This post is dedicated to my Aunts Faith and Hope for all of the
wealth of family history they embody and pass on to
the next generation of elders and ancestors.
SOULjourner, today is Juneteenth and my lift every voice and sing melody is: I'm still here!
This declaration, invocation and lament fuels my resolve to honorably acknowledge my earthly and my heavenly inheritance and lineage. And it's also part of the title of Austin Channing Brown's bestseller.
I can not sing the praises loud enough about how Jemar Tisby has done an absolutely scholarly and profound work to discuss Juneteenth—it's a celebration of Black triumph and tragedy. As usual, all links are provided at the end of the article to minimize your reading distractions.
Today is also the launch for my annual summer writing project—Rooted (consider today the prologue release, sorta speak). I am publicly documenting my family's genealogy, which I've been at for over twenty years.
If you plan to stay current with my summer writing project, make sure you join my email list and spread the word, as I take you through my research and story-gathering process.
I'm watching how my journey unfolds to reveal to me the intertwining of my spiritual divine roots in Yeshua (Jesus), as I continue to trace my biological family roots,
Yeshua is my heavenly ancestor through my spiritual new birth.
Equally so, my Creole Great-Grandmother on my dad's side, Idell A. Simpson, is my earthly ancestor through my physical birth as her fifth great-grandchild.
Graduating From Cosmetology School Together in Arkansas
Great-Grandmother, Idell A. Simpson (R)
Grandmother, Johnnie Ruth Coleman (L)
Equally so, my late Grandfather on my mom's side, Leodis Warren, a sharecropper and preacher is my earthly ancestor through my physical birth. Oh, how I now look back and appreciate working out on the farm in the sweltering Arkansas heat on summer breaks. Of all my cousins, I was the only girl who would fearlessly climb high in the Mulberry tree to fetch a bushel for Big Momma Goldie to make her preserves and pies. Even now, I can see my stained hands and hear my exhilarating panting.
It was a win for our family that he and my Big Momma were able to leave sharecropping and own their land on their terms.
Big Daddy and Big Momma Warren
Our family history, on my dad's side, is partially narrated in my Great-Grandmother's Bible. It now resides with my Aunt Hope in her home in Colorado.
Great-Grandmother Idell and Aunt Hope
Family Bible of
I'm grandchild number five
(My name is misspelled, Andery)
I Choose To Be Hope and Embody Faith
Bitterness and distrust are understandable reactions in light of the discrimination, terror, and marginalization Black people have received over the centuries, yet I continue to choose my holy, embodied healing. I pursue Wisdom in all of it—She gives me reimagining vision and swaddles me in Her bosom.
The way I see it, as I partner with the God of my Faith and Hope, I also choose to be hope and embody faith. This approach is more embodied and connected and less detached and distant than the sole act of hoping. Jesus calls each child of the Father of Lights to be a light. And to be a light is to be a hope—they are inextricable, as far as I'm concerned.
I chose to put my hope in the LORD for there is faithful love with the LORD and with Him, there is redemption in abundance (Psalm 130:7). And in so doing, I will also choose to be hope and embody faith, in order to reflect the image of the Faithful One.
I choose to be hope and embody faith with a sense of determined realism.
I choose to be hope and embody faith and not to be dismayed by racism, although I regularly lament due to its ongoing effects on me in my community, my relationships, and my government.
I choose to be hope and embody faith and remain sobered by the reality of racism as I continue to dig deep into my family's history—American history.
I choose to be hope and embody faith as I unpack all my wounds by the grace of Jesus and not suppress them or dismiss them.
I choose to entrust my soul to the Stone that the builders rejected (Psalm 118:22; Acts 4:11).
Prayer of The Day By Sojourners Verse & Voice
Oh Christ, guide us away from the weaponized stones of old institutions. Let us center our work around the stones which the builders have rejected. Help us to create a new thing this very day. Amen.
I choose to be hope and embody faith as I celebrate my brilliance and creativity.
I choose to be hope and embody faith in my sanctified curiosity and resolve, which leads me on a steady conviction to continue the ministry of reconciliation work—the kingdom work that begins with my inner work and informs my outer work as I look to the Author and Perfecter of the faith (Hebrews 12:2).
The Holy Spirit-filled inner work begins with you, too—it's an inside out work—and it must be a deliberate and honest work where you go beyond the surface beliefs and paradigms and examine their alignment to Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. It's a disruptive work, indeed. It isn't meant to be a warm and comfortable bubble bath, it's more like steaming, stinging salt bath that detoxes and heals (excerpt, Healing & Held devotional, Week 16).
I choose to be hope and embody faith as a therapeutic and prophetic voice as I lean into my ministry of reconciliation work, which takes on many forms:
in my fearfully and wonderfully embodied, brown-skinned womanhood
in my holy listening
in the research of my family genealogy
in my soul care and self-care
in my writings
in my friendships
in my speaking
in my marriage
in my parenting
in my prayers
in my preaching
in my vocation
in the authors I read
in communal worship
in the mentors I choose
in the mentees I choose
in my entrepreneurial pursuits
in the difficult conversations
in the businesses I support
in my relationship boundaries
in the conversations I engage
in my redemptive resistance
The Ministry of Reconciliation
You get the idea. The ministry of redemptive reconciliation, literally the service of atonement, is about allowing every square inch of our lives to be permeated with a holy, incessant, and intentional propensity of revolutionary restoration (Romans 5:11; 2 Corinthians 5:18, 19), while disconnecting ourselves from every crucible of oppression—from white supremacy to shame.
And to that, I say, "Hallelujah, I'm still here to witness the decolonizing, unbroken circle of God's grace and truth through my family roots!"
Mohawkmomma Soul Podcast Episode:
Links For Further Discovery
Why Juneteenth Should Be a National Holiday by Jemar Tisby
Go support see the movie Emanuel - Last day in theaters TODAY.