“Strength- the quality or state of being strong”

Yesterday was my moms birthday. Its my first time celebrating her birthday without her.

Yesterday made a month since my mom passed away but honestly it feels like twelve years have gone by.

Everyone always asks, “how are you” and usually my response is “I’m doing okay. The best I can”. This is a lie. Im not doing ok. I feel numb everyday like I’m floating. My gears are set on autopilot and it feels like I’ll never be able to shift back into drive and take control. My mom died. She’s…gone and it feels weird to say because she doesn’t feel gone. Her clothes still smell like her. Her hair products are still in the bathroom, her cell phone still rings. So how is she gone?

I can only remember about 30% of the past four weeks and about 20% of the events of the week after my mom died. I do remember strength. Its the word everyone has been using surrounding this tragedy. Either they’re telling my sister and me that we ARE strong or that we have to BE strong. Neither option works for me. Here’s why…

1. Telling someone to be strong is not a suggestion its a request. Yes, I have a problem with people telling me what to do but I do think the worst thing to ask someone to do is to be strong at a time when being weak is the only way through it. Strength is no ones first choice. Think about it, as a child or adolescent at some point you got hurt (emotionally or physically) and you began to cry and someone told you, “hold that chin up.”, Don’t cry”, “be strong”, “suck it up”. It wasn’t a question it was a request, a demand, an expectation. This isn’t always a mean or bad request but in the loss of a loved one I think its safe to say:

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2. I was one of the speakers at my mom’s homegoing service and for some reason there was a lot of people who tried to convince me not to speak. Okay, I’ll be honest, they had every reason to be scared because I’m the reckless one. The big mouth who doesn’t know how to shut up. I’m also the petty one the one who will ruffle some feathers and walk away unscathed. So, seeing my name on the program probably worried a few of my close family and friends that know me well. Especially since I did not tell a soul what I would say when I got the mic in front of the 200 attendees. I was shocked that I got a standing ovation from the crowd and a lot of people after the service used words like, ‘brave’, ‘strong’, or ‘fearless’ to describe myself, my sister, & my words of encouragement. And it still makes me laugh that people truly believed those things about me. Even though I was polite I wanted to scream! I’m NOT strong! I’m NOT brave! I’m NOT fearless!

Even though years of being an athlete have taught me quite a bit of physical and mental toughness, if I had JUST that strength to depend on during the funeral service, I would have been a ball of tears melting into the carpet of the closest corner. I wouldn’t be able to stand in front of a crowd of people and tell them about the love of Jesus. In fact I probably wouldn’t have even made it inside the church. Right before we got into the church I had huge panic attack and forgot how to walk. No, LITERALLY couldn’t figure out how to move my legs. My two best friends literally carried me down the aisle until halfway down my legs decided to start working again. I’m not strong. GOD is strong, GOD is brave, GOD is fearless. What you saw on that stage was not an act or performance or an act of selflessness or strength it was 1000% the strength and love of God my Father. Even the words I spoke weren’t mine. He told me I would be speaking and He told me what to say. Yes, Janae supplied the comedic interludes (because that’s how I cope) but every word  that came out of my mouth was God speaking to all 200+ souls present. 

One of my favorite dictionary definitions of the word strength says, “the capacity of an object or substance to withstand great force or pressure” which is the furthest thing from me as a person. Ever since my mom passed, I’ve become this emotional being that cries over everything! Last week I cried because a leaf got disconnected from the branches it resided. The week before, I cried because the black family on Family Feud won $20,000. In fact, my laptop is soaked as I type this. Why? Because I’m crying for no reason…AGAIN! Surely, you all can see that strong is not who I am. If you see an ounce of strength in me then you are looking at God. God is the only ‘object or substance’ that can withstand great force or pressure. He is THE constant in a life journey that is constantly changing, adapting, and throwing curve balls. It doesn’t matter what curve ball you are currently being thrown, if you are like me, you need to seek the strength of the Father. His strength will surpass ALL understanding even your own understanding. 

k, good talk