TD Jakes - Sole Survivor
Making it ain't easy. Oh, y'all can't talk to me. I'm in the wrong church this morning. Making it is not easy. Making it happen, making it do what it do, making it all the way to the end, making it through adolescence, making it while they got an attitude, making it when they don't like you, making it when they cuss you out, making it out when they lie to you, making it when they slap you, making it ain't easy. Now, I know you gotta sit up in church and act like you have never been through anything, but where are my real mamas at who've been to hell and back and you still made it? Take 30 seconds and praise God for being a survivor. Praise God for still being in the fight. Praise God for having made it. You got about five more seconds. You worth it. You're worth it. You're worth it.
And the Bible says that there are three women gathered there at the cross, and all of them got the same name: Mary, Mary, and Mary. They have the same name and they may even be dressed somewhat similarly, but they do not have the same story. There were three different Marys that were there and each Mary has a different story. There is Mary that is called Mary of Clopas. She is Mary, the mother of Jesus, the Bible calls her her sister. She's really her sister-in-law. She was married to Joseph's brother. And she comes to the cross to be with her. You know how you got your girls? Oh, y'all ain't got no girls. You know, them ride or die girls that hang with you come hell or high water, them secret-keeping girls that you can call and count on when things really get bad.
Most women have a little posse. It's a small posse too, but it's two or three folks that they can call on when all hell is breaking loose and they know they got your back. Mary of Clopas was one of those girls. She is her sister-in-law. In the early Christian writings, as a brother of Joseph and the father of Simeon, she enters into this relationship just to be with her girl at a tough time. There are very few people who will be with you. They'll be with you when he's turning water into wine. They'll be with you when he's walkin' on water. They'll be with you when he's winning. They'll be with you when he's on the Mount of Transfiguration. But when you get in real trouble, there are very few people who will hang with you all the way to the end and still be standing there. Everybody loves you when you're winning, but people have a way of sitting back and talkin' about you when you losing.
And there is a group of women that will say stuff like, "Have you heard about Mary? Child, I knew they spoiled that child. I knew they gave him too much". But Mary of Clopas was not that kind of woman. She doesn't say anything, she's just there. That's the best kind of support I need. When I'm goin' through trouble, I don't always need your mouth. I don't need your advice. I don't need your ideas. I don't need your concepts. Sometimes just be there. As Mary faces the darkest days of her life, Mary of Clopas, she's just there because she connected to Mary and she cannot leave her. And then there's Mary Magdalene. She's in the same place, but a different reason. Mary Magdalene is not so much there because she connected to the mother of Jesus. Mary Magdalene is there because she's connected to Jesus. Mary Magdalene is there because she had seven demons, not literally seven, just meaning totally full of demons, the kinds of demons that possessed her, and controlled her, and ruined her life. And Jesus cast them out of her and set her free.
I want to stop a minute and praise God for being the kind of God that can cast stuff out of you and actually change your life. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I know you're Sister So-and-So now, and you're Lady Johnson now, and you're Lady Wilson now, but I'm talkin' about when them demons was operating in your life and nobody could talk to your head. Jesus laid his hands on you, and touched you, and delivered you, and he set you free, and you got to praise him. You're under contract to praise him. Come hell or high water, you got to praise him 'cause you've been through so much, and he delivered you from so much, and he brought you from a long way.
I don't care who's singing. I don't care who's preaching. You will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in your mouth. 'Cause when you think of the goodness of Jesus and all that he's done for you, your soul cries out. Your soul cries out, "Hallelujah". You're not shouting 'cause you got on a new dress. You're not shouting so they can see your stilettos. You're not shouting so they can see your new hairdo. You're shouting because you remember a time in your life when life was not worth living, and Jesus did the unthinkable, and Jesus did the impossible, and he cast your demons. He didn't ask them out, he cast them out of your life. When Jesus delivered Mary, she was not like one of them who could get her deliverance and walk away. She was not like one of them that could get her healing and go on about her business. When Jesus delivered Mary Magdalene, she followed him the rest of her life.
In fact, if you study carefully, she was one of the women who undergirded his ministry financially because she couldn't give him enough to pay him back for what he did in her life, what he delivered her from, what he changed her from. She would've been dead by now. Whatever she had, Jesus, you can have it, and she followed along to make sure that all of his needs was met. And all the while he was preaching, and going here, and going there, Mary Magdalene was paying bills and make it possible for it to happen just because she was grateful. I wish I had some grateful mothers that could make some noise and say, "I'm just so grateful. I'm just so grateful".
I wish I had some mamas that weren't complaining about everything and fussing about everything, but just grateful that God did what he did. I often tell the Lord, "If you don't ever do anything else for me, I still owe you the praise 'cause you already did so much in my life". I owe you. I owe you. I owe you. I owe you. I owe you so much. I owe you so much. I owe you so much. I owe you so much. I should've been dead. I should've been crazy. I should've blown my brains out. I should've OD'd on drugs. I should've died with a needle in my arm, but I owe you so much. I owe you so much. When I was falling, you caught me. When I tripped, you picked me up. When I got in the mud, you washed me off. I owe you so much. Oh, I wish I had a thousand tongues. I'd praise you with every one of them. I just owe you so much.
And as she dropped her head, the Son dropped his, and the earth grew dark. And the ground trembled while her stomach turned. And graves opened up all over Jerusalem. And the veil in the temple was rent from the top to the bottom. And while he was dying with parched lips from an old, rugged cross, he finally looks in her direction. And the Bible says that when Jesus saw his mother, he said to her not what I would've said. I would've said, "Mama! Mama"! I know I would. I'm 60-something years old, but I know I would have cried if I saw my mother. I'd have said, "Mama! Mama, they're killing me". But Jesus turned, and looked at her, and said, "Woman, behold your Son".
Wait a minute, woman? Woman? Not Mama, not Mother, not Mommy, not My Dear, not Mommy. Jesus says, "This is the end of our relationship as you knew it". Woman. He divorces the relationship he had with her and turns from his mama to his Daddy, and says, "Father, into thy hands I commend my Spirit". And to her he says, simply, "Woman". And still she stood. When your son, your dying son refers to you as "woman" and you still stand there, she is a sole survivor. Why wouldn't I call her sole survivor? Joseph is dead. Jesus is dead. And Mary is the last one left standing, gazing at what no mother wants to see.
I want to talk to every mother whose son is in jail, or not speaking to you, or not dealing with you; whose daughter is estranged from you. I want to talk to every mother who has a bitter taste of gall in the pit of her stomach because Mother's Day for you is not a happy Mother's Day, not as happy as you thought it would be, or could be, or maybe even should be. And still she stood. Woman, behold your Son. Jesus stopped dying to give his mama what she gave him: a place to stay. You cannot be a good child if you don't give back to your mama what your mama gave you. Woman, behold your Son. No wonder John is called the one whom Jesus loved. I have to love you to trust you with my mama. I can't like you and trust you with my mama. You can't be okay with me and trust you with my mama.
He's dying on the cross and he holds death off long enough to tell his mama where it's safe to stay. Woman! I feel like preaching, excuse me. Woman! Woman! God will never leave you outdoors. Do you hear me? Every sister in this place, do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth, that if Jesus would stop dying to make sure that his mama wasn't homeless, surely God has a place for you. Woman, behold thy Son. Son, behold your mother. And still she stood. Sole survivor, all by herself. I want to talk to every woman who feels all by yourself, who feels like everybody has forsaken you and everything you love leaves. I want to talk to every woman online who feels like everything you love leaves, or dies, or walks away, and you don't know what to do. You do what Mary did. She still stood.
I'm almost finished, but what really gets me about the text is that she's gone through enough hell to be through with God, to walk away from him and say, "Listen, that you gave me the worst pain of my life," but still she stays, not just to the grave. No, she's at service next Sunday. She's at service next Sunday. She's at service after that. She's at service. She's still serving God through the pain. The only praise that matters is a praise that comes through the pain. If you don't have a praise that comes through the pain, you don't have a praise at all. If all you do is praise God 'cause your shoes was on sale, 'cause you got your house on a discount, 'cause you got a car in layaway, you don't have a praise. What God wants is a sacrifice of praise. I wish I had somebody watching me somewhere in spite of all the pain you've seen in your life. I'll give you 30 seconds to give God some kind of survivor's praise.
I don't know what horrible thing life has brought you that's been looking you in your face. I don't know what you had to stare at. From the beautiful, tender face of a young maiden staring at a prophetic word delivered by an angel, to crow's feet around her eyes and the wrinkles under her chin. Life will show you a lot of things that you don't want to look at. But if you stand through it. And if you can't stand through it, crawl through it. Hey! You may have to get down on your knees and crawl through it. You may have to cry through it. But before it's all over, I swear he'll make it up to you. Can you imagine, the Bible specifically lists Mary the mother of Jesus in the upper room when the Holy Ghost fell? And can you imagine her holding her belly, speaking in tongues? Any mama know her baby. She said, "Yeah, I will not leave you comfortless. I will come to you". And there he is. And the rest of her life, he who has been with her is now within her.