Independence Overrated

Glorious Monday morning! I trust that wherever you are, you are filled with hope, love, and joy. There are so many reasons to be hopeful, so many opportunities to love, and only one way to experience joy. As a young single woman, I would always say that I just wanted to be happy. As a mature married woman, I now know that I was selling myself short and unknowingly limiting God’s omnipotence. Geez…thank God for the days that led to my growth and understanding. My goal now is joy unspeakable joy, and that comes from placing my hand in God’s hand and trusting him to take good care of me.

As a kid, I lived on a busy street. It was an artery running through my beloved hometown. Everything that I needed was on the same side of the street that I lived — friends, family, and a small Mom and Pop store that sold loose cookies, homegrown tomatoes, and Coke in bottles that you could redeem for a few pennies. I could visit all those places on my own because someone was always watching — Cousin Tootsie, Ms. Sister, Ms. Picayune, and a few others along my block and a half route. I wasn’t satisfied with that level of independence though. I wanted to venture across the street by myself. Though the distance from my house to that corner store was short, it still presented some dangers — fast-moving cars and the naiveté of a child.

After several discussions with my mother, we came to an agreement. Up until that moment, she would hold my hand every time we walked anywhere, and we did a lot of walking. I wanted my independence. So, I allowed her to hold my hand until we got to the intersection. She taught me to look both ways before crossing but to listen as well. I could barely contain my enthusiasm at the thought of darting across the street to Venable’s Grocery by myself one day, and that day was today. I only had a quarter or so to spend, but I went in there like a Boss! My mom waited for me outside the store, and as I walked out with my goodies, we walked to the intersection together. I looked both ways and looked both ways again. This time I was a little fearful because an 18-wheeler was making its way down the artery from Young’s Trucking Company to I10. I looked back, and my mom was still there. Her smile was encouraging — insistent that I could do it. I looked both ways and listened, and then I darted across the street like Flo Jo. As I did my happy dance, I reached for my mom’s hand. This time I didn’t need it. I wanted it.

Our parents aren’t perfect, but our God is, and he entrusted your care here on Earth to them. Long before you were conceived, he knew you and chose them. Honor them while you still can. Hold them tight, and pray for them. My mother taught me to hold onto God’s unchanging hand when I could no longer hold onto hers, and that advice has comforted me through many trials. It has also been a constant reminder of the source of my joy. I encourage you to do the same. Hold onto His hand through it all, and you, too, will experience joy unspeakable joy. May blessings abound!

Before you leave today, take a listen to my Music Monday selection from Tasha Cobbs-Leonard entitled “You Know My Name.”