Encouraging thoughts for a discouraging time

Encouraging thoughts for a discouraging time

Encouragement has been hard for me to muster this week. I am usually the first to be bright-eyed and positive. I always have a word for those in need. But, this week was hard for me. Since it was hard for me, I know that it has also been for so many of you. Clearly the issues in the Middle East affecting persecuted Christians, the shooting death of a young black man in Ferguson, MO, and countless other issues in our world affected me. (Maybe they also affected you) As a Christian, my heart hurts for people period. I have and had a deep hurt that just wouldn’t/won’t leave for what is happening to women and children and people period all due to their personal religious beliefs. As an African American woman who is a parent, seeing what happened in Ferguson over the weekend and waiting on confirmation of what happened had me on edge. I was sad for the family, angered by what happened, afraid for my children growing up in a world that shoots before asking questions, etc. I mean, isn’t it normal to hurt for people you don’t know? Well, I think so. I have to live in this world, my kids do, you do and your loved ones. It is outrageous! We should all be upset. Most of us are.

I was so sad that I had to leave social media and pray. In prayer, I was able to remember that GOD truly has all things under control and it is in Him that I put my trust. I know my situation is not that of the parents mourning the loss of their child or the citizens who feel like prisoners in their own city, or the thousands fleeing their homes for fear of death. But, the impact of their trials affected me. It saddened me. My spirit was low. I wanted to help my brothers and sisters. What I could do in that moment was pray. I prayed and that encouraged me. I am so thankful that God is there no matter in what situation we find ourselves. I am so glad that His word is a “lamp to our feet and a light to our path” (Psalm 119:05). His word is life, encouragement, air. So, I come today with no solution to actual problems. I cannot bring anyone back, I cannot provide safety to those who have lost it all, but I can pray that the ONE who has the solution and is able to hide us in His secret place will do so. He can hide us in His arms, in His secret place (Psalm 91).

I have to believe that justice will be served in this life. As in past cases, when it is not, we go on peacefully trying to change laws to protect us and spread awareness to help others. But, we know that in the life to come, God says vengeance is Mine, I shall repay. And it is in that I put my hope. It is not ours to decide what we go through, but we know somehow we will make it. Just knowing that God has it under control puts me at ease. I can keep doing my best in a world that doesn’t always treat people the way they should. I can continue raising my boys to be the best citizens I can and yet teach them to protect themselves against possible police brutality, abuse, misuse of power. I can encourage someone today who is down because I have been and now have hope. Let this be your encouragement in the midst of your day. God will provide. Put your hope in Jesus for He cares for you.

9 Lessons Life Has Taught Me

9 Lessons Life Has Taught Me

I have come into my own in my thirties. I know a lot of “twenty-somethings” dread the big 30, but it is truly a great time in life. I say this knowing that I am quickly approaching 40. Yet, I still have a few years before I get the “Oh Lordy, she’s 40” cake. But, in all seriousness, I am approaching a beautiful time in life. I want us as women to stop dreading getting older because we learn something valuable each year as we age. We get better with time in appearance, in wisdom, in our careers, and most importantly in parenting. So, I have compiled a list of 9 lessons I have learned in my own life. I believe they will resonate with you.

1. Take care of yourself.
I get better with time. I know you do, too. It’s just a fact that we are more beautiful and confident in our thirties. No longer a babe or a twenty-something finding her stride, we blossom into “grown woman”. I don’t about you, but I really found my fashion sense in my 30’s. I think I looked good in my 20’s but let’s face it, somethings need to be left in the past like midriffs being out and “too short” shorts. (Ikr) After my first child, I immediately felt ashamed of “short” anything. After all, I was a mom now. I really started eating better and wearing makeup (here and there) in my 30’s. I learned how to properly workout. Gone are the days of fine with no work. So, in short, take care of your skin, eat right, exercise, get rest, and leave the little clothes to the little girls. It will bless you now and later.
2. Be authentic.
I know who I am now. I feel like I have always known, yet I was not okay with being different. I was and still am “different”. I never ran with the crowd, never wanted to do the “cool” thing, and now I know that I made the right choice. I can without any qualms be authentic and stare any onlooker in the face and say “So what!”. Take it or leave it. I’m me and being me with my quirks is A-okay.
3. Chase your goals.
I know what I want to do in my career. I have always had a knack for talking. I’m an encourager, and I love to read. I’m curious and research is cool to me. None of those descriptions add up to Spanish teacher, but that’s what I do. I also do other things besides that like encourage single parents and that is a passion I know I’ll always chase along with a myriad if other things. Who says you have to do one thing? That dream that won’t die keeps nagging you for a reason. Chase it. It’ll free you.
4. Create the family you desire.
I know I want a whole family (mom and dad at the helm). I always knew this. I didn’t always make the choices that lined up with what I wanted. I know better now. In life and love, be courageous and ask. No, demand what you want. You’ll weed out who doesn’t belong and have room for who does. Amen.
5. Go when others do not see the path.
Sometimes people will think you’re nuts. That’s okay. That spark in you must be allowed to grow into passion. Chase it. You’ll be happy. When I left mortgages to be a Spanish teacher, my family said “for what?” Now, they can’t help but brag to people who could care less that I have my Masters. I didn’t do it for them. I did it for me. Be comfortable going alone. The rest will catch up.
6. Be brave.
I moved to Texas to chase a dream. It was the best move I ever made. I was fearless as a single mom with small boys. I was fearless because I had peace that God had opened that door. Be sensitive to the direction your life needs to go in, bite the bullet, and go.
7. Be available.
In your growing, chasing dreams and staying fabulous, be available to your babies. My years of working on my Masters are a blur and at the same time a joy. I say a blur because it was hard. A joy because Zi love learning and it’s a big accomplishment. I made it. My boys made it. But to say I was as present mentally as I should have been would be an understatement. Tired was the place I lived. I took breaks and had family time, but it was a time of sacrifice. I made a deal with them that they couldn’t do sports in those three years but after I finished they could. I made good on that promise. It just was not possible to do due to my taking three grad classes every semester and working full-time. I now see I was crazy. Lol! What was I thinking! Praise God we made it.
8. Being alone is better than being in the wrong relationship.
In love, you have to look out for you. Choose the best from the start and you can avoid some unnecessary lessons. I had to grow up in my twenties quickly as a single mom. I didn’t know how to date. But, Lord have I figured it out now! Simply put, If he does not bring peace to me and my house, he is not a good fit. He has to love me and my boys. We come together. No exceptions. I’d rather be alone than spend my precious time on a “temporary man”. Older women are attractive because we’ve figured out what we want and don’t want. Most importantly, we’re not afraid to say it.
9. Do It Anyway
This last lesson is key! Life is hard. Single parenting is hard. Building a company or chasing a dream will be hard. If it’s your dream, you owe it to yourself to see it to the end. Many may not come to help you, do it anyway. Do it alone, with tears in your eyes, broke, tired, hungry, but do it. You’ll find out how strong you are and that God really does make a way.

May what I’ve learned inspire you to keep going no matter what season you are in. Life truly is beautiful and you really rock! Remember that.

Kaydy