Next Sunday is Mother’s Day. In anticipation of my first Mother’s Day I’ve been thinking a lot about my experience as a mother since June 23rd (the day we found out that I was pregnant). I’ve learned a number of things: patience, love, fatigue and most importantly the various facets of God’s character. In my last post, I talked about my PCOS and how difficult it had been for Justin and I to conceive. That post must have been what God needed me to do, because the following month we found out that I was pregnant. Since that time I was reminded not only of God’s faithfulness, but His unconditional love and His ability to reveal Himself in all things.

I have been writing in a blog for my daughter since I found out that I was expecting. There have been some long gaps into between posts, but I have taken on the task of going back and sharing pregnancy memories with her. She will be able to read about her life, see videos from her first few months, and see pictures from before she was born all in one place. In my latest memory post I talked about finding out her sex. Around the same time, God showed me something about Himself that hasn’t left me since that day. As I lay in the bed, trying to get back to sleep, I could feel this little growing person moving inside my tummy. I couldn’t see what was happening, I couldn’t know for sure if what I felt were hands or feet, but I knew something was happening. 2014-02-16 09.25.25In that moment, God shared that He functions in the same way, I can’t see Him changing my life, but I can feel it. I don’t know for sure if things are right-side up or if my whole life is upside-down, but just like I could trust that the movement I felt inside was a good thing, I can trust that God’s movements are a good thing. In that moment, He reassured my faith, I must simply trust that even though I can’t see God work, I can feel Him moving if I sit still and wait, blocking out all distractions, and just resting in His presence.

Since Jaela was born, I have also learned patience, I have learned long-suffering. Patience does not do justice to the experience that new mothers have, especially new mothers who have decided to breastfeed exclusively. During a night that Jaela did not want to go to sleep, she was fussy, crying and on 100 at 1-something in the morning. I was tired, her Daddy was sleep and I didn’t know what to do. I started to feel like a failure and a bad mother, I was physically tired and frustrated. 2014-03-05 17.45.03

It was then that God reminded me that this blessing of Motherhood is a ministry, a ministry that will require patience, compassion, and full reliance on Him.  I couldn’t do things on my own, I couldn’t expect to know what to do all the time, but I could expect for God to give me wisdom, strength and a new level of love. He also helped me to understand how He sees me. My daughter relies on Justin and I for EVERYTHING! There is nothing she can do on her own, except dirty diapers and drool ;-), but really, she cannot feed herself, clean herself, or move from one place to another, and she’s fully content. She doesn’t rush to get from one place to another, she is content to rest in my arms, she loves sitting in her bouncer staring at the same painting daily. I need to have that same contentment. I need to learn to be content in everything, resting in the strong and comforting arms of my Heavenly Father, trusting that He is going to provide every need without doubt that it won’t be done.

So, over the course of the next week and a half, I’ll continue posting in Jaela’s blog, I’ll continue to experience new things as her Mommy, and I’ll continue to appreciate the gift that God has allowed me to have. A blessing that He did not have to give, but I am grateful for. For those out there who are still waiting to have children and it has been difficult, continue to have faith. In the two years we were trying, I continued to trust in God’s word, using the stories of Hannah and Elizabeth as my reassurance that God is faithful to do great things for those who trust in Him.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mommies out there!

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I’m currently doing an online study of A Confident Woman by Renee Swope, and a part of the study Renee Swope sends messages from her blog, encouraging dialogue and challenging readers to let go of some things to build their confidence not in the sense that many think. She’s not concerned with the women reading the book to focus on building their self-confidence or improving their view of themselves. She focuses, however, on building women’s confidence in their relationship with God, helping them to view their relationship with God differently, which in turn will build them up to great heights.

I was reading a post from last week, trying to catch up from being on vacation for the first week of the study. I read this quote, “We aren’t in control… We are held by the hands that control our very heartbeat”, and tears came to my eyes and fell to my face. This simple statement touched me immediately and confirmed that this post should be written.

<climbs on a soap box, taps the mic>

I, Diayle Davis, am a prideful, control freak. I expect everything I do to be perfect, to happen in my time frame and for people to praise me when I do.

<steps off the soap box>

ImageSince August of 2011, Justin and I have been trying to have a baby. I had this mental plan that I wanted to be a mommy before I turned 30, so we could have the 2 babies by the time we were both 35. Well, in June 2012 I learned that I have Polycycstic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), something I’d never heard of before that doctor’s visit and I was crushed! Out of all the information that I was given, all I focused on was the chance that we could never have children.

Since then J and I have gone to doctors visits, I’ve had procedures done, I’ve taken meds but to no avail, still no Davis baby and it hurts. I’ve done research, I’m worked with my dietician, I’m worked on losing weight to try and get my hormones back in balance to improve my chances of having a baby.

But, none of that matters… well, it does for my overall health, but in the grand scheme of things…  I have to get off my high horse and move out of God’s way. As much as I ask God to break my heart for what breaks His, as much as I ask the Holy Spirit to help me live a surrendered life, I have yet to fully and completely surrender my calendar and agenda for my life, because I’m sure, subconsciously, I’m convinced that I can do better. I’m more capable to planning and orchestrating my life than He is… 

Well, I’m not! I’m not in control. I have no power to do anything in my life, I can only exist because God allows me to, I can only wake up to experience each day because God says it is so, not because my annoying alarm goes off to wake me up. I have to admit to myself that I have an issue with pride, I knew I was a control freak, but it has recently dawned on me that I think I’m more capable than God, that I can do a better job than God and I’m so off base!

God, I’m so sorry! You are capable of doing everything and all things. You are the Great I
Am and I’m just a sinner saved my Your loving grace and mercy, but I have for so many years gotten in my own way, thinking that I can do more than You, doing a better job than You can. But, I ask humbly that you forgive me, please accept my apology knowing that it was just my ignorance and arrogance that made me think that I’m on the same level as You. But, Daddy, I fully surrender my calendar and ask that your Holy Spirit remind me daily that I should focus only on the 24 hours that You’ve gifted me with and praise You for the time I have and the life you’ve allowed me to live. In Jesus name I pray and give thanks in advance for the growth that comes from sharing my faults. Amen

In the past week, I’ve been reading through Mark and Romans. And certain things have jumped out to me, challenging me to focus on pursuing God, rather than God answering my questions, granting my “wishes” and fulfilling my requests at the drop of a hat. The Mark reference below comes from the story of the Women with the issue of blood, and it challenged me to keep pushing to get closer to Him and I hope it challenges you as well.

“For she kept saying, If I only touch His garments, I shall be restored to health.” Mark 5;28 [emphasis mine]

This woman was so determined/focused/passionate, she didn’t seek answers, she didn’t seek direction, she didn’t seek guidance or wisdom, she simply sought Him. Passionately pursued Him, desiring to be in His presence, but not at the outskirts of the crowd, but up, close and personal. That’s what we have to do at all times, during times of worship, during times of hearing the word, during times of quiet reflection and study, we have to seek after Him. Fighting through the crowds (the distractions, the feelings of disconnect, the doubt, the fear, the unbelief, the self-condemnation, the “haters” the lack of clarity, etc.) we have to fight to get to Him, to be so close that we can touch Him.

But, what challenged me the most the notion that she was in a low position, a position that would have put her on her face, on the ground, crawling, lowly, without the ability to see those around her, avoiding the crazy, confused looks of those that she pushed past in order to touch the hem (the edge or border of a garment, drape, etc., especially at the bottom) of His garment.

This is a position that we try to avoid like the plague! We don’t want to get low, we don’t want to humble ourselves to hear from God, we want to be in a position of entitlement. Using the authority we have as an argument as to why we can make demands from God. Yes, He tells us we can come boldly to His throne, seeking out His wisdom, asking for things, taking on His rest and peace, but all those things must be done in His will. All those things must be done with a sincere heart, done with a heart focused on being made anew, a heart focused on changing our character, and a heart focused on redemption and repentance, not focused on getting things, being “blessed” with materials, or receiving all that we ever wanted. Jesus =/= Genie!

We must get low, fighting in the dirt, get covered with dust in order to feel the intimacy that will result in the change we desire!

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It’s rare that I blog about work, or  my current life as a teacher, but in recent weeks, months, years it has become clearer to me that the children of my friends and family are going to be a rare breed of student. I know that standards and expectations of my friends, I know the standards and expectations of my brother and sister-in-law for their daughter Maddison, so I am not concerned about their academic success.

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I feel like this often, especially in an a culture in which suing the county, going over the head of the teacher and calling the superintendent overrides asking your child, talking to the teacher, and helping your child with their homework.

But my students on the other hand, I’m concerned! This week, my students are preparing for an in-class debate on the legalization of medical marijuana use. I have scheduled 3 days in the media center (read library) and pointed them in the right direction for where to find reliable, fact-based information in order to prepare for their debates. However, Wikipedia and Google are the first lines of defense, downloading the work of others is the second, while the trusted “I’m going to do this at home” is the third reason for just sitting around. Times like this the comments that I’ve read on news articles bashing the current state of education, the quality of teachers, and the “injustice” students receive because of “out-dated” teaching methods makes me angry all over again. Some of my students are working, don’t get me wrong. I teach in an affluent area, they have access to tutors, computers, and the other necessary tools to be an academic powerhouse.But, the majority will wait to the last minute, then have mommy and daddy write them a note “excusing” them the day the project is due so they can finish the assignment, THEN send me hateful e-mails about assignment projects at the last minute and forcing their child to spend hours on homework. Blaming me for their child not being able to participate in extra curricular activities because they have failed my class or even worse, going to the principal to “get me help in the classroom”, because I need the support. 

This is why good teachers leave the field, it’s not just the low pay, or the “behavior problems”, but the lack of support, the poor morale and low student effort that makes teachers run for the hills!

I wonder if, and when, parents will learn that it’s not just about providing your children with what you didn’t have by buying them off. You are still responsible for helping to make them into responsible, hardworking citizens. Forming them to be young adults who want to change the world by being innovative, creative, and stellar in everything, not comfortable with the bare minimum, waiting for everyone else to do the “hard work” for them.

Le sigh… What will really come of America’s youth… between teenage pregnancy, violent and a lack of drive we won’t need to be concerned about social security drying up because of the baby boomers, this “tech” generation won’t work long enough to pay into anyway.

A man’s wedding band is typically a simple token of an intentional life long commitment. For more than two years I’ve gotten excited whenever I see Justin’s ring. Granted it’s not the original one that I purchased for our big day. That ring with a special inscription is resting comfortably at the bottom of the Caribbean sea, lost during an anniversary adventure.

But, in recent months, seeing a wedding band on any man warms my heart. That simple token speaks volumes. That small circular piece of precious metal, says “I’m taken”, “I’ve made a commitment”, and “I’m a man”.

For those who really know me, you may recall a once strong passion for the development of young men. I wanted to open a school for minority boys, giving them the venue that would counter their environment, making them better, surrounding them with strong men, educating them on their culture, on the essentials of academia, and what it means to be a man. And even though the dream of having a school has faded, the desire to see men (especially men of color) operate in their God-given role of husband, hasn’t gone anywhere. I so desperately, want men to be encouraged, uplifted and pushed to be all that they are capable of being. And to be perfectly honest, my thoughts weren’t always this “positive”. There used to be a time, when I thought I could do the job of a man better than the men that I saw, walking in his role and showing him up. That was so misguided, so wrong, so “21st century”/Ms. Independent/I am woman hear me roar! I love the fact that I can be a lady with Justin, that we’re not competing for “power” within our marriage, it’s such a liberating feeling, but that’s because I can allow him to be the man. As much as women talk about not needing a man, that’s a lie! Society needs men and families need men, no matter how hard we want to fight that notion.

I think seeing those bands reminds me that real men still do exist. Men who pursue their dreams, men who work for their money, men who put aside the cultural stigma of being a “player”, men who desire the American dream. It’s so comforting, I even enjoy seeing bands in commercials, especially commercials that depict people sleeping together or with children. I guess, it’s the media’s subtle way of showing that marriage and family values are still desired.
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I think this image says it all! Taken the morning after our wedding. Hands clasped together, ready to begin a new life, and knowing that our marriage is forever because divorce is not an option!

Last night, the world watched as President Obama received the necessary 270+ Electoral College votes to earned him the chance to serve the nation for 4 more years. Throughout the day, as people stood in long lines, they shared their memories of where they were in ’08 when we they cast their ballot (not ballad, or ballet, or ballod or any other error you saw yesterday on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).

In 2008, my voting experience was a family affair, my parents, Jamiel, Justin and I stood in line at the polls to vote. It was an energizing day, my dad shouting throughout the house that he was “Fired up! And ready to vote!”, now I wasn’t too excited that his shouting came at 5 in the morning, but he was amped! The 2008 election also fell on my father-in-law’s birthday. So, he went out that day and cast a vote for a Black man, a Black man who had the nerve to challenge the status quo, who had the nerve to push the envelop and see if this nation had actually put aside its racial issues and vote for a man who doesn’t look like the dominate culture. He along with every other voters from his generation, the generation before Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, the generation who lived through segregation, who felt the intensity of racism, who had dogs unleashed on them, who felt the sting of a high-pressured water hose, would finally get the opportunity to see a Black man in the White House.

Well, this year, as I retold my tale of my dad yelling throughout the house as he made breakfast and “rallied” the troops, it was with some sadness at the thought that my father-in-law would not see this second victory. He would have celebrated his 70th birthday this past Sunday, and knowing the Davis family, that would have been a party to remember. With family traveling from Detroit, Chicago, South Jersey and Maryland. Generations coming together to celebrate a Father, a Brother, an Uncle, a Husband and a Friend. I’m sure the DJ would have been live, laughs all around and the good and drinks to die for.

But, as I spent time reflecting on my experience, something stood out to me. Throughout the last several months the GOP has been pushing the notion that nothing has changed in the last 4 years. That President Obama has done nothing to help the nation, that we’re worse off than what we were as 2008 came to a close. But, that’s so far off! A lot has changed since November 5, 2008 in the lives of many Americans. People given birthday, people have celebrated life, people have had to face the hard facts of sickness, others have been given the chance at another life because disease/sickness is no longer their primary concern. Granted some people are still unemployed, some people are still on food stamps, some people are still broke, but to say that the nation has been in a stagnant, lifeless, and inactive state for the last 4 years is silly. And I know that their mentality is focused on data and numbers, but to say nothing has happened despite the fact that things have happened, things that for some wouldn’t have been possible in 2008 doesn’t show that you recognize and value the sentiment that is the American dream.  Many people are working in jobs that they never imagined because they simply needed a job, people are taking on thousands of dollars in debt because they recognize that they need more education to even be considered for the jobs that are in demand.

Change has happened. For many the American dream has become a reality in the last 4 years. Justin and I have been living in the home that we were able to purchase for a year as of November 1. My father has been working for the last 3 years since he and my mother moved to NC. My brother and sister-in-law are living in a new home, he’s earned a degree and they are expecting their first baby. My cousin, a 2nd Lt. in the army, is home with his wife and children and he’s now coaching football. Life is moving forward, lives are improving, is everyone living the life? No. But, everyone wouldn’t be living the life either.

Congratulations, President Obama. I am proud to say that I voted for you, I am proud to have helped in this historical event. But, more importantly I’m proud to have the chance to exercise my political right to post this blog, to speak my mind, to follow my passions, to see in my lifetime the change we can believe in.

Many of us have heard the hackneyed phrase, “old habits die hard”. And if you’ve been around people long enough you’ve heard the term “Generational curses”, and the power of these curses. These “curses” are issues that are supposed to pass from one generation to the next, making the lives of future generations harder and harder because you don’t know the source of your anguish.

I’ve been thinking about this notion a lot since last night, as I mentioned in a previous blog, JL and I are reading through the Bible in a year. Well, last night while catching up on my reading (my weekends have been booked so it’s been a struggle to keep up), I read the stories of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And something really stood out to me, both Abraham and Issac lied about their wives, saying that they were their sisters. In order to protect themselves they potentially caused God to destroy the lives of others, who were acting with integrity, choosing women who were simply the sisters of these visiting men.

These two stories challenged me to think about a few things: 1) What are some behaviors, mentalities, etc. that I have adopted from my parents? 2) Are these things that I’m using to keep myself safe while running the risk of harming others? 3) Do I want these things to be a struggle for my future children?

The actions of our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and great-great grandparents have an impact on each of us. Where they decided to move during the Great Migration. The career they decided to take. The person they married and remained married to despite of . And while some of their decisions were fantastic, marching with MLK, fighting for equality, standing up against discrimination, it’s those closet things that we have to explore to really know our flaws and imperfections. Because I doubt Abraham sat around telling stories with Issac about the times he lied to men in authority about Sarah in order to be kept alive. And knowing men who are loved by their mothers and who love their mothers dearly (I won’t call them momma’s boys, but if the shoe fits), they aren’t going to take too kindly to another man pushing up on their mom, so why did Issac adopt this same behavior? Why did two men who were know for their faith and reliance on God, who had the opportunity to speak with God “one-on-one”, lie? Why did they not trust that God would keep them physically safe while being men of noble character and honest? These are questions that have been running through my mind for the last few days (I first asked that question after reading Abraham’s story).

But, I’m beginning to realize it’s because it shows their flaws. It shows their shortcomings. But, more importantly it shows that God still used them, God still desired to connect and communicate with them, and God still blessed them despite their issues. Even though, I want to begin to explore my shortcoming, flaws and imperfections to put an end to things that I can control, to avoid modeling bad habits for my future babies, I also recognize that I am FAR from perfect, but still usable. God still wants to use me for His glory and set the stage for future generations even though I have and I will do things that will be selfish and possibly put someone else in harm’s way.