A couple of weeks ago, I was mesmerized by Aretha Franklin's performance on the Kennedy Center Honors as she paid tribute to Carole King with her drop-dead rendition of "Natural Woman." I wasn't the only one to shed a tear and hold my breath for almost four solid minutes as the Queen of Soul raised the roof with what must be the greatest salute to love and womanhood ever written. By the next day, her performance was all over the Internet with phrases like "Aretha Rocks the Center!" and "The Queen Lays Them Out!" (If you haven't seen the performance yet, go directly to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHsnZT7Z2yQ...after you finish reading this, of course.)
If you ask me, the Diva has never been more beautiful than the moment she dropped her full-length fur coat to the ground to free herself up to belt out the last bit of the classic. It didn't matter in the least if she didn't have the arms of a young woman; they were her arms and they were going to help her carry home one of the great performances of all time.
As a side note, I also loved that she entered the stage carrying her purse and laying it on top of the piano, as if she had just shown up to church to perform a gospel number for the offertory. This was her stage and she was right at home. No pretense...just taking care of business.
So now I'm going to get down to my business. Here's my point.
I'm talking now to all of my sisters, whether you're eight or eighty. It doesn't matter what color your skin is or what size you are or whether you marry or not or whom you choose to marry or date.
Whoever you are...whoever you are...you are special. You are important. You are you.
I just finished watching Aretha's performance again and I suddenly heard the words differently, as if I hadn't listened to them most of my life. There was a point when she sang, “He makes me feel like a natural woman.” I suddenly heard the lyrics talking about a different relationship...a relationship with our Creator. Read these words and imagine them as a conversation with God:
Lookin' out on the morning rain
I used to feel uninspired.
And when I knew I had to face another day,
Lord, it made me feel so tired.
Before the day I met you, life was so unkind
But your love was the key to my peace of mind.
'Cause you make me feel, you make me feel
When my soul was in the lost and found
You came along to claim it.
I didn't know just what was wrong with me
Till your kiss helped me name it.
Now I'm no longer doubtful of what I'm living for
'Cause if I make you happy I don't need to do more
You make me feel, you make me feel
You make me feel like a natural woman.
“If I make you happy…” Think about that. You do make God happy. He loves you. Not because of what you do but because you are His daughter.
As we begin this new year, my challenge to you is that you do everything with that thought in the front of your mind: you are the daughter of God. You make Him happy. His love is the key to your peace of mind. Live there. Feel like the natural woman God intended you to be in Him.
Shed that coat, raise your arms, and be the beautiful, soulful woman who will inspire others with your song.