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WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR? IT'S A NEW DAWN!


Nicole Mouton & Darlene Howard

But at daybreak on the first day of the week they took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb; but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were puzzling over this, behold, two men in dazzling garments appeared to them. ... They said to them, “Why do you seek the living one among the dead? (Luke 24:1-5)


This Gospel passage reveals to us that Jesus’ resurrection breaks open hopeless situations. Jesus came to announce His saving grace, healing, and salvation for all of us. But, when we grasp what seems to be a hopeless situation, we easily lose sight of the fact that just around the corner is a new day, if only we would trust.


Legendary Jazz singer Nina Simone, put it best in her song, “Feeling Good.” “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me, and I’m feeling good.” It’s apparent that she had been through something, maybe even what appeared to be a hopeless “tomb experience.” But she made it through when the stones of doubt and fear were removed, and she was able to find her way out of that darkness to a place of peace and reassurance. She was able to sing about it.



Nicole Mouton

In the winter of 2019, a “hopeless tomb experience” visited my daughter, Nikki, bringing along with it doubt, fear, and so many other feelings and emotions, too numerous to name. She was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer, which was already stage 3, meaning it had most probably spread to the lymph nodes. To add to the darkness, this cancer was one of the newer ones recently discovered, and the treatment would be aggressive. News like this is never easy and not expected, and it’s so hard not to feel helpless, especially when you so desperately want to “take the diagnosis and the pain away” from your loved one. Realizing that, no matter how close your relationship is, you will never know the depths of their fears.


Initially, praying was difficult. "I command you: be strong and steadfast! Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD, your God, is with you wherever you go” (Jos. 1:9). This scripture passage helped ease my anxiety and restlessness. Even though the journey had just begun, there was such a sense of empowerment and awareness of Jesus’ presence.


Nikki lived in Spring, TX, and I was in Lake Charles, La., which added more anxiety and fear. When traveling to be with her was not possible, we shared what we later called our “11:00 prayer session,” we shared short prayers and affirmations to get us both through. We made up in spirit what we couldn’t accomplish in the person. It was a tough battle. After the first round of chemo, she lost her beautiful hair, so she shaved her head bald and was more beautiful than before. She went through 44 grueling rounds of radiation (twice a day, six hours apart). She underwent a mastectomy and later reconstructive surgery. God's words to her were, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deu. 4:31, 13:6). “No one can withstand you as long as you live. As I was with Moses, I will be with you: I will not leave you nor forsake you” (Jos. 1:5). “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you” (Jn. 14:18). God kept her!


Contemporary Black Catholic Spirituality was an online program I participated in this year, offered by Loyola Marymount University and taught by Professor Michael Howard. The first session, Sharing Our Gift of Blackness with the Catholic Church, opened my eyes to so many things that I was either unaware of or chose to be unaware of. A new perspective and respect were gained for our gifts as black Catholics and awareness of the racism that still exists in our church today. The second session, Black Catholic’s Spiritual Call: Using Theological Reflections, had a deeper impact on my spiritual life. This class introduced us to Theological Reflections, finding, acknowledging, and acknowledging God in our daily lives and situations.


Looking back on my daughter’s tomb experience and new day revelation (which is a

PJ Mouton Haile Moses

theological reflection), I could see God as my daughter was going through cancer and the treatments. When she went to the barber to shave her head, my son, Haile, said, “I’m going with you.” He not only went with her, but he also shaved his head bald as well. PJ, my other son, was already bald, but together, my sons supported their big sister with this sign of solidarity.




God’s presence preceded her when she was at the doctor’s office scheduling her mastectomy, and a woman rushed past her to get to the receptionist’s window. My daughter was not agitated. She just smiled and let her go ahead. When the lady realized that Nikki was there to schedule the same procedure as her, she responded by saying that she thought my daughter was a model and not a patient. As it turned out, this lady shared my name (Darlene), and they did not even know their surgery was scheduled for the same day with the same surgeon, so they got to see each other and pray before surgery.


God showed up and showed out in the hearts of my then 6-year-old grandson and

Kaitlyn and Kameron

granddaughter, Kameron, and Kaitlyn (Nikki’s twins) maintained a sense of calm as they helped their mother through this season. And God showed up in a most miraculous way when my daughter was declared cancer-free! The cure for the cancer that invaded her body was found only 2 years prior! That, my dear friends, “Ain’t nothing but God.” “Even all the hairs on your head are counted, so do not be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows” (Mt. 10:31).





Friends, the stones have been moved, and you have been released from whatever has been holding you back: fear, sickness, disease, depression, etc. You are a new person in Christ. You are loved. The psalmist said it this way, “O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, my God, my rock of refuge! My shield, my saving horn, my stronghold, my refuge, my savior, from violence you keep me safe. Praised be the LORD, I exclaim! I have been delivered from my enemies” (Ps. 18:2-4). God is faithful to deliver us from sickness.


“Birds flying, you know how I feel, sun in the sky you know how I feel. Breeze drifting on by, you know how I feel. It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me and I’m feeling good.” Let's take advantage of our “New Dawn” and continue to see God in every aspect of our lives.


Blessings!


Author: Darlene Howard, Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, Lake Charles, Louisiana.



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3 commentaires


Marla Sanders
Marla Sanders
17 févr.

Thank you for sharing, Darlene. I see your strength and faith in God, throughout this article.

God bless you and your family.

J'aime

Uwimana Honorine
Uwimana Honorine
07 sept. 2023

The stone has been moved!!! Alleluia

Thank you, Darlene

J'aime
Darlene Howard
Darlene Howard
07 sept. 2023
En réponse à

Hello Honorine,

Yes ma'am, Alleluia is in order.

J'aime
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