Jamie Mayes, AOE

Archive for October, 2012|Monthly archive page

How Holy Art Thou?

In Uncategorized on October 25, 2012 at 5:48 am

“Train up a child in a way they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it…”  Proverbs 22:6

It’s not often that I post two blogs in one day, but there are times when my public personal diary deserves extra attention. This occasion is the case. I can recall being in church every Sunday for Sunday school, 11 o’clock service, and evening services. I was in the Red Circle, Sunshine Band and choir. I was President of the Junior Usher Board, Sunday School Secretary, and a member of the Bible Bowl Team. In essence, if it went on at the church I was in the midst of it. Yet, if I fast forward ten years, my life, my schedule, and my church style has changed. Each of the three works together, and thus, has affected how heavily I attend church service. While I may not attend eight of seven days a week, I do regularly attend Sunday services with my lovely god daughters. I make a strong effort to adhere to the word of God and study my bible on a regular basis. Yet, the constant criticism and barking from those who are more sanctified than saints has caused me to nearly lay down my bible for a minute.

I would like to declare that I am the most saved, sanctified, and holy ghost filled Christian ever, but that would be a far cry from reality. I am a hot mess, an emotional storm, and sometimes I let the devil get the best of me. However, I have a heart of compassion and an unquenchable thirst to please God- I have always had them. While I may not currently be a part of the choir or a minister of any church clique, my love for Christ has not change. While I may not spend every waking moment clinging to the words of my flawless pastor, I do spend much of my time critically studying the word, ministering to the sick, being a part of a village that raises a child, volunteering to help those who are less fortunate, providing emotional, financial, and physical support to those in need, and most importantly, striving to reflect a Christ-like attitude in my daily walk.  Note to the masses: Going to church every time the door opens does not guarantee you a ticket to heaven anymore than going to college means you finish with a degree. Application is the key.

There have been many things that have affected my activeness in the ministry- my hectic schedule, changing churches, trying to adapt to a new community, and even some personal issues. However, there was another subconscious issue that plagued me- a true discovery about so many self proclaimed Christians. I discovered far too many churches filled with Christians who indulge in back biting, gossiping, envy, lying, deceit, theft, fornication, adultery, and the list goes on. There seems to be a lack of consciousness and conviction among so many of those who can recite bible verses like they wrote the words themselves. Yet, the biggest question posed by holy rollers upon my arrival is why don’t I attend more often? Even more so, I beg the question: Why have you picked the fruit (the word), but not eaten of it (reflective actions)? I completely understand and sympathize with people who often say they don’t go to church because of so many people who really don’t love Christ. However, wisdom has shown me that I am to be a reflection of the difference, and I can not let others contaminate my spirit. I will not deny that this ugly discovery has often made me prefer to be alone to avoid judgment for my work in progress and the possibility of becoming just like those I despise.

I will admit that many of my perceptions about those who thirst so heavily for the word have changed. At one point, I viewed these people as the most upright members of the church who have a purer heart than typical individuals. However, what I discovered is that those who can’t function without constantly having the word in their face frequently fight the hardest battles to remain true to God.

I am a not a perpetrator; I am a living example of what God can do. I am a reflection of His work, and a doer of his commandments. My message to those who are sprung on the church- God is more impressed with how you apply the word than how you study it. It is no different than what I expect in my classroom; a student can insist that he or she has studied, but I will not give my approval of their knowledge until it is demonstrated through certain tests and projects.

A few years ago, I was blessed to make acquaintance with one of the best professional colleagues ever. We would eat lunch together and talk about our lesson plans on a daily basis. I was well aware that she did not attend church, and I had concluded that perhaps she had some issues with church folk. However, in personal discussions, I would tell her that I would pray for her or that God would give us both favor in whatever we needed. I had no intentions; I simply conversed with her as I would anyone else in casual discussion. One day, she told me, “Jamie, I will admit that I had given up on church. It wasn’t that I was against God, but so many people I meet who are supposed to be preachers and Christians are worse than everyone else. You changed that though. I watch your work and how you treat people, and you have changed my perception. I know ALL Christians are not that way.” Of course, I started crying. Quite often, I questioned if I was enough for God, and whether people could really see Him in me. She was proof that they did. I desired even more to try to be better for my students and my peers. I have been blessed to pray for students and even more blessed to see my students pray with each other right in my classroom. Therefore my question to the holy rollers becomes, what have you done to minister to those who are not a part of your regular church party or those who did not come to you for assistance? Have you been approachable or has your spiritual bougeeness blocked your opportunity to truly minister to a prostitute, struggling mother or father, drug addict, nonbeliever, low achiever, the homeless, the depressed or the suicidal?

Frustratingly I declare that there have been moments when I simply want to tell my Christian friends, Please remove your nose from my business and put it back into your bible. I think it was much better there, but the Christ of me remembers James 1:22. Look it up; I’m sure that bible busters know it by heart. I am not condemning those who genuinely enjoying attending church and fellowshipping, but I am condemning the actions of those who are critical of others who do not function on the same schedule as them. Church does not make you saved, living according to the word does. For we all remember that most of Jesus’ work was not done in the temple, it was done when he walked the streets.

This blog is not to imply that I am satisfied with my level of biblical intellectualism or the depth of my spiritual walk, but it is to explain that as I grow, there is no need for a super saved Christian to pound upon my head that I should be in church just as often as he or she in order to demonstrate that am saved. Remember, the stones you throw don’t hurt me; they only create a distorted reflection of you. May you be blessed. *Help me, Lord, I just went into a praise!*

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It’s Going to be a Happy Birthday!

In Uncategorized on October 25, 2012 at 2:25 am

Yes, it’s true. I am officially only three weeks away from my thirtieth birthday. I have been avoiding the thought of it, trying to focus on any small thing by turning it into something big. But alas, it can no longer be done. I must accept that I am embarking upon a new decade of life- the THIRTIES! While I am very happy that God has blessed me to reach this milestone, this pivotal point of life has caused me to do some deep thinking about my past, my present, and my future. Without hesitation, I will admit that my major concerns were marriage, family, and career.  It was my plan to have a six carat pink or yellow diamond placed upon my finger at a stadium full of my closest family friends by some top executive or a lawyer or perhaps a high school principal who could imagine himself without me! By now I was supposed to be pregnant with at least my sixth child, preferably all boys! Relax, that is merely an extended version of my plans, yet, I did think I would be living the life as a wife and mother and career woman by now. However, it seems my plans have been delayed at times maybe even derailed.

I openly admit that the reason for these choices is my own. I have never been compelled by the Southern girl stereotype and my family has never pressured me to find the right one. My plans were my personal goals and I was excited at the thought of assuming all roles. There is a stark reality that hits adults when you become a college graduate or when entering the real working world. Life is expensive; relationships are difficult. Successful careers take investment and work. I had personal goals that I needed to accomplish to prepare for the type of lifestyle that I would like for my family to have, and I realized that the full time commitment which a family demands could not be entered into casually. I devised a plan. I created a timeline and declared that each of my goals would be accomplished by the turn of a new decade in my life. Unfortunately, I left no margin for error in my calculations, perhaps setting myself up for a little disappointment. There was the failed relationship that I thought would be a permanent one. Then, there was the delay of notoriety for my writing, for I was sure that a year of intensive work would guarantee the fame equal to some the country’s or even state’s finest literary artists and key note speakers. Mix in financial complications, emotional setbacks, professional issues, and religious struggles, and not only did the time in my line change, so did the direction of my life.

For quite a while I was frustrated. I was fed up with being in wedding parties and acting as god mother, confidant, wife trainer, and supportive friend to everyone else. I was ready for my own moment of celebration of these life changing moments. It sent me into isolation, avoiding these celebratory groups and constant reminders that I was not part of the exclusive clubs of “grown people.” I became very vocal with God, demanding to know why he was not operating my time line, and lacking an understanding of why he was teasing me.  But an understanding of God’s timing and being able to accomplish specifically what I wanted, would make me re-evaluate my attitude- yes, God put me in check. My perspective began to change as did my outlook.

As I approach thirty, I must declare that I am the happiest I have ever been in life. Each experience I’ve had has been in preparation for the next level of life and a lesson for the life that I desire. And while I have not secured a dream house, a husband, and two point five kids and a flourishing career as a writer and mother at this point, every experience I’ve gone through has given me the ability to be at my best when my moment of bliss arrives. I gratefully understand why God destroyed my timeline and instead told me to follow his directions, and they would lead directly to the desires of my heart. So, I approach thirty, I can’t help but to smile at the grandeur of the next ten years of life. For I know, that the growth in my twenties has prepared me for experiences in my thirties, which will lead to a fabulous life n my forties. Happy Birthday to me!

**KISSES IN THE WIND TO MY TWENTIES, I’M SO READY FOR MY THIRTIES!**

The Cruelty of Young Death

In Uncategorized on October 8, 2012 at 11:10 pm

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This morning when I woke up I imagined that this would be a great week. As a matter of a fact I had pre-planned it. My lesson plans were written and submitted early, and I had made plans to update grades and make a new spectacular PowerPoint, eliminating much stress from my weekly schedule of chaos. But there was some pre-planning for my pre-planning that said my week would go completely differently. For on this morning I received life changing news in a most random fashion. There had been an accident over the weekend, and it had resulted in the death of an Ouachita student. He and his friends had been on their way home when something went wrong and he, a passenger, was ejected from the vehicle and killed. Michael- only a week before- had finally gotten what he wanted for a while. Michael had been saying since last school year that he wanted to go back to Caldwell Parish to be with his family and friends. I had tried during that school year and up until the week he left to convince him to stay at Ouachita; he had so much potential to be something great. He was always happy, and his classmates thought his down home country humor was hilarious. It was Michael who requested prayer and lead it on the day that we took our state exams. It had become a joke that one day he would be a preacher. I hoped that he would grow to love Ouachita High School just as much as he loved his last school. However, a little over one week ago, Michael said his final good bye as he left our school.

I anticipated seeing Michael again, maybe in the store or when our school played his. Maybe he would even change his mind and come back. Yet, fate and God’s plan would not match anything that I imagined, because I would not see Michael ever again. This morning, when I got the news that my 17 year old former student was the only one out four people to die in this accident, I was devastated. I left the room in disarray and tears, heartbroken by what seemed to be God’s betrayal. I still didn’t want to believe it; I had to read the article myself to verify the truth. Michael Woods, 17 year old teen, is dead after a fatal car accident. For two hours I sat in the same spot, not moving, not wanting to be touched. I was equipped to handle a lot of things; I have been through struggles, but death has always been the hardest for me to cope with. I felt weak and small, angry and confused. Seventeen year old kids don’t deserve to die.

I began to think about his classwork that is still stashed in my file cabinets with the rest of his classmates. I thought about my god daughters, two of whom I had seen only hours ago. I realized that it was always a chance that I could not see them again. I thought about my 17 year old sister in class at that moment in Texas; who could guarantee I would see her again? I thought about my mother, my brothers, my friends, my family…all of whom I could not imagine my life without. Some I am sure could not imagine life without me. I prayed with an immeasurable intensity for his family, mine, and every child who enters my class. I begged for death to not come knocking at their door. Yet, in all honesty, I fully realize that the plans of God will far outweigh my pleas at times. So then I prayed for strength to accept that death is a part of life. And though it seems that out of this world is the worse place he can be, may Michael rest in peace.

The Exit

There are so many ways you can exit this stage
But how will you go?
What determines the pain you feel as you make your grand exit?
Or how your exit will arrive?
Will it be due to some unfortunate terminal illness that befell you suddenly?
Or a violent interaction between man and a force stronger than self?

 -another car, a knife, a gun, a tragic fall off of a cliff or an unpreventable freak accident

I used to think days are only shortened by disrespect and misbehavior because others say that this is according to the word
But I’ve seen the evil ways of children who grow to be the meanest of adults and the grouchiest of old people

 and it seems that their days have hardly been lessened
So often angels walk the face of this earth sharing their love and joy with everyone
Only to be taken from our presence seemingly all too soon.
And what do we do
But cry, remember, and cherish the special moments held
The good ,the bad, and all those things in between are the bittersweetness
Of knowing it was a blessing to have them

yet we are so sad that they are gone.

© Copyright 2012 by Motivational Inspirations

DANGER! PLEASE READ!

In Uncategorized on October 2, 2012 at 4:37 am

About a year ago I realized I was in terrible danger. I found myself staring heavily at one eyed monster after one eyed monster, relying on them solely for intellectual stimulation. My thirstiness for reading and page turning had been replaced with YouTube clips and television shows. I was spending less time reading and more time flipping through “reality” TV and searching page after page on the web. I will shamefully admit that I even found myself wondering why I should read about it, when I could simply click a few buttons and replay it over and over again. To think! An author and teacher who constantly insisted that reading was fundamental had fallen victim to the lifestyle of trading books for a lazy boy and a remote.

Yet, as I began writing more often and seriously, I ran into a few major problems. My writing was bland and my work started to seem marginalized by my limited vocabulary and exposure. With no hesitation I turned to YouTube to watch clips of my favorite authors-which seems a bit of an oxymoron within itself- to help me reconnect with my passion. Still, when I turned the video off and went back to my computer screen, nothing seemed to come to me. I pulled out my favorite movie, The Color Purple, and laughed whole heartedly at Miss Celie, Shug, and Mista, thinking to myself, dang that Alice Walker is amazing. This fiasco would continue throughout the summer until August, when I returned to work. Per the suggestion of a co-worker, I decided to try a new short story that she declared my students would love. I flipped the pages of the textbook not because of a genuine interest in the work of an unfamiliar author, but because of my desire to find a new story that would capture my young audience. Yet, it was I who sat in awe of the compilation of words written by W.W. Jacobs. His use of imagery allowed me to create my own illustrations and his irony pushed my mind to question the motivation of the author. At the conclusion of the final line, I found myself looking for my notepad. I had to write about this author and his profoundness.

This was only the beginning of my rediscovery that reading was my key to writing. I began treated reading like a warm up activity for everyday life. Reading opened my mind to whatever I needed to do. If I needed to set the mode for a positive day, I read inspirational scriptures. If I needed to feel uplifted, I found a short story by a comical author. If I wanted to cook something new and fancy, I found a recipe book from the library. The restoration of my love for reading illuminated my flame for writing and discussion, and I found myself bringing intellectual words into simple discussion and creating simple discussion over intellectual words. “Have you ever wondered why lead becomes led, but read remains red?” I pondered one day. I had rediscovered the passion that connected me to my love for writing- reading.

As technology continues to grow, reading is becoming the dinosaur of learning. Sorely in danger of extinction, reading is the basis of imagination and the only real way that the mind can be challenged. While visual representations on television and the computer are entertaining, they often marginalize and limit the imagination of audiences. Put the remote down, power off the computer; dust off those ancient books and READ, READ, READ!

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