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.

Resilience

Resilience

I’m coming to find that so many people are being beaten down by life’s trials. I know. Life is hard. I have lived it. In the south, we have a saying. It goes like this: “It’s always something”. This phrase, I’ve heard my entire life. But, I have come to see that if I will just get back up, if I will just keep going, life will get better. It will not ever be perfect. But, it will get better.

On this past Friday, I had an opportunity to speak to a group of young single parents. These young ladies had their newborns and toddlers in tow and were coming to a church to listen to some speaker. Well, I knew going in that my audience would be young teen moms, and so I had prepared a topic for their age group. As soon as they entered, I knew my short talk needed to be about resilience and the art of Doing It Anyway. So, I winged it. I spoke from the heart. (God really will give you what you need.)

“Life is not easy” is a phrase heard constantly no matter where we live. At some stage of life, we’re going to speak this phrase. But, what is not taught is that we can make it and that there is always another way. So, with these young women, I chose to be candid, raw, and real. I gave them my background in being a single mom. Who cares about my accomplishments and what I do now if I cannot relate my experiences to how this talk connects to and will help them.

I explained resilience as being the art of bouncing back. I encouraged them to write down where they are now, where they want to be, what their goals are for themselves and for their babies, and lastly to keep that paper and consult it when life gets hard. We had a discussion where they were included and not merely spoken to. I wanted to tie in the fact that my struggles as a single mom were many, but that God brought me out of them. He moved me from a place of unhappiness and blessed me. And I wanted them to know He was waiting to do that for them. In the end, they all clapped and said thank you. I closed the meeting in prayer because I felt led to do so. I asked God to bless them and their babies and change their lives for the better. But what struck me the most was one girl said she was encouraged that she could still recover, bounce back, get on her feet, be what she wants to be. They left smiling and inspired. I left excited. I left knowing that my pain, struggle, good, and bad was just used to help someone else.

I am resilient. I want to encourage every woman, man, boy, and girl to get up again. There’s more to my story, but the point is I’m no longer there. I’m past the pain and you can be, too. Putting one foot in front of the other, working on your goals until they are achieved, and trying your hardest to move past the obstacle is the only way you, me, those young ladies will be able to say “Life is hard, but I am resilient.” Life is hard, but we all can make it.

Every obstacle is not meant to hurt you. Some come to improve you.

Do It Anyway!