm there would be peace. There would be a rainbow. Mom received her ultimate reward by remaining faithful and forever in prayer.

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With all that being said, I have realized that I am just learning be a Proverbs 31:10-31 Woman.
I know I may never be the woman that my Mom was but I can certainly put forth more of an effort to try to follow her example. Mom believed in the Word of God, she carried it in hear heart. Mom was NOT God and she didn’t pretend to be but she WAS a Living Vessel, a Living Testament to God’s eternal grace and mercy.

When I sat in church for revival a couple of weeks ago, I swear I turned my head often to look for her, to catch her nod, hear her tambourine (which was a stick that lit up!) and to say an “Amen” (in only her way) when the preacher made a great point. In my heart I knew that she wasn’t really there even though I wished she was. I continue to struggle daily with her absence but when the family gets together, I see a little bit of her in all of us. I see her more when I look at my sister Carol and my son AJ and sometimes in myself. I love hearing my niece Carrie talk because sometimes she sounds like her or say things Mom would say. It is then that I am reminded that she is always and forever here.

I want to not only live life through this, I want to live a life that my Mother would be proud of. She didn’t want to suffer through life with her illness and she doesn’t want us to suffer because of her death. She lived and it’s time for us to live through the grieving. While we will never be completely whole, we can rejoice in her life, cherish her smile and bask in the remembrance of her laughter. She loved us and it’s time to allow that same love to heal us. It’s time to heal… It’s not going to be easy but admitting, confessing, and crying out to God is our only way.

Matthew 5:4 – “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted”
Know that you can be renewed and transformed through God but it takes humility in order for these experiences to take place. Human pride often blocks our dealing with painful problems. Once we finally admit our wrongdoings, failures and hurts there can be a real solution for us. Humbling ourselves before God is the ultimate key that will allow us to experience the wonderful comfort that only the Almighty One can provide.