Hurtful words have a weeds-like way of tangling themselves around your image of yourself until the truth of who you are gets choked out by a joke someone told at your expense, by critical words someone said to cover their own insecurity, by mean lies you learn to live with as truth. Words like these repeat in our souls like broken records. As a spoken word poet, author and music lover, Amena Brown writes about the lessons she’s learned about music, surrender, friendship, being yourself, relationships, and finding home in her new book How to Fix a Broken Record. It’s a grace to welcome Amena to the farm’s front porch today…
When I was a little girl, my grandma watched two TV shows religiously: The People’s Court and The Young and the Restless.
The latter was referred to as her “stories” and should not be interrupted for conversation or emergency, unless it was a commercial break.
During the commercials, my grandma would scold or applaud the characters, extracting life lessons on how Nikki and Victor’s relationship wasn’t working because they didn’t “love one another like the Bible says.”
I never scheduled my day around Judge Wapner or Mrs. Chancellor, but I found my own “stories” in Grey’s Anatomy.
I know the characters by name, and sometimes when they are in a tough spot, I’m tempted to pray for them, until I remember they are fictional characters. I’m a sucker for a hospital drama, so I jumped ship from watching ER when a young, hip hospital show began starring these new interns: Meredith, Cristina, Izzie, George, and Alex.
I chastised Meredith for sleeping with her boss. I felt her pain when she spoke the “Pick Me, Choose Me, Love Me” monologue in the scrub room. McDreamy, McSteamy, Burke, Bailey, the Chief, the on-call room, the break room, the operating room, the makeups, breakups, firing, hiring, and all the quintessential Shonda Rhimes’s cliffhangers kept me glued to my couch.
Maybe my grandma was right.
Maybe we can learn something from all the drama in our “stories.”
When I watched the season 10 finale and exit of one of my favorite Grey’s characters, Cristina Yang, played by phenomenal actress Sandra Oh, I felt like I was saying good-bye to an old friend.
In one of Cristina’s final scenes with her best friend, Meredith, she said, “You’re my person. I need you alive. You make me brave.”
When I was a little girl, my mom and her best friend, Naima, used to stay up late, way past my bedtime, talking, laughing, and reminiscing.
Their friendship has remained a steady pillar as their romantic relationships have come and gone and as their homes have slowly emptied of children to raise.
They have walked each other through birth, loss, love, divorce, and job promotions.
No matter how much their lives change, they always find themselves sitting across from each other discussing everything over a hot cup of tea.
They are each other’s person.
I learned from watching them how important it is for me to have women friends in my life who will help me to be brave, who will be my person.
I’ve always leaned on a cadre of strong, funny, truthful, fabulous women.
I envision us all strong warriors, fighting the good fight of faith, yoga, and chocolate; espousing to each other the good merits of biscuits, stillness, and dancing.Womanhood is a journey that is best walked together with other women.
I’m thankful for so many warrior women who have walked this journey with me.
For my girlfriends who are preachers, activists, writers, entrepreneurs, businesswomen, artists, whose leadership teaches me to fight for justice, drink my water, wear a bold lipstick, sleep, celebrate, lament and ask for help, pray even when I want to cry and cuss.
Who remind me of my worth and value.
For my girlfriends who have struggled with disease, grief, and heartbreak. As I have watched many of them find joy and gratitude while walking through sorrow, I’m encouraged to be more joyful and grateful too.
There are too many women to name here. I could spend a lot of time here outlining the ways my girlfriends have taught me love, truth, grace, fashion, and leadership.
It is a fight to believe what God says about me, to love and accept the way God made me, to do what God called me to do, even when it’s not convenient or easy or applauded.
I don’t fight that fight alone. I walk with a squad of women warriors I would be honored to enter any battle with.
Sometimes it takes us so long to realize we need people and needing people doesn’t make us weak. Cristina and Meredith in Grey’s Anatomy reminded me we can’t be brave by ourselves.
We need someone to be our person.
So find someone who can walk with you, cry and snot with you, pray with you, laugh with you, sit in silence with you, grieve with you, cuss with you, grab your shoulders and speak the truth to you until it hits you right where you need it.
When discouragement and pity creep in, lean on your person —
and let them help you be brave, in hopes that when they need it, you can help them be brave too.
Amena Brown is an author, spoken word poet, speaker, and event host. The author of five spoken word albums including her most recent release Amena Brown Live and non-fiction books Breaking Old Rhythms and new book How to Fix a Broken Record, Amena performs and speaks at events from coffeehouses to arenas with a mix of poetry, humor, and storytelling.
Spoken word poet Amena Brown’s broken records played messages about how she wasn’t worthy to be loved. How to Fix a Broken Record chronicles her journey of healing as she’s allowed the music of God’s love to replace the scratchy taunts of her past. From bad dates to marriage lessons at Waffle House, from learning to love her hair to learning to love an unexpected season of life, from discovering the power of saying no and the freedom to say yes, Amena offers keep-it-real stories your soul can relate to.
Recognize the negative messages that play on repeat every day in your mind. Learn how to replace them with the truth that you are a beloved child of God. And discover how to laugh along the way as you find new joy in the beautiful music of your life.
[ Our humble thanks to Zondervan for their partnership in today’s devotion ]