The Greatest

muhammad aliOnce, a reader sent me an email that applauded me for “being so transparent.” But some things are too much to bear, let alone share. I’ve been reminding myself lately that David wrote some of his most beautiful psalms when he was being persecuted. Out of those trials came a stronger faith and a reason for praise. I don’t dare equate my troubles with David but let me assert: The struggle out chere is real, y’all! I been going thru a thang or two and the devil has my back up against a wall. AGAIN.

Yesterday, to top it off and to push me right over the edge, I lost my footing as I came down the stairs of my church. You know it takes a special kind of evil to cause you to stumble in your own church. But he is a special kind of evil and not above such tactics, so yes, he will attack you even in your own church. I didn’t do any lasting damage, just bruised pride and a skinned knee, and I managed to get to my feet unassisted. Thank God. But that event triggered a meltdown of such magnitude that my daughter had to drive me home. I was a mess. All I could see was all the wrong moves I had made to get me to where I am today. I questioned all the decisions I’ve made in the last ten years. I even questioned my favorite scripture, Jeremiah 29:11, which has gotten me through so many tough times and wondered if I had gotten it wrong. Is God’s plan for my life good? I’ve gotten so much wrong, I felt, maybe I’d gotten that wrong, too. I just wanted to scream out loud. Internally, I did.

Oh, I was miserable. And I had myself a sho-nuff pity party, tears and everything. I couldn’t help but think of my younger days when I went through a pattern of falling. I dissected those falls, because they were unusual, and traced them to their origin. It made me aware that my confidence and self esteem were low, causing my footing, physically as well as mentally, to become unsure. My falls were a manifestation of what was going on in my life. My mind played it out in the tangible realm. When my life got back on track, the falls ceased. This realization made me cry even harder because I thought I was losing it. Losing me. I was afraid and I no longer felt like myself. I didn’t know how I even got lost, let alone the way back, hence the analyzing of my decisions along the way.

My daughter patted my hand and sat next to me, consoling me throughout the drive with songs from her playlist. After the third song, Hello Fear by Kirk Franklin, I realized that she knew all the words. She wasn’t only consolingly me from songs that she thought would cheer me up, but from songs that had bought her comfort – songs that ministered to her during her times of trial. That thought sobered me up, along with the lyrics. Perhaps, I had done something right. The song concludes by breaking up with fear and waving hello to grace. “Sorry fear, grace took your place.” Then, my daughter said to me in a silly, sing song voice, “I show you better than I say.” She brought up this scripture on her phone:

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

My daughter told me, “You need to mind YOUR business.” She reminded me I was stepping into God’s territory and taking on his concerns. I realized then that my meltdown had everything to do with my fears of the future. My old enemy had crept in to discourage me, despite my best efforts to keep him away. I felt like I had to be strong and keep fighting to not let my fears take over. I even said to myself, “Loria, you CAN’T fall apart! People look to you for strength.” And with that thought I’d fallen for the greatest trick ever, to believe that I’ve gotten where I am today because I am strong. I was putting an incredible amount of pressure on myself to be strong and it was killing me. I kept pushing down the pain and putting on a sunny demeanor to keep it at bay. But it was there, simmering below the surface, waiting for a chance to spill over. Yesterday, I was reminded that I am not strong in and of myself. Rather than take hope in my strength, as I have done in my ordeals, I will glory in the fact that I AM WEAK but He is strong. He takes on the cause of the oppressed. He is my Savior in more ways than one.

My brother always says to me, “With a little more pain, you could be great!” Wooo! At the rate I’m going, I’m on my way to becoming a reluctant champ. I know now that it’s not because I’m strong, but because I’ve been broken down by life and made more pliable and flexible. I’m still learning to bend and trust in His grace.

Be blessed,



selma marchThey said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” Genesis 11:3-4 NIV

I recently went to see the movie, Selma, with my kids. Frequently, I find myself referring to it as “Glory,” because I can’t get the Oscar winning song by John Legend and Common out of my mind. I didn’t expect the movie or the song to affect me in such a profound way. I grew up hearing the stories of our downtrodden people who refused to accept the hand they had been given, the names assigned to them, or their status in society. In the battles they faced for equality, they could have let it keep them in a place of bitterness. They could have let it take them to a place, mentally, where they fought with the very people who were trying to help and thereby, accomplishing little by themselves. They chose, instead, to embrace their fellow man in the struggle, working together to change our world, and hoping for a better life for  ALL despite the bleak outlook.

God, too, knows the power of togetherness. When the people of the world got together to create a tower that would reach the heavens, he thwarted their efforts by changing their speech. I am convinced that God had no problem with unification among the people but he did have a problem with the why of their enterprise – to reach heaven. Not that they could reach it, lol! In my mind, I see the people envisioning themselves in heaven and being in charge of things. They would become gods. They would run it! So their cause was not noble, but an attempt to unseat and dethrone God, himself.

On this day, the fiftieth anniversary of Bloody Sunday, commemorated by our first black president, we pause to reflect the power of unity. Sadly, we have not lived up to the promise of the civil rights movement. Black Americans across the country endure atrocities and are still being denied their basic civil rights. Still, though, I am encouraged because that era gave us a legacy. In it, we find that we can do great things when we come together, as a nation, with one accord. Even, change the world. Let us now put our hand to the plow and finish the work our forefathers began.

Be blessed,