Disclaimer: As I write this my head is all over the place and it difficult to collect my thoughts, so please bear with me.
Two weeks ago today I lost one of my greatest role models, cheerleaders, my heart, and second mom Teretha Posey or Ma T as I called her. Ma T has been my rock since I was a child. She helped me navigate through my teenage and young adult years, checked me when I was wrong, celebrated me when I was right, and loved me through every mistake and bad choice I made. She was not one to mince words (lawd have mercy lol) and I was never confused about how she felt; however, even with the toughest subjects she never left me feeling unloved or condemned. She took the time to pour into me and fill me with common sense knowledge and the word of God.
I will admit, in my wild days I would hate when she called or when I went to Cincinnati because quite frankly, I was enjoying my sin. I knew the moment I talked to her, whether I said what I was into or not I would feel convicted and the joy I once felt in my sin would be no more. Her question “When are you going to get your heart right with God?” would haunt me. I knew anytime she started with “I was praying for you…” I wasn’t going to enjoy the rest of the conversation. I remember the phone calls out the blue: Teretha: Joy what are you doing? Me: Um watching TV. Teretha: No, what are you doing? I would sit there like a child, rubbing my head wondering how she always knew when I was acting a fool. At one point I asked God to stop telling her my business because all I wanted to do was have fun (go figure); that didn’t happen.
I went through a very rough period in my 20’s that left me hating church, ministry, church people, and all things God. I would talk to her and she would tell me I couldn’t worry about people and focus on my getting my heart right would God. I remember her coming to town a few years ago for a workshop that Rodney was doing. My mom encouraged me to sing in the workshop but I was hesitant because I allowed people to make me feel as if God didn’t love me and I would never be fit for anything ministry again. At some point I started to believe it. Before I spoke to her I had a conversation with a friend and expressed how uncomfortable it was to sing because “how could Jesus love someone like me” and how out of place I felt. Teretha knew nothing about that conversation but she saw some things occurring that weekend she didn’t like. She sat me down, looked me in the face and said “Don’t you EVER let anyone make you feel like Jesus doesn’t love you because I’m here to tell you HE does, Jesus loves you in spite of…”. After that she just begin to talk to me and tell me what the word of God said about me and how she felt about me. I remember sitting there crying my eyes out because that was the first time in a long time that I believed that Jesus loved me. That simple statement started me on a path of healing and began to open my heart to believing in the things of God again. I moved at a snail’s pace, yes, but the one area I said I would NEVER be a part of again (music ministry), my heart started to soften towards it.
Teretha was the only person who would come to town and I would drop everything for no matter what. My other half was even aware. If I said “Ma T is here” the response would simply be “what time are you going to get her?” My willingness to be available to her came from her unconditional love towards me. No matter what I did, whether she agreed or not (and boy did I hear it when she didn’t lol) she still made sure I knew she loved me. I always knew when she didn’t like what I was doing because she would always say “I really need you to think that through”. She had my ear because of how she approached me. It was always in four steps: (1) She would tell me how she felt about what I was doing; (2) She would tell me what the word of God said about what I was doing; (3) She would tell me what the word of God says about me (the step many forget); and (4) She would tell me how she felt about me and how much she believed in me. Her method earned my respect, trust, and loyalty and even if I didn’t immediately follow instructions I always heard her.
Ma T lived Jeremiah 31:3 “…with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” It was the loving-kindness she showed me that helped me believe again. She was a living example that not all “church people” are evil and yes it is possible to love people in to the kingdom. She believed that love conquers all and worked hard to allow the love of God to saturate people and make them want what she had; a real relationship with God. Ma T was a model of strength, courage, and holiness as she believed in leading by example.
I will forever hold the last words I heard her speak to me “I love you too”. More importantly, the image that sticks out the most is seeing her at one of her weakest points, three days before her death, laying in the bed praying. I woke up, came downstairs and she was praying. I said good morning, and she just kept praying. I stared in disbelief because there I was finding every excuse as to why I couldn’t pray but there she laid praying in tongues. It made me shake myself and suck up every bit of emotion because if she could lay there in that condition and find the strength to pray, what was my excuse.
My heart is broken and there is definitely a void but I have to trust that God knows what he is doing. I don’t understand it and I can’t waste energy trying to figure it out; I just have to trust that God knows what he’s doing. One of my greatest comforts with Ma T is I always let her know I loved her and appreciated her. I encourage everyone to take the time to let people know how you feel about them while they are living because you never know when your last words to them will be.
Ma T I love you and I will never forget you. Oh and yes I will always “take care of Trina.”
09-12-1955 – 11-23-2014