Facing my Fears – Raspberry Jerk Chicken
I finally learned how to have joy and happiness when I started appreciating the beauty of life. I’ve learned over the years that truly happy people are those who have the strength to bear their weaknesses, failures, and disappointments in life, and still dare to face their fears. Their embrace of life enlarges through every loss. This lesson has stuck with me through life’s losses and disappointments that I have experienced. I have learned to bear them and face my fears and embrace whatever life offers.
One of my biggest fears has always been driving over bridges. On a trip to Florida years ago, I met this fear face to face. It came to me in Pensacola in the form of a five-mile-long bridge during a family reunion. It was a demon of a bridge. I wondered how in the world could a bridge so long and suspended so high over the deep blue waters could hold so many cars safely. It seemed to be an impossible task in my mind. It also seemed to be an impossible task for me to drive over it, yet there I was facing one of the biggest fears in my life. I couldn’t avoid it. It may seem trivial to some but to me, it might as well have been the dinosaur in Jurassic Park.
At first, I drove oh so carefully, not looking left or right. My girls were excited, saying, “ Look at the boats, mommy!” I said, “I can’t look right now.” I wanted them to think I was concentrating on driving, not scared to death. Yet, I was so afraid that I could not move. I stopped my car right there on that bridge. I could hear the cars behind me honking impatiently as I was just frozen in fear. I just couldn’t do it. After several moments of procrastination, and realizing that I had to move, the thought came to my mind that ”I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Then, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but The Lord delivers them all.” I began to move. I put the car in drive and I drove to the other side, ever so slowly. When I got to the end of the bridge, I made a U-turn and returned to the other side of the bridge where I first started. I repeated this feat several times over the next few days because our hotel was on one side of the bridge, and many of the activities were on the other side of the bridge. The people responsible for accommodations were not afraid of bridges. It has been a few years since that triumph. Now, whenever I drive over a bridge, I am reminded of my triumph that first time in Florida.
I remember growing up and being fearful that I didn’t fit in, that I wasn’t good enough or smart enough, or pretty enough. Other friends had bigger houses, better toys, and prettier clothes, and yes, I compared myself to them and many of them were not very kind so the feelings that I had were solidified. I felt inadequate to make decisions on my own for fear that I would make the wrong one. It seemed that around my family, I was fine but around those people, I felt that I didn’t measure up. Many of them were critical of everyone, especially me. The sad part was I still wanted them to be my friends. They had nothing to offer me but negativity, yet I craved the desire to be their friend.
I don’t know exactly when and how I snapped out of it but I look back and realize that I was worthy. Before then, I had not yet reached my intelligence quota to recognize that it was okay to be me. I had not learned that there was greatness inside of me. It was okay to be different, but I had allowed myself to accept the position of feeling inferior. Even my name, Barbara meant ‘stranger.’ People even said that I was weird. It was not even their fault. No one could have made me feel inferior without my permission.
Another fear that I had in life was facing life alone after my first divorce. I felt I was too weak to go it alone; too afraid to be responsible for myself, my daughters, my salon business, and all the responsibilities attached to being a single mom. However, I realized that to grow it was necessary to make that move. For my peace of mind, I gave up the beautiful 2800 SF brick ranch with rose bushes and evergreens that surrounded the back of the house. I moved into a small apartment over my salon with my youngest daughter and my oldest daughter decided to live with her dad. We became quite content to live there. I could work as late as I wanted and not have to drive home, and my daughter was right there with me the whole time where I could monitor her homework. If we wanted to get away, sometimes we stayed at my dad’s house which was only twenty minutes away. My mom had passed away and my dad lived alone, so he welcomed the company.
Less than two years later I remarried, sold the salon, and moved to Michigan into a 4000 sf home. We started a new life with me, a new husband, and my daughter a new stepdad. We had an acre of land with lots of room to roam, a garden with evergreens, and more. We were very happy if only for a short time.
I had the strength to bear my weaknesses and emerged a much stronger, more confident woman until another rug was snatched from under my feet. However, that is another blog for another time. I even wrote a book about that experience.
I believe that as I grow in Christ, by letting Him guide me, I am learning to find true happiness and better relationships. Despite the weaknesses that I possess, I have no acrimonious thoughts about others and have learned that happiness means accepting and embracing what blessings God has to offer. The biggest lesson is that I now embrace the truth that God is not the author of fear.
Now I know that this is supposed to be a recipe book, so what does fear have to do with it? Well, who’s afraid of hot stuff? Although I like spice, I steer away from truly hot spicy foods. I compromised by trying just enough spice to tickle my tongue but not set my tongue on fire or have heat coming out of my ears. So if you like spice but fear the fiery heat, Then this spicy Raspberry Jerk Chicken is for you. Don’t be too fearful. It is the bomb! I now make this a vegetarian dish since I no longer eat meat. So if you are vegetarian, just substitute your favorite ‘unchicken’.
Beebe Love’s Raspberry Jerk Chicken
1 Whole Chicken
2-4 Tablespoons Jerk Seasoning (dependent on your level of fearlessness)
1 Small Onion cut into slivers
2-3 Garlic cloves, minced
1 bottle of zesty Italian dressing
1 jar of raspberry preserves
1 green pepper. Cut in strips
1 Mix Italian dressing, and jerk seasoning together with a wire whisk until smooth. Add garlic and onion
2 Place chicken in a large freezer bag. Pour marinade over the chicken and coat well. Seal the bag and refrigerate overnight.
3 When you are ready to cook the chicken, remove the chicken from the bag. Pour the marinade into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Set aside to use as a basting sauce and serving sauce for the chicken.
4 Preheat grill to medium-high. Cut the chicken in halves and place the half’s skin side down on the covered grill. Cook for approximately 30-45 minutes, keeping the internal grill temperature between 350°F and 400°F, turning the chicken occasionally and basting with marinade until the chicken halves are cooked through. The chicken is done when the juices run clear (not pink) Transfer the chicken to a baking dish, pour on the rest of the marinade, and place in the oven for 20 minutes at 350°. Remove from oven and tent loosely with foil to keep warm and let stand 15 minutes before serving.
Serve with black beans and jasmine rice.
Serves 6 to 8.
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 45-60 min