By Aleya Taylor
In our lives, we as black women typically have women in our families whose stories are filled with triumph, who lives are a canvas of constant decisions and sacrifices, whose hands are road maps of centuries of labor and toil. These black women endure, they press, and they uplift with no audience to cheer them on. They shine bright as gold and smile through every tear they aren’t allowed to release. I think about my great-grandmother, my grandmother, my mother, and aunts and I remember all the generations of black women who live this life. Who live in this world. Who go uncared for….
“The black woman is like a crayon, she may not be your favorite color but one day you will need her to complete your picture” -Lauryn Hill
I remember back in the day growing up in church, we pretty much sang the same songs and hymns every Sunday: pass me not, pressed down shaken together, I need you to survive, you know the ones. There was always this one song that was chosen for praise dances, Encourage Yourself. My mom always resonated heavily with this song. I would watch her cry and lift her hands to the sky praying to be lifted up, begging for someone to give her relief from her daily struggles. I can hear the lyrics in my head like a children's church memory verse..."sometimes you have to encourage yourself." As a young girl I looked at the pain and longing in my mother's eyes and thought..."Please dear God give her strength."
I think to myself now as a young black woman with her own share of experiences now, and with everything black women have and will endure I ask myself “Who will encourage the Black Woman?”
15 The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; 16 the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. 17 But from everlasting to everlasting, the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children—18 with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. 19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. 20 Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. 21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. 22 Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the Lord, my soul.
Psalms 103: 15-22 (NIV)
In verse 15-16 of Psalms 103 the Lord says our lives wither like the wind blows and its place remembers it no more. These verses are a reminder of how temporary this life we will live on earth is and how in this short life we remember that our pain is not infinite either. When things look bleak and dark the Lord is there. Although the pain of the black women has been long in journey and tough in plight, we look up to know that none of it is eternal.
This connects to what I absolutely love about the following verses of this scripture, David continues to say that from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and within that, his righteousness will follow from generation to generation. In return for His faithfulness to us we Praise Him and obey His precepts. So I guess when I was a little girl looking up to my mother and wondering who will encourage her, I knew the answer. I just didn’t know how He would. Sisters, in our pain and plight we are encouraged in Christ to fear him. Which doesn’t mean to run, hide, or be terrified. Fearing the Lord means being reverent and obedient to who God is and His sovereignty in our lives.
We are encouraged because like David said his righteousness follows us from generations to generation with those who obey him. Sisters, we have a strong line of black women who through their obedience to God we are here today to continue to keep those same commandments.
Be encouraged to know that the Joy of the Lord is our strength. Know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made in the imagine of God. Know that you are altogether beautiful and there is no flaw in you. Know ultimately that we sing to the Lord! Praise the Lord! For although we were poor and needy, God rescued us!
I listen to that song now and I realize that when they say encourage yourself they mean speak God’s truth over yourself.
Sometimes or maybe a lot of times in this world as black women we feel left out, forgotten, and used. Something I have learned is that God is a God of many things. One aspect of him I fail to look to Him for is comfort. I look at him as healer, forgiver, savior, intercessor, Father, but comforter? Encourager?
What is that when you look at God you lack to see?
Pray with me Sis!
Lord I thank you for your word and your truth! And like the song says help us to encourage ourselves and one another by speaking and seeking your truth over our lives. God when we begin to believe lies remind us of Christ. That yet while we were sinners, needy, poor, prideful, conceited, doubtful, vain, longing for hope, Jesus you humbled yourself and suffered that ‘ol rugged cross for us. On the days where we feel left out, unheard , not chosen, forgotten, tired and used point us to that cross, help us to remember to be encouraged even in suffering because there is victory that comes after the cross. In Jesus name! Amen