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.

We Owe It To Our Kids

We Owe It To Our Kids

I’m in education and one of the things I see often in our youth is a sense of entitlement. I hear it from my friends and colleagues as we discuss our experiences. I hear it in my church, in the malls, out and about in life- I hear it. Kids today have strong sense of entitlement. We owe it to our kids to teach them how to survive on their own, to teach them life skills beyond what they get in school, to teach them to be appreciative of people and of what they have. I live in the U.S- the greatest country on Earth because we are FREE. Our kids should walk around knowing they are free and what a price people have paid and continue to pay for that freedom. They should not walk around oblivious to this freedom and allowed to think that they deserve to be spoiled and given an iPhone 5 “just because”. I mean, where did this start? Who started it? It is detrimental. The students say they do not need to learn because “My parents will buy me ____”, “My parents will pay for my ____”, etc. When will it end!? It won’t, unless WE do something.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t buy nice things for our children. I’m saying we have a problem when our children value those things over people, over relationships, over gaining knowledge, over us. So what if your child is not happy or throws a temper tantrum, we are called to shape them, guide them, grow them up to be responsible adults. We were not called to spoil and make them absolutely lazy that they depend on us far longer than they should. You know, the “failure to launch” kids. Those kids are at home because momma and daddy, mommy, or daddy did not lead them in the way that they should go. I am simply saying that teaching our children to value hard work is a necessary not a maybe. Teaching our kids to do their best ALL THE TIME is a necessary not a maybe. Teaching our kids respect is a necessary and not a maybe.

We owe it to our kids to be the best we can be and to teach them that working to be their very best has honor, has value, is their destiny. Doing anything else is mediocrity at best. I cannot stand mediocrity. Growing up lower class (catch that), I had a problem with mediocrity. I knew that just because I didn’t have the best of everything did not mean I wasn’t capable of doing my best (My grandmother instilled that early on). I pass this on to my boys. I refuse to let my children lose by temporarily allowing them to think they’ve won by wearing a certain brand of clothing, driving a certain car, or wielding a certain phone. In my house, my boys will learn true worth is more than what they possess.

Parenting is tough. Single parenting is tough. Do It Anyway!