Thursday, May 29, 2014

My Tribute to Maya

"I ought to be as beautiful as I can be, to myself first, and to anybody else who has enough sense to see me." ~Maya Angelou

When I first started to write poetry people would always tell me that my writings reminded them of the early writings of Maya Angelou. I was often called "the next Maya Angelou". I wasn't sure that it was true but I was honored to be thought of and spoken of that way. Poets tend to become people whose opinions and thoughts become important to others. I hoped that I would get to meet her in person and introduce her to "the next".  :-) Like me, she stood tall, at least 6'. Who knows? Maybe one day another poet will find herself being called "the next Albertine Williams". Hopefully she too will consider it an honor.

Today just a few days after her passing, I am more inspired by her than I've ever been, to use my gift, my talent, my words. I am more inspired to use my voice, to be a voice. Whether I read for a president or not, travel to another nation or not, win an award or not, I want my voice to be heard, by as many as are listening, as many as will read them. I'm more inspired not to waste time, or make assumptions about who is interested in what I have to say.  I know that I do have quite a bit to say, and today, I am determined more than ever to speak, in any way that I can, and pour out everything that God has poured into me.

I know that Maya Angelou was most famous for Still I Rise and Phenomenal Woman, but my favorite of hers was....

In and Out of Time
Maya Angelou

The sun has come.
The mist has gone.
We see in the distance...
our long way home.
I was always yours to have.
You were always mine.
We have loved each other in and out of time.
When the first stone looked up at the blazing sun
and the first tree struggled up from the forest floor
I had always loved you more.
You freed your braids...
gave your hair to the breeze.
It hummed like a hive of honey bees.
I reached in the mass for the sweet honey comb there....
Mmmm...God how I love your hair.
You saw me bludgeoned by circumstance.
Lost, injured, hurt by chance.
I screamed to the heavens....loudly screamed....
Trying to change our nightmares to dreams...
The sun has come.
The mist has gone.
We see in the distance our long way home.
I was always yours to have.
You were always mine.
We have loved each other in and out
in and out
in and out
of time.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


I was talking with the ex the other day and noticed a scar on his hand and wrist, and remembered the accident he was in a few years ago.  That scar came from doctors having to literally dig glass out of his wrist that had gotten in it as a result of him being dragged while the truck was turned on it's side...his side down. That scar will always be on his wrist, and a reminder of something that could have easily killed him. I thought about how just one incident can scar you for the rest of your life.  Like most people, I too have a few physical scars. 

I thought about how one other incident, my marriage to him, scarred me for life. And then I was  reminded that scars aren't the worst thing that can happen to you. If you are alive and have scars, you're blessed because it means that whatever happened to you didn't kill you.   Scars are what you show as proof of what you went through, and survived. Scars mean there was an injury, there was pain, and there was bloodshed, but the wounds healed. Scars testify that for every day that you felt like dying would be easier, you were strong enough to KEEP LIVING!

I was reminded that wishing my "scars" (the painful experiences) away is not the answer. I tend to look at what I went through and feel sorry for myself. I tend to spend time wishing about what I could have or should have. I tend to spend more time in regret than in Thanksgiving. Not for the fact that what happened happened, and that it hurt me so badly that sometimes I wanted to die.  But thanksgiving for the fact that I survived. I came out stronger, wiser, better, more in tune with myself and my God. Thanksgiving for learning the most odd lesson of all, That God somehow reveals more to us in our trouble, our wrong, our mistakes than He does when we seem to have it all together. I learned about His mercy, and how He doesn't judge me nearly as harshly as I judge myself. At times when I was expecting some sort of punishment, all I received was kindness, gentleness, patience and His loving presence. If not for my scars and what caused them, I wouldn't have experienced this amazing level of God's love and Grace. 

I have even gone so far as to look at my "scars" and see myself as damaged goods. I've looked at my scars and questioned my worth, "Who would want me with these scars? Who will see past them? Who will be able to love me because of what they represent and not shun me because of what has happened to me?" I know I'm not the only one who has done this.  The longer we wait for what we hope for, or promises from God to be fulfilled, the more we sometimes tend to question our worthiness to receive them.  We have to be reminded from time to time, that what happened to us, and the fact that we overcame it, makes us more beautiful. We are not beautiful in spite of our scars, but because of them. I even wrote a poem about it a few years ago, when I was trying to love someone who couldn't see past his own pain. Somehow he had convinced himself that no matter how badly anybody else had been hurt, they could not have been hurt more than he was. As a sensitive person I know that we tend to feel things more deeply and we also tend to take longer to get past hurt, but he was so addicted to the pain of his own sad story that he couldn't see that we all have been damaged at some point. We've all been broken, brought to our knees, on our face weeping because of the wounds we suffered. But it's how we see the leftover scars that determine how we move forward.

There is no such thing as perfection. Trying to wish your scars away, or pretending they aren't there won't make you worthy of love, but proves that you are not yet able to receive it. It blinds you from the fact that the heart that is reaching out to embrace your own has also been made more beautiful by the scars that their pain left behind. We are not better by pretending that we have not been broken and don't still have cracks. We are better by admitting it, owning it, and growing from it. When we do that we are ready to embrace another heart and bond with another soul. We can come together not as two victims, comparing and competing with each others wounds, but as two conquerors, having respect and admiration for the strength that it took each to overcome and the lessons learned, that make us perfect...for each other.

Lord, help us to remember that though the ashes in our lives are real, there is even more beauty to behold. because You have promised us beauty for our ashes. 
Because of You our scars become our beauty marks!

Not all scars are hidden in a broken heart
But many are in the open, visible from the start
I’ve already seen a few of yours
And you say there are even more

I say your scars are marks of beauty
Of things that tried, but couldn’t keep you away from me
Each shows the world something you survived
None could kill you though they all tried

I should like to kiss them, each and every one
To show my appreciation for what God has done
Show me your scars and I’ll show you mine
Of things that couldn’t kill us before our time

Not all scars are in the open, visible from the start
But many are hidden in a broken heart
Though no one sees them they’re there just the same
And undeniable is the pain from whence they came

Even though healing is taking place
We still find occasional tears upon our face
But we’re so blessed to feel safe enough to reveal
Even our deepest wounds that God does heal

Please don’t doubt your beauty, because you really are
Beautiful not in spite of, but because of your scars
So show me your scars and I’ll show you mine
As we begin to walk together through time

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

One Year Ago Today

May 10, 2013 I was terminated from a job that paid good money and that I thought would last me a very long time. Without even the decency to give me a reason,she stood over me while I gathered my things, walked me to the door of the building, and then that heffa had the nerve to tell me to have a good day. I barely made it to my car before I began to hyperventilate. That evening I wept bitterly, uncontrollably as I thought about my situation, my age, my education or lack thereof, my chances of being hired again anywhere, by anybody, making that kind of money, even though I had 20 years of experience. I felt hopeless.

In the following months I felt as if I had been humbled in a way I never thought I needed to be.  I felt like I had been brought lower than I'd ever been in my life. I felt like I had been brought down to nothing. Have you ever felt like NOTHING? I experienced fear like I never had before, for my well being, that of my daughters, where we would live, how we would eat, how I would pay my bills, etc. I sank so low, spending days in the bed weeping, with the covers over my head, falling asleep, and waking up to cry some more. I leaked tears for about 3 months, until my eyes began to have spasms and just flutter.

But in the midst of all of the pain and anguish, God showed me some things.  He showed me the kindness of others. He showed me that He could pay my bills without me making a certain amount of money. He showed me how people will take a leap of faith to help you, that when they help you, they may not even know how they can do it, but they obey Him, and help you. He showed me that the thing I feared so much was not going to happen to me. He showed me what I could do with so little. He showed me how people will out of the blue, put money in my hands just when I needed food or gas. I have received bags of meat that has lasted weeks, and enough gas to last a week...more than once.  He showed me a 50.00 bill in the parking lot of a store, right when I was trying to figure out what I was going to do for the next few days. He showed me that all those tears I flooded my pillow with needed to come out because they were evidence of fear that had been hidden in my heart, but also that what I feared was nothing to be afraid of.  God showed me His FAITHFULNESS on a level that I'd never imagined I'd see in my own life.

He showed me that the fight I was in (am in) HE picked it for me because He knew I wouldn't pick this fight on my own. But I needed to be in this fight because it is preparation for what is to come. In the midst of letting me know that I can't snap my fingers and get out, He has shown me that He is with me every step of the way. I know Him in a way now that I never would have had I not been placed in this position.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


This Mother's Day I was realized that I needed to wish MYSELF a happy Mother's Day.  I was reminded of the many years I spent unable to conceive a child. I got married, read the story of how God "closed" and "opened" certain women's wombs and decided that I didn't need birth control. I just needed God to close my womb and open it when He was ready to give me babies. People told me I was crazy and that I would get pregnant on my wedding night. But I went to God and asked Him to keep me from getting pregnant for 9 months, since they thought I'd be giving birth in 9 months. (How's that for crazy faith?) Well 9 months turned into month after month, after year after year. Then 9 years, all the way to 12 years, and the entire ordeal brought me more pain that I'll ever be able to explain. Every month when my body reminded me that once again, I was not pregnant I suffered an emotional miscarriage. I grieved the loss of a child that I had not carried but hoped and believed I was carrying.

I suffered a lot of humiliation, to the point where I felt I had no more shame, at the hands of fertility experts, trying to find out why I wasn't getting pregnant. For a long time I had forgotten about the prayer I prayed.  Once I remembered that I'd prayed it, I figured God just didn't want me to have babies.  He didn't think I'd be a good mom. I wasn't good enough.

For all those years I felt less than, inadequate as a woman, unfeminine, and like a failure for not being able to do what every woman should be able to do. I questioned God about why He couldn't trust me to be a mother when I saw women whose children were physically dirty, like with patches of dirt on their skin, women who abused their children in many ways. I asked Him often, "You mean to tell me you can trust HER with a baby and not ME?" How screwed up was I?

But one day as I sat on the side of my bed, God asked me "Give me your babies".  I asked Him, "But what if you don't give them back?" And He said, "You'll have to trust me with them".  I said okay but didn't do it that time. We had this conversation once again, and after the second time I gave Him my babies. I let go. I decided to enjoy every advantages I had without children.  I decided to take advantage of all the freedom I had without having little ones to consider. But God being God, never asks us for anything that He doesn't have an amazing replacement for.  Whenever He asks us for something, it's because He wants to in turn give us back so much more.

I spent all those years crying, hoping, feeling bad about myself until one day I said to God, "I'm somebody's mama. If you're not going to give me a baby by birth, there's a baby out there somewhere who needs a mama. Bring me my baby".  And that's exactly what He did. Today I am somebody's mama.  3 somebody's to be exact. God gave me a miracle of adoption, and then a year later almost to the date, a miracle of birth. Then just a little over a year ago, a miracle of a teenage boy who decided to call me his Mama, and none of us knew that he was about to lose his own mother.

So for all the years and tears God has given back to me greater than what He asked me for that day sitting on the side of my bed. Not only my own babies, but I've written poetry that has helped bring at least 2 babies into the world for others and I've ministered to 2 women that I know of who went on to have children shortly after. I trusted Him with my babies, and He has shown me what He can do with what we trust Him with. He exceeds our expectations.

Even though you may not have endured a closed womb, may you read this and know that whatever it is that God is asking you to give to Him...whatever your baby is, He can take it and multiply it and give it back to you better than you could have imagined for yourself.  But isn't that what the word tells us?  He is able to do exceeding, abundantly, above all that we ask or imagine. He has done it for me, many others and He is waiting to do it for you!

I thank God for the mourning that He has turned to gladness. For that which He has given back to me in return for what I gave to Him. For my being able to say to MYSELF, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!