Weekly Devotional: Seeing Miracles Everyday

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Photo Credit: Anunay Mahajan

God speaks to me through music, nature and people most. How about you?

Well, the other day, a friend insisted I listen to this song, Endless Alleluia by musician Cory Asbury. I guess I could spare a moment, I thought, mentally mapping out the next hour of stuff to do.

I gave Nai her little book, and hit play. Surprisingly it was one of those lyric videos – spare, raw, all voice and poetic words. Each syllable broke through the mundaneness of a Tuesday afternoon, baptizing my spirit in surrender to the omnipresent power of God. As the tears slowly spiraled down my cheeks, I settled into these lines because I live them:

In the moments where you go unnoticed in the ordinary day to day

Countless miracles of life around us point like arrows to your name…”

Our Nai // Photo Credit: Emelda De Coteau

When you believe for a miracle and breakthrough for your family, you learn to notice what others carelessly discard as ordinary. You see God etched into the fabric of your existence, mending brokenness, building bridges as you traverse difficulties. Your struggles become wings, propelling you with unrelenting faith:

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1:7

I believe God reveals bible verses when we are ready to receive them. I heard snatches of James 1:7 but when I began to read Chris Gore and Angela Locke’s most recent book, The Perfect Gift: Seeing the Child, Not the Condition, about believing God for healing for your child while seeing their beauty and uniqueness, it took on a more profound meaning.

God creates beauty, it’s us who ruin it’s many manifestations due to ego, short sightedness, and a stubborn refusal to see with our hearts. Let us pray for a revelation of the miraculous in ordinary moments, and God will begin using even the smallest signs to cultivate steady belief in our spirits.

How can you be more intentional about opening your eyes to miracles?

Prayer: Dear God – When I feel discouraged, overwhelmed or buried in the mundane tasks of life, open my eyes to the miracles around me. Help me celebrate musicality in a child’s laugh, the warmth of connecting with a family member, friend or person I am meeting for the first time. Remind me not to overlook expansive skies, balmy winds, awakening to sunrises and closing the days gazing upon auburn colored sunsets. In your precious name I pray, Amen.

A Letter to my Young Daughter about Living as a Woman of Color & Radical Faith in America 

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Photo Credit: Devin Allen

Dear Nai,

One week ago, while you slept, Mommy stood in the kitchen, surrounded by plates and cups and cried. I nearly collapsed, knees aching, my stomach somersaulting with uneasiness and lingering pain.

I cried because when I looked at Philando Castile’s fiancée, her eyes, worn from grief and shock, mirrored my own in ways you will one day, sadly, know as a black woman, unless the conscious of America profoundly shifts. Your Mama is an optimist, and a Christian so I stand on the anchor of hope (Hebrews 6:19), praying we will begin seeing each other not as Americans but people, people whose individual truths are valid and real.

Frankly, I don’t know if this will happen in your lifetime, but I want you to extend the love your Daddy and I give you always. Allow it to take up residence in your heart, and fill it often as you come before God in thoughtful prayer and communion.

Kes, Nai and me Photo Credit: Wayne De Coteau

You will need this love to live in a country and world which insists on rendering you, your perspective and intellect, your unique truth, invisible. Mama wants so desperately to protect you from the pernicious sting of rejection, but I cannot. And when I am forced to acknowledge this grimness, the weight of it nearly crushes me.  But then I think of women of color like Dr. Maya Angelou whose sentence from the poem, “Our Grandmothers” rests within Mama’s spirit, eviscerating this looming mist of defeat which attempts to choke out hope: “I come as one, I stand as ten thousand.”

Say this to yourself, my love, often, especially when you think you cannot overcome an obstacle. “I come as one, I stand as ten thousand.”

You are the descendent of a people rooted in resistance and resilience, dear heart; they refused to allow the ideology of white supremacy to define their destiny. Madam C.J. Walker became the first woman millionaire in America because a divine vision, superseded manmade barriers of skin color and gender.

Your Great Grandmother started working at age 5, and did not stop until her 60s; her retirement from being a domestic worker came because her daughter, your Nana, held a fierce determination within her heart, shutting out the high school counselor’s prediction that she should sweep floors, instead, she graduated with honors from Morgan State University.

Nana became an educator, touching the lives of thousands of children in Baltimore city, opening their minds to a more expansive history of the U.S. And then she came home, every day, and poured these revelations of our past into her children so our futures would not become marred by defeat, but instead, armed with this biblical truth: “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Psalm 139:14

Each time you hear the lies of “not enough” (smart, beautiful or talented) echoed from American culture refute  these destructive words and live. Live because your life is a testament to triumph over fear and hatred.

Lucille Clifton, renowned poet, proudly declares, “come celebrate with me that everyday something has tried to kill me and has failed.” These are your foremamas, Nai! Their struggle shall be your strength.

When you experience discrimination and meet others who do, waste no time bemoaning it, put your energy (all of the sadness, anger and frustration) into action. Allow these verses of scripture to dwell within your soul:

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.

Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Proverbs 31: 8-9

You matter. Your ancestors built this country, not as slaves, but as survivors whose sheer will birthed an unrivaled ingenuity spanning every field and occupation. Listen. You will hear it couched in the melody of the blues, rising in the triumphant praise of gospel music, and through the eloquent work of writers such as James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Angela Davis and many others.

You are always enough. God created you not to conform to this world, but to transform it.

And so, I leave you, my darling, with the words of Howard Thurman, a great African-American theologian, author and thinker (Jesus and the Disinherited) who inspired Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other seekers of justice:

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

My Love For You Is Eternal,

Your Mama

To the Mom Hurting Now -It’s OK to Cry

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Photo via website Unsplash

 

“Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we are all in this together.” – Brene Brown

In this era of social media and photo editing, everyone’s life looks perfect, at least on the surface. We edit what the world sees. No one likes to admit when it’s all crumbling or there is struggle – kids behaving badly, spouses plucking our nerves, the fear which lives alongside regret.

Besides, some of us hop on Facebook and Instagram to forget or reinvent ourselves. The reality we construct online is more palatable than facing who we are, minus the filter.

Several years ago I spoke with a close friend who admitted to wrestling with postpartum depression. She didn’t want anyone to think less of her so she suffered alone. How many of us, I wonder, mask our sadness? Wouldn’t it be powerful if we allowed our pain to serve as a place of connection, not isolation?

As a child, I rarely saw my own mother cry. She appeared to me as a paragon of strength, always holding everything together. Only later, as I grew older, and our relationship matured, did her vulnerability emerge. Our deeper connection, particularly now that I am a Mom, has given me the courage to cry.

It is OK to cry. I remind myself of this often, particularly on those challenging days when I am swimming in anxiety, despair, or frustration.  It is OK to sit within these emotions, ingesting their weight, without wallowing in them or succumbing to self pity.

As Moms – especially  for African-American women – we are taught to embrace a certain toughness. Feminity remains inextricably linked to whiteness. Vulnerability feels like a luxury we cannot afford, but clinging to this “super woman mythology” deeply wounds us, burying our voices.

Years ago the poet Audre Lorde said: “Women of Color in America have grown up within a symphony of anger, at being silenced, at being unchosen, at knowing that when we survive it is in spite of a world that takes for granted our lack of humanness, and which hates our very existence outside its service. And I say symphony rather than cacophony , because we have had to learn to orchestrate those furies so they do not tear us apart.”

And, indeed, so many of us do, suffocated by long-exalted stereotypes and misperceptions.
But Mamas, as you read these words, hold fast to this truth: tears do not weaken us, they liberate us. We release what we can no longer carry. Releasing is an essential part of humanity; we cannot move into new seasons and places of development without it.

Today,  tomorrow, or the next day, if you feel the urge, go ahead and cry. It’s OK. I understand. Not one of us can navigate this parenthood path completely alone.

If we walk together, our sorrows, frustrations, and those moments of joy become the building blocks for a community of Mamas determined to embrace truth and love, not merely for themselves but generations to come.

🔽
Do you cry, or hold back your tears?  

How about sharing your frustrations or fears with other Moms? Does it help when you do?