Okay, we all know 21st Century Americans (or any member of a first world country) love TV shows! Netflix, Hulu, and AmazonPrime are beloved streaming services people flock to for entertainment. For the Faith-Based Audience, we live off Pureflix and the Hallmark’s Movies app. But let’s keep it real… it’s because God taught us to see the good in anything, we can find satisfaction in Pureflix and Hallmark, because these are the avenues that give us grown up content without the nudity, the language, the gore, and the darkness. Yes, there is Vidangel that filters all the bad stuff out of “Game of Thrones” and “Stranger Things”, but is it really as good as the uncensored originals?
Programmers make content that the current society can relate to, and they do this to ensure people will watch their show. If programmers want to introduce something new to society, we now consider taboo, we will see it in comedic format until society catches up to this “something new” and having a drama with the content is palatable.
One of the first TV characters to have a baby, out of wedlock, on TV was Murphy Brown. “Murphy Brown” the TV show, was a comedy in the late 80s to mid 90s (it has been rebooted and cancelled after season one… not gonna lie… I prayed for that cancellation). Single mothers were common across America at the time. The programmers (producers, writers, directors, executives, etc.) addressed single mothers because they knew there were many out there and could relate to it. Also, think about the young women at the time who watched this show, and were raised to believe having kids out of wedlock was wrong… how many do you think decided maybe it wasn’t so bad if they had a kid outside marriage, and they made different life choices because of “Murphy Brown”?
Don’t twist my words… making choices based on what one sees on TV can be negative, but it can also be positive. Some may think, “No one makes life decisions based on TV and TV characters!”
I was on Instagram today, and one of my favorite actresses Olivia Wilde, made post about how proud she was of her bisexual character Alex Kelly on “The O.C.”. I literally read a comment where someone posted they realized they were gay because of her character on that show…
Now, depending on what worldview lens you hold, will determine how interpret what I wrote above.
As a person with a Judeo-Christian perspective, I don’t agree the homosexual lifestyle can be lived out and lead to Heaven with the God of the Holy Bible. There is enough scripture in there to support my personal belief. Now, if you’re reading this and you don’t believe homosexuality will lead to eternal death, I’m not angry and I won’t try to convince you otherwise. If you want a better understanding of what I believe and why I believe it, please email me at email@example.com. If I quote scripture on homosexuality such as the following:
Leviticus 18:22: Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin. (NLT)
Leviticus 20:13: If a man practices homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman, both men have committed a detestable act. They must both be put to death, for they are guilty of a capital offense. (NLT)
Romans 1:26-27: That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. (NLT)
1 Corinthians 6:9-11: Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive or cheat people –none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (NLT)
Then I could be accused of using hate speech on social media and I don’t want to get removed from Facebook. I’m quoting from the sacred text that billions of people believe to be the WORD OF GOD, the One who MADE EVERYTHING. Now, what the WORD says may not sound awesome to embrace and may be contrary to how a lot of people feel and think, but in a world where definitions and truths are as fickle as feelings and ever changing, what my God says today is the same it was 4,000 years ago and that brings me peace.
[Let’s rabbit trail, and think on this for a moment… God is love (1 John 4 says so) and love that is unconditional will always do what is best for the other person, regardless of how that other person feels, thinks, or acts. However, we have learned as the human race, we don’t do anything unless we believe in what we’re doing and believe what we claim as truth as our reason for why we do what we do. We are like this, because God designed us to believe in Him, but if we miss Him, we will find anything else to believe in that makes ourselves feel good…
So God, who is LOVE, had awesome experiences with humanity for thousands of years, but no one could stay consistent in listening to Him. Through the founding fathers of faith (in Judaism), He gave guidance and instructions to live a blessed life and because God longed to connect with the rest of humanity, he asked Abraham and his descendants to live according to love and to live for others as opposed to living to self, which is vain and leads to death.
Think about circumcision? Men are less prone to diseases and less likely to spread diseases if they are circumcised. How loving is that? God wanted men and women to be in good health! I will spare us specific details of why, for all the adults reading this, you can think of why.
To help humanity out, and specifically His people out, God writes down His guidelines and His instructions to the Blessed Good Life. Anyone who reads it, believes it, and lives out their life upon what the WORD says will live a BLESSED GOOD LIFE (in the end, when you look back on their life).
If you look at the Kosher Diet, that some people in Judaism follow to the letter, living in a time without the FDA, antibiotics, probiotics, and weight loss pills… that diet is the best diet to live a long, prosper life way back in those Bible days.
The Ten Commandments may have had harsh penalties, but if we look at 8 of them, they all prevent people from doing bad things, if they abide by them. The first two, if those are followed, those people would never do anything bad because following God of the Bible didn’t ask for crazy rituals to be pleased…
Do you realize most pagan idols (gods) back then required human blood sacrifice, sexual orgies, eating raw animal meat, torturing people, killing animals, doing drugs, mutilating their own bodies, and who knows what other vile things?!
People back then lived by fear. If they were afraid of something or someone, they most likely didn’t do what would get them in trouble. To ensure the people Israel wouldn’t do super bad things, God made a super bad punishment knowing most people would be too afraid to go against that. And if you read the Bible, when the whole lot of Israel got disobedient, He just graciously exiled them from the Promise Land, he didn’t kill all of them and start again, He realized after Noah, that doesn’t really work (kidding… I think…).
God is GOOD. He is LOVE. His WORD is LIFE. Living by His SPIRIT does HELP US in our EVERY DAY LIVES.
End of rabbit trail.]
Again, why isn’t there anything good (suitable for believers) to watch on TV?
I think we settle for it.
We watch what we want because it gets us hooked and because we know the truth all the sin, all the falsehood, and all the blaspheme against God doesn’t affect us that much. If we’re solid in the WORD, solid in our PRAYER LIFE, and connected to the BODY these shows don’t impact us deeply. For some folks, watching a scene with nudity could lead them to falling in the area of lust and acting upon those lusts. Or watching a show with bad words could lead them to cuss. Apply a scenario you watch on a show and how you do similar things in real life.
I’m not telling anyone to quit all TV, but if you want a program that honors God, and puts what is good on display, free from deception and the grips of the enemy, then we need to let programmers know there is a demand for it and there will be an audience that watches it. But it starts with us writing emails to local networks and asking why isn’t there a primetime show safe to watch with your kids about doctors? Who would love a Shonda Rimes Drama free from the scandal – okay, probably no one because she does scandal so well she created a show called SCANDAL! Hopefully, you see my point!
Another thing we could do is pray… Pray for more content to be made not just for the enjoyment of believers but to spread the Gospel beyond using the Nativity Story and the Life of Jesus. (Be on the look out for Chosen TV on Vidangel. Yes, the creators of Vidangel are Mormon, excuse me, LDS, but the creators of Chosen TV are not. Dallas Jenkins is the creator and director and this series is going to be BETTER than the BIBLE SERIES because it is more Biblically accurate with consulting from Messianic Rabbis from Israel! The first season isn’t out yet, but it’s coming sooooooooooooooon).
Also, have such an appetite for the things of God that whatever you’re watching, you see Jesus in it or where Jesus is lacking!
Programmers will make what we want to see when we show them what we want. Maybe we’ll luck out and Sarah Drew and Chris Pratt will team up and create an AWESOME show that is faith inspired and faith based for Hulu or for Netflix, and everyone can’t stop talking about it because it is SO GOOD! (Yes, this is secret prayer of my heart…Oops, it’s not a secret anymore, where two or more are gathered, HE IS THERE!)
Feel free to comment below, I only ask that you remain respectful. If anyone has any personal questions or wants to know my testimony about being set free from gender dysphoria and then lesbianism, email me at justbriannamonique.blog and I’ll be more than happy to share how I was Transformed By God’s Love (LBGT backyards acronym).
ALSO, if you feel inspired to, SHARE THIS POST with whoever and wherever! I’m already grateful for the gift of writing, this blog platform WordPress, and apps like Canva and Adobespark that help me do all this. I give God the MOST GLORY (like all of it) because I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing without His constant leading and prodding.
My meditation scripture for the foreseeable future is Psalm 23:5-6 (ESV):
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely[a] goodness and mercy[b] shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell[c] in the house of the Lord
And yes, I plan to meditate on these verses three times a day, every day. Normally, I would think such an act is “too religious”, but I found out Lindsay Lohan meditates three times a day and that is her “personal religion”. She made zero mention of a god or believing in an existing religion as hers. Who knows what she meditates on… maybe she thinks of something or maybe she empties out her mind.
But meditating with God’s Word is simple, it’s a matter of going over the verses for a few minutes and thinking on them. Soaking the verses in to the point you believe them.
If you ask me right now, “Hey Brianna, do believe in the Lord in the way David described Him in Psalm 23?” I would say, “yes”. But if you look at how I respond to certain circumstances in my life, no way… okay, maybe sometimes. But David was always saying out loud what he thought of God and who God was to Him in relation to how he saw the world. Many times, he received prophetic words about our coming Lord Jesus. So he wasn’t thinking of God in light of how He wanted to see God, he thought of God how the Lord revealed Himself to David. And for living as he did because he thought as he did, David became the man after God’s heart. David was after God’s heart. David was not ultimately after his own.
Wow… rabbit trail two! I am definitely a woman, right?
To really sum it up, let’s make TV Networks give us more of what we want. Let’s watch less of the smut they are showing us and force them to create something that glorifies God, not exploit God. Be intentional what you stream, download, and tune into on TV.
…10 Years Forward…
I’m honored to do Genie’s hair. Brings back memories of doing hair while Derek and I were both in college. He was finishing up his Bachelor’s in Religious Studies and I was getting my Master’s in Education. I worked at a high end salon, so I was racking in a lot of dough. Derek was working two jobs on top of going to school. And when I wasn’t at the salon, I was taking care of our girls… we barely saw each other.
But now, I work at Brink as a Math Teacher and Derek works at a Christian School as a Chaplain. He still works at warehouse some nights and on the weekends, but we’re not crazy busy like we used to be. He’s currently working on his Masters and wants to get his Doctorate eventually. I’m amazed at where we are!
“Wha-la!” I say spritzing her tight, pulled back bun with hairspray to hold it in place all night. I really didn’t do anything fancy.
She stands up and gives me the mightiest hug for the skinniest girl. Then she holds my shoulders and looks me in the eye, “I had a dream you and Derek had a baby boy.”
With an eye roll, “Derek and I are happy with both our girls… we don’t need anymore kids.”
We really couldn’t afford that right now.
“I’m just saying… he’s adorable! He looks like Papa Trick.”
Julie is pasty white with straight black hair and hazel eyes. Priscilla has straight red hair and ice blue eyes with freckles. She’s trying to tell me Derek and I are going to have a kid with brown skin and curly hair? HA!
“What are you smoking?” I joke.
“I know this is hard to accept but accept it!” She says keeping her cheery smile. She takes her navy-blue ball gown off its rack that helped it hang on the door of her closet. The bell of the gown embellished with faux diamonds and pearly-looking jewels. The sleeves of the gown matching blue but also see-through.
“I’ll wait for you downstairs with everyone else.” I say as I leave.
I was prepared to go through the whole safe sex talk. I know that makes me a little hypocritical as a Christian… but I think it’s better to have that conversation, but Genie’s pretty on fire for God… which I know we’re all prone to falling and sinning at times, but her heart desires what God wants for her life. At least I’m pretty sure, if her heart isn’t in that place, she is a GREAT actress.
In the foyer, Bobby lectures Oliver, Genie’s date, about when to be back and all the things father’s lecture their daughter’s date about. I picture Derek doing the same thing in like seven years when Julie goes to her first school dance. O my God! That’s only seven years away… I feel OLD. Okay, I’m only 26, but I have a 9-year-old! All my friends are just getting married and starting to have kids…
Xzavia, Bobby’s wife, has Albany on the home video-chat system. She’s away at college in Columbus, OH… That’s so far away from us, but we’ll see her at Christmas.
I purposely step in the line of sight to steal the attention.
Me: Hey Al!
Albany: I miss you.
Me: I miss you more! I can’t wait for Christmas… why aren’t you coming home for Thanksgiving again?
Albany: I’m going to spend it with Philip’s family. They’re right here in town.
Me: Aw… I forgot you have a serious boyfriend. Stop growing up! Just stop!!!
Albany: Whatever! You can take it.
Me: No, I can’t… (I get all teary-eyed.)
Albany: Are you crying? Are you finally pregnant again?
Me: Did Genie tell you about her dream?
Albany: No, we were praying for our families in class last month and I had a vision of you having a boy. He looks like your dad, just a lighter version. His curls are so gorgeous. You’ll finally have a kid that looks like you.
Me: (Trying not to be offended I say🙂 Julie and Priscilla look like me! We have the same eyes and noses.
Albany: Whatever, your son is gorgeous! I can’t wait until you find out your pregnant.
Me: D and I are done having kids!
From the top of the stairs, Genie yells, “No, you’re not!”
Looking at Albany on the hand held video-chat sphere, Xzavia comes to my rescue, “Stop pestering her. Prophecy can change according to obedience, are you sure you were released to share that with Savvy right now?”
Albany: (wincing from shame) Oops. Sorry Savvy. I love you.
Clearing her throat loudly and theatrically fake, Genie directs everyone’s attention to her. We applaud her and tell her how beautiful she is as she descends the stairs. She walks up to Oliver, who nervously tells her how pretty she is. He puts the red rose corsage he brought on her right wrist.
In front of the door, she stands locking elbows with Oliver. Oliver’s black bowl-cut hair is slicked with a lot of moose to stay in place. He wears a gray suit with a navy-blue bow tie and a burgundy dress shirt. They smile for photos. I don’t get why Genie died her beautiful blonde hair jet black, but she wanted a different look. I never pictured Genie dating a Native American, but they look cute together. I for sure thought she would date a Mexican with her love of Mexican culture.
I remember when she was tiny playing princess in Bobby’s living room! I can’t handle this!!!
After pictures, I swoop in and hug her not wanting to let her leave. I whisper in her ear, “Guard your heart…” She totally knows what I mean by that.
Derek is the youth pastor at church, that we all go to together, and he preached a sermon about sexuality and purity. He preached when we guard our hearts we’re holding dear all the promises of God, and when we trust God and follow in His precepts, when we receive God’s promises it gives glory to God and prevents us from damaging our souls or hurting others. He emphasized sex out of marriage compromises our relationship with God. Because we’re designed for marriage and only meant to have sex within marriage, doing it outside of marriage damages our heart, but within marriage sex ignites our hearts and helps us build healthy concepts of commitment, love, and intimacy. I wish I heard a sermon like that as a teenager… Even though Derek and I didn’t have sex until our wedding night, this night ten years ago, which was like 4 months after Julie was born… I think Derek and I would have just had a smoother first year of marriage, if we heard the message he preached on “Guarding Our Hearts” at Genie’s age…
“Can you let go now? I don’t want to show up after all the fun is over.” She says loudly.
I release her drying my tears on my sleeve.
“Oh, Happy Anniversary! Why are you hear and not with your husband?” Genie wonders.
“He had to work… we’re gonna celebrate next weekend. Thank you.”
Bobby embraces me on the left and Xzavia embraces me on the right, as we stand outside by the door and watch the young couple get in Oliver’s mustang and drive away to one of the best nights of their high school career.
“Belated Happy Anniversary”
Half awake I feel a warm light appear in front of my face. The smell of pine firewood hits my nose and I perk up suddenly opening my eyes. To my wonderful surprise, it’s Derek holding a new candle of my favorite sent to my nose. I look at the alarm clock and it’s 4:13 am. He must have just gotten in.
“Happy Anniversary… Have I told you lately… I love you so much.” He set the candle down on my night stand and kisses me.
He breaks away and goes to stand up, but I hold him by the head, “Are you coming to bed?”
“I’m all sweaty and musky from lifting packages all night. Don’t you want me to shower first?”
“You can shower afterwards.” I kiss him back.
He pulls away to gain clarity, “You mean I’m actually getting lucky tonight?”
“So, you don’t want to then?” I tease.
Quickly, he stands up and whips off his shirt and then leaps over me and lands on his side of the bed. His long locks cover his face like a curtain. I turn over and I hover his head. I wipe the hair out of his eyes, strand by strand. For a good while, we just smile and stare at each other. He doesn’t look that different than he did 10 years ago. He’s a little thicker. I remember after military school for two years he had a six pack but now it’s a pouch… I’m very grateful he isn’t going bald like his dad…
But beyond his looks, I’m so in love with who he is on the inside now. I love the man of God he is. I love the father he is to our girls. I love the type of son he is to his parents. The type of brother he is to his siblings and to mine. I love the kind of neighbor he is to everyone around us. I love how he treats me like I’m his queen, but he leads me like a king. I love him more than I did yesterday. And yesterday, I loved him a lot because he picked up an extra shift at work to earn more money for our family vacation next June.
He lifts his head to kiss me, but I back up.
“What? You changed your mind?”
“Genie, Albany, and Xzavia have had visions of us having another baby… and I know we can’t really afford that right now?”
“Well, I wasn’t planning on going unprotected tonight.”
Yeah, we’re that couple that still uses condemns… Birth control makes me sick… we tried many different kinds but I’m one of the women in the world that gets terribly sick under hormone manipulation… and neither one of us like the idea of getting fixed… I’m usually pretty good about tracking my ovulation and make sure we avoid making love on the days I ovulate to be extra safe, but I don’t know… I kind of want another baby.
“You don’t have to tonight… if you think we can manage the expenses as they come up…”
“Oh, we can handle anything together. Are you sure?”
“Yeah…” I say right as I kiss him.
Tyler Swipe, who some how transformed into a pop star after rising to fame as a teen country star, announces who the New Artist of the Year is, “Kaylie Johnson!”
Julie and Priscilla leap off the couch and start jumping radically all over the floor. Julie does a somersault in between the coffee table and the TV yelling, “SHE DID IT!”
“Aunt Kaylie won! Aunt Kaylie FREAKING WON!” Cillie shouts exuberantly.
I’m like crying… This is the moment she’s been working for the past ten years. She moved to Nashville after high school. She would call me after every rejection, every fallen-through deal, and every disappointment for encouragement and prayer. When she took the huge risk to transition from a Christian artist to a Secular artist, she got a lot of criticism from our circle of Christian friends. But last September, her album dropped and beat out some of the top artists in the country. Her single “Love & Freedom” still sits at number one. Her album is the most downloaded across all platforms. Over half the songs on her album have been featured on TV shows, and in films…
Kaylie wears a stunning red dress, he long hair in a fancy fishtail braid, with sparkles and jewels woven in. She hugs the songtress Tyler Swipe and accepts her AMA.
Crying joyfully, she wipes her tears, “O dear Jesus my Messiah… I don’t have any words… but… Thank you! Thank you God, thank you to my producers Lauren and Ed, to all the musicians who played on this album… thank you to Neill, my husband… I love you honey… Oh, and I have to thank my bestie- Savvy! I’m so grateful for this and I would not be hear today if I did not trust the path God sent me down. My glory is God’s glory. Oh- and thank you Julie and Cillie, your prayers got me through- now go to bed!”
The girls freak out they got mentioned on national TV.
God’s goodness can be overwhelmingly beautiful.
“Cash Moneymaker, Future NBA ALL-STAR”
“Let’s go defense!” I blare at the top of my lungs.
“Cash Money!” Trick hollers.
It’s nice that we’re all here. Derek, my girls, Bobby, Genie, and Xzavia, Netty, and Deshaun, and Arnie and Jessica. Trick too, my dad, who is the best. I still can’t bring myself to call him dad like Netty and Arnie, but he’s cool with me calling him Trick. So… after Julie was born, I did start writing him letters, but even after he got out of prison we didn’t connect until my grandma, his mom, got sick. Julie was five and Priscilla was three. Julie has always been close to my grandma since she was born, so over the last week of her life we camped out at the hospital and Julie bonded with my dad right away. I knew there was no way to avoid him anymore.
Cash takes after his dad. He has a beautiful set of curls and yet, he shaves them all off to sport a bald look… He’s so tall for 13… 6’0”! College scouts are already recruiting him. He plays varsity for the high school he’ll be attending next year as point guard. Last week an analyst on ESPN brought him up and says he’s the second coming of Kobe Bryant…
Watching him on the court dazzles us.
One-minute left in the 4th quarter, we’re down by two points, and the other team has the ball. Cash didn’t play most of the game because he hasn’t been listening to the coach. He’s in right now, because he’s the best player defensively and offensively. He’s also the number one stealer in the region right now.
Sure enough, Cash steals the ball from the opposite team’s point guard. He drives to the hoop. On his way up for a lay-up he gets fouled, but he still makes the basket. He makes the extra point putting the team ahead by one.
The clock slowly whines down, between the fouls and the time outs and the free throw shots, from both sides.
Ten seconds to go, we’re down by two, our ball. Full court pressure after the ball gets passed in to Cash. Cash spins around his defenders and rushes to the top of the key at the three-point line, he pops his shot off and it goes in putting us up by one!!! Yes.
They put full court pressure on the other team and the clock runs out before they cross over to their side of the court. We WON!
The whole family high-fives and hugs as we cheer about the victory. Cash leaves his teammates to join in our family hug. We don’t care that he smells and is drenched in sweat. We put him in the center of us and smother him with love!
This is one portrait of family I never pictured. I wanted a close family like this my entire life, since I was a little girl. We are far from perfect. We fight a lot and get on each other nerves, but there’s no doubt any of us love each other. We are all alcohol and drug free. We spend every holiday together. We get together once a month and we take giant family vacations together. We attend the same church. We live in the same city, and whether we’re blood or not, because we’re family, we’re there for each other, no matter what… All things are possible with God.
And my nephew will make it to the NBA if my prayers have anything to with it!
As we release Cash to go back to his team, Trick announces, “Pizza on me at Mama’s EVERYBODY!”
Trick does really well financially. He wrote a book about his life and his conversion to Christ while he was prison. He goes around the world sharing his testimony and preaching the gospel. And last month he just sold his book’s rights to Pureflix so they can make a movie about his life. Makes me wonder if I should write a story about my life… no one would believe I’m not on drugs, not a smoker, and not an alcoholic. That I’m a teen mom that lives in upper-middle class with a Master’s Degree. That I’m married to my childhood sweetheart. That I survived rape, kept and raised my rapist’s baby, and put my rapist behind bars… No one would believe my story.
“I Miss You”
Ten years ago today, a time of tremendous gloom
I sat in your hospital room
I witnessed you rededicate your soul to the One
Who bled, died, and rose again for you- the Son
Messiah Jesus- our glorious savior
Who won your heart through a painful cross labor
I’m at peace knowing you’re in paradise
I can’t imagine the glory you know and the size
Of the smile on your face
In that wonderful place
I have so many unfulfilled wishes really
I wish you got to hold Julie and Cillie
I wish you were there when Derek and I said I do
I wish I could hold you and kiss you and tell you I love you
I don’t really remember telling you that
And even though you put me through a lot of crap
I’m so grateful we had that best time together
For your finale in life, that it was better
Than our ugly beginning
I know you know in life now I’m winning
But with all my blessings- it doesn’t change this fact
I MISS YOU. I MISS YOU. I MISS YOU.
I stare at the letter from Kurt. He got sentenced for 15 years but he’s up for parole due to good behavior. He claims to have found Christ and his letter is filled with a long-winded apology. He wants me to be a character witness for him at his hearing! I believe he’s changed, but I don’t want to help him get out sooner. He wants to meet Julie too.
Now, we’ve told Julie that Derek isn’t her birth father. We told her that Kurt was and that he wasn’t a very good man and he was in prison for something bad that he did. We did not tell her about the horrendous act that led to her conception. We’re waiting until she’s older and more mature to handle that reality. We’re not lying to her, we’re just withholding part of the truth.
For the past year, I’ve allowed Julie and Kurt to exchange letters, but Julie’s never expressed she wants to meet him. She’s never referred to Kurt as her father. She tells her best friend Stacey that Kurt her is sperm donor dad. She came up with that take all on her own, after she watched a PBS special about IVF and egg and sperm donating in America, and how laxed our restrictions are on how often people can donate their genetic material. She may be 9, but at times she’s like 30.
I don’t know what to do… I don’t think I can handle this right now. Christmas is coming up, Derek and I just found out we’re pregnant for a third time- I really don’t why I let my sisters manipulate me into this pregnancy, and I have the classrooms from hell this year!
God, what do I do?
Julie walks past me and sits down at the kitchen table, and she set her backpack on the tabletop. Cillie follows her lead and sits next to her. They pull their school iPads out and log in to start their homework.
I snap out of it and put the letter in the junk drawer.
“What do you both want for a snack, before dinner?”
“A peanut butter and banana sandwich.” Julie asks.
“That’s weird!” Cillie says sassily to her big sis. “I just want PB&J mommy,” in a sweet girl tone to me.
That was Kurt’s favorite snack…
“Have you ever had a peanut butter and banana sandwich, Julie?”
“No, but Daddy Kurt says it’s is favorite snack and he misses it.”
“How come Julie has two daddies and I just have one? Paulie has two daddies too, but they live together, but he doesn’t have a mommy… that must suck.”
“Cillie, watch your mouth.”
I try to process Julie calling Kurt dad and wanting to eat a snack like him as I gather the ingredients. It’s so much easier to talk about forgiveness and moving forward when you don’t have to face the person who hurt you… I mean, I know I don’t have to worry. He has to register as a sex offender and he can never be alone with Julie, but I can’t stop my heart from racing with panic…
DON’T BE AFRAID.
Yeah, I don’t have to be afraid.
“Ooo! There are beautiful angels surrounding you mommy!” Cillie exclaims. She’s a seer. She sees angels all the time and she’s been getting visions about her baby brother like crazy. She told us his name the other day, Rodney, which before then we couldn’t choose between that name or River for a boy and Delany or Laney for another girl. We’re very private when discussing baby names not revealing the name until the seven month, but with prophetic kids and family members you can’t keep anything secret.
“Yeah, mom, God sent His messengers to help you be okay with Daddy Kurt’s letter. So are you okay with going to see him?” Julie wonders…
The mail was in the house, waiting on the kitchen island counter when I got in the door… The girls came in after me and there’s no way Julie could know about the letter let alone know what it was about…
Okay God… I will go… I’ll speak on his behalf but God… just keep me sane and my girls safe…
Both my girls get up and race over to me. They hug me as I start crying.
“It’s okay mommy.” Cillie says.
“You don’t have to go if it’s too hard.” Julie says.
Laughter tickles our hearts and as I crouch low we just keep laughing in the Holy Ghost. They smother me in kisses on my cheeks. Then Julie hands me the kitchen hand towel to wipe my tears.
“I’m okay… How did I get blessed with the best girls?!”
“Because God is too good!” They shout in sync.
…Back to the Present…
“God is Too Good”
I want to write a poem but I can’t really settle on rhyme and meter… But just thinking about God’s goodness, blows my mind… I went to church with Derek and Kaylie last week and I learned why awful things happen to people.
We live in a fallen world and we all have free will, because God loves everyone unconditionally, He will not override anyone’s freewill. Unless we submit our will to pursue after His will, is when He’ll interfere in our affairs and impact the earth because He gave authority of the Earth to us.
When we have relationship with God and we live our lives for Him, we build the Kingdom on the Earth. Through loving people like He loves us is how we change our world and bring people to Him. We don’t have to be perfect, we just have to listen and to trust Him and have faith everything we go through has a purpose that will make God’s Kingdom bigger. As believers we are one big family and our job is to add to the family God has designed and to build a home for God on the earth.
I have to forgive the jerk, Kurt- I have to forgive Kurt… Because Jesus died for all of us, he deserves forgiveness. I have no idea how I can forgive him… but I know with God… anything is possible.
I think last night I had like a vision of my future… Ten years from now… I don’t remember anything but the names of my kids… I think… nope… I don’t remember. I have immense peace! Whatever life throws at me, God is with me, and He will never leave me or forsake me!
Thank you, Jesus, for saving me.
And I must be this way because Netty’s been praying for me… probably Derek’s prayers too… And well Kaylie’s as well… who cares! Jesus is the best friend I’ve ever had… greater than Derek and Kaylie put together.
I don’t hate my life anymore. I’m sad my mother is dying. I’m sad I don’t know my dad. But I got this hope, knowing everything is going to get better. I have a purpose now. And that purpose is living life with God, after all He made humanity because He wanted to enjoy community with us (Rev. 4:11).
I think I’m going to write a book about my life… or at least blog about it… so if anyone suffered like I did or do… they know there’s real hope. Not the kind of hope where you wish for things to be better, but with hope that confidently knows something better is COMING!
Originally, “Bussing It” was going to be 12 parts. But I cut it short, when I incorporated the flash-forward, I felt like it offered enough to showcase the direction Savvy was going to take with her life.
I was seriously thinking about Savvy putting her first child in adoption, but I decided against that. I felt like a stronger story of forgiveness prevailing that way. But I’m pro-adoption…
This story is the first Story Sunday where I have campaigned like crazy on social media and the first series where I was very adamant about being consistent. I only broke once by failing to post a part one week, but life happened and I didn’t plan enough to make up for it.
I’ve had this idea since 2012. There’s many different versions on my flash drives. The only part I used from those other versions are the characters and the stories that Savvy told her little sisters. In one version, I was going to have Savvy grow up to be a famous children’s author and I think based on this version, we can see she definitely followed some path of writing in life, but I left it very open-ended as to where that goes.
In all the other versions but this one, Savvy and Derek were going to break up and he was going to die in a car accident and or a drug overdose. But I really fell in love with this idea of the two of them forever and never separating until death from a ripe old age.
Originally, she was going to be pregnant by Derek and not Kurt. Originally Kurt was really sweet and Bobby was the child molester, but somehow those roles changed and I’m okay with that.
As usual I have people getting saved in my story because salvation is the best and I love seeing the power of that even in a fictional context. I think I’ve used the power of conversion too much. For the next one, we’ll have a series with already saved people!
Thank you so much for reading this serious. If you loved reading it, feel free to share it with someone you think would enjoy reading it!
If you have any questions for me, drop them in the comments section, and I will respond as soon as I can.
I know Disney uses the slogan “Dare to Dream”… and I don’t know how long they’ve been using that, but I thought of the for story title back in 2013/2014, and I feel like I came up with it first… but I have no proof and I very well could be wrong. But I dare you to dream and to never give up on your dream, you have that dream for a reason, and you are meant to fulfill it. God will show you how to do it the best way! And if God crushes your dream, he has something better in mind because He knows you the best!
Cash sleeps peacefully in his car seat in the back. I can’t avoid looking in the review mirror to watch him sleep. His mop of maroon red hair reminds me of Patrick, dear old dad. For a second, I wonder how he holds up in prison.
Arnie talks just above a whisper not to wake Cash Moneymaker up. That name, right? I’m surprised the hospital let them walk out of with an infant named CASH MONEYMAKER.
“Thanks for coming to dinner with us tonight. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen my favorite little sister-cousin.”
I hate it when he calls me that… An abhorrent reminder of our terrible family tree.
“Yeah. It was nice. It’s a bummer Jessica couldn’t join us.”
Arnie sighs as he slowly rolls to a stop at a red light. “You know why she couldn’t join us?” He questions with hand gesture air quotes. I’m not sure if he’s really asking or being rhetorical… He continues without my response. “She’s out with her girls… enjoying her youth while she’s young! She don’t cook, clean, or take care of Cash. I do all that. She never picks up her phone. She gets in late at night. If I didn’t work overtime, we wouldn’t be making ends meet because she doesn’t chip in with her check at all… Jessica couldn’t join us because she’s a ghost!”
That sounds rough.
The light turns green and he looks back at Cash through the review mirror as he drives forward.
“I was going to break up with Jessica the night she told me she was pregnant; did you know that?”
I quietly shake my head no and moan subtly, “Nah-ah.”
“You know I only married her thinking about what my mom might of wanted… did you know dad didn’t marry my mom until after I was born? Netty was the only one born in wedlock…” He chuckles. “They of course told everyone they were married when they moved in together, but they weren’t yet.” He adds.
It’s weird. Our father had children with a set of sisters… Aunt Betty got breast cancer, fought it for three years, and died right before Arnie’s 16th birthday. Arnie and Netty went to go live with dad’s mom- Grandma Patricia. Aunt Betty never kept Arnie and Netty away from Grandma Pat, but Jewel never lets me see her. Maybe if I ask, I could go see her.
“Not to change the subject,” and by not trying to I totally am trying to, “how is Grandma Pat?”
“Good. Really good. She asked about you last week, I told her all the cool things you have going on and I left out all the drama- like the baby, D, and Aunt Jewel dying.”
“I get I disappointed everyone by getting pregnant as a teen too, but ironically, they baby, D, and my mom are the three main things giving me hope.”
“You really gonna marry D? Just because he knocked you up?”
“No… I mean sort of… I mean, D and I are going to get married one day any way, but due to this, we’re moving up our timeline.”
“You should put the baby up for adoption.” He says bluntly as he turns onto the street that leads to Bobby’s house.
“Well, tonight was great up until right now! Not everyone is like you, okay? D, is not you. D and I are nothing like you and Jess. I’ve been in love with D since we first met as kids. My love for him only gets stronger over the years. I love him more now than I did before I was pregnant. You have no idea the lengths he would go for me, how much he has already sacrificed for me, and how much more he is giving up for my sake. Sometimes, I think he’s too good for me, but I’m wired to love him, and if I don’t have to live without him, I won’t. Marriage wasn’t even on my mind, but he proposed to me. He got his parents blessing, he got my mom’s okay, and our families are surprisingly behind us. Life is always going to be hard, much of it will suck, but its not so much about where you’re going in life, but who is on the bus with you, bussing it through life with you. Derek is with me. Only death will separate us.”
The minute Arnie stops in front of Bobby’s house. I get out and slam the car door. Cash wakes up crying. As much as it sucks to disturb Cash from a peaceful slumber, I get satisfaction in charging away from Arnie with the final say in my court.
“Going Once, Going Twice… Sold?”
I stand amazed. I marvel at the beautiful, jungle styled nursey at Netty’s and Deshaun’s that used to be the office, across from the room I stayed in…
“We want you and the baby to stay with us.” Deshaun says.
“For as long as you need. We want school to come first to you.” Netty adds.
“You can focus on school and motherhood…” Deshaun falls silent.
“And if motherhood proves to be too challenging, we would be willing to take custody for you.” Netty shares the true motive of the baby room. They want my baby.
I take a deep breath in. I exhale as I count backwards from ten in my head. For some reason, this sweet offer pisses me off. Why do people think I can’t handle school and motherhood? Doing homework and raising kids isn’t a challenge for me. I did that with my sisters. They came out of my mother’s womb with me as their full-time caretaker. I was seven, went I was putting bottles of baby formula together and changing Albany’s diapers. When Jewel and Bobby were busy partying all weekend, I took care of the three of us.
And as a kid, even though I missed a lot of school, I never fell behind making honor roll every year until high school, where my grade went down for a lack of attendance. One teacher accused me of cheating, saying I couldn’t pass my tests if I wasn’t in class learning the material. Well, that one teacher was wrong! Obviously. Therefore, I left and I went to Brink.
“Thank you… this is really sweet… but I have to decline your offer.”
“We’re not going to offer something like this later.” Deshaun says firmly.
“That’s okay. D and I got this.” I say, proudly holding my bulging belly.
They chime in about how were too young to get married. I laugh because Netty married Deshaun when she turned 18 and he’s five years older than her. They started courting when she was 17 and half, but they were friends since she was 11 and he was 16. He was her youth leader in middle school and in high school. Granted, they didn’t kiss until their wedding day, but he groomed her to be his wife. And they are lecturing me about getting married too young… I can’t!
My phone pings with a fresh incoming text. It’s from Kaylie. She’s here to pick me up.
“I really appreciate this offer. I feel super loved, but I don’t need to take it. I can handle D, school, and the baby. I have to go, my ride is here.”
“The Darkness Gets Exposed”
Sliding into her car like a whale balloon, I sort of forgot we had a nasty fight. Remembering the last thing I said to her makes me want to climb right out. Why is she picking me up?
“Thanks for coming…” I say.
“I’m sorry.” Kaylie says turning off her ignition and pulling out her keys. “I had no business trying to force a huge life decision on you like that… I was wrong about that dream anyhow.”
Now I’m curious. As I struggle to put my seat belt on, I ask her what the dream did mean.
“Well… I think I know what the dream was about…” Kaylie admits nervously.
“I’m sorry too.”
“I get why you said what you said though… if I’m right about the dream…”
“What do you mean?”
She proceeds to tell me about her dream. She sees a dark figure looming over me at night while I sleep. She seems me crying in Derek’s arms. I’m without clothes but he isn’t. She saw me give birth to a girl. She knows what I name the baby, but she won’t tell me.
She sees me place my baby girl in the arms of a light skin black man, he could be mixed. He has a maroon red afro, a matching goatee, and he dresses like he’s stuck in the 70s- paisley patterns and orange and yellow colors. He stood next to a woman with porcelain white skin and bright red hair. She had the most gorgeous aqua eyes. She wore clothes like she was in the 80s.
Then she sees the dark figure follow me as I age. Derek tries to help me, but I never let him. Before Kaylie saw anything else, she woke up.
“So based on that you think I give the baby to a couple that looks like my Grandpa Marion and Grandma Pat? How do you know I’m having a girl?”
“I know you’re having a girl because my dream from God said so… and yeah, I thought you were supposed to give your baby to a biracial couple, but I got it all wrong. The man is your dad, and the woman is your grandma, and after your daughter is born, you’re going to reconnect with them. But the dark figure… Kurt hurt you, didn’t he… he’s really the baby’s father, not D, isn’t he?”
I break down and cry. The burden of keeping that secret from everyone I love and care about hurts. Holding in such a filthy, dirty secret weighs on my heart. The more I cry… the lighter I feel. Like somehow, I’m letting go of all the darkness that shackles me.
Kaylie rubs my back… It’s soothing… Kaylie leans over and hugs me as she cries with me. Sometimes, it’s a relief to have someone sit with you, hold you, and grieve with you. Nothing needs to be said. No one needs to tell what to do to get past your pain. People who do that aren’t strong enough to bear the pain with you. But the person daring enough to empathize with you, and to labor in sorrow with you… that’s a true friend…
But how could she know the sex of the baby? I haven’t told anyone. Not even my sister. How could she know about the jerk? Just my mom and Derek know and neither of them would tell a soul. I’m a fool to ask when I know her answer. She’ll say that God told her through the dream…
I pat her on the back for I’m all cried out. She pulls back and sits back in her driver’s seat. We wipe our wet faces with our fingers. I rub my snot on my forearm like a little kid… not the most sanitary thing to do. Taking in a deep breath, I try to get back to normal… Finally, I ask something that really bothers me about God, “Why does God let awful things happen to good people?”
“Because He loves everyone.” She says…
We start laughing hysterically. I don’t know why, but the laughter perks up my downcast soul like a shot of a pure high straight through my whole body and mind. I seriously feel like we smoked some seriously good weed, but better! It’s like it’s a sunny, warm summer day, and I’m being hugged by everyone I love at once, while staring at the night sky. Those are my three most wonderful types of things in the world and this moment feels like all three of those things are happening right now. There’s a literal warmth coursing through my body. There is this energy, this presence all around us.
“I love you Savannah.”
“I love you Kaylie.”
Kaylie stops laughing, “I didn’t say anything.”
I stop laughing. I look at Kaylie and she looks back at me.
“I love you Savannah.” I hear softly but I don’t see Kaylie’s mouth move.
I check the backseat to see if Derek is with us, but he’s not. I want to freak out and panic, but I can’t. I have too much joy.
“A warm sunny, summer day… A starry night… Hugs from your favorite people like Genie and Albany, and Derek, and Arnie, and Cash, and Netty and me…” I hear and see Kaylie say. She adds, “God loves you very much Savannah. He has a plan for you and for your baby. The final days with your mother will be the best of times you’ve ever had with Jewel. Your father is getting out of prison soon and you’re going to get a letter in the mail from him, Netty will deliver it to you. Write him back. And don’t be afraid of the truth, expose the darkness and you will get justice. Turn Kurt in. Don’t wait any longer…”
There’s no doubt in my mind anymore. God is real.
All my life I didn’t understand
Who I was and especially the Great I Am
It didn’t matter how much everybody talked
I didn’t see what they saw that gave them their faith walk
So many times, I wanted to believe
But with all my terrible garbage I couldn’t perceive
Then something crazy happened to set me free
God audibly spoke to me
Now all I got on my mind is that God is real
He is real. He is real. He is real.
I feel like I’m falling in love all over again, but it’s stronger
I feel like I’m worth it, like life is worth living much longer
Jesus- died for me
Holy Spirit- sealed me with this revelation
Now I know G-O-D as FATHER
I don’t know much about dads because I never really had one
There’s this peace I have that somehow, I got this
God, I love you
Thank you for loving me
The poem doesn’t have a solid meter or rhyme
But it’s what’s in my heart this time (SMH-blah!)