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.

It’s almost summer! Where are my kids going?

It’s almost summer! Where are my kids going?

It’s that time of year when the kiddos are almost out for school and we, the parents, have to figure out what to do with them. I say this because a good bit of us single parents work. If you do not have a place for them to go yet , especially if your children are too young to be home alone say not 14 and up, then read on for some ideas.

1. Send them to grandma’s.

I am fortunate enough to have support in my mom and sisters. They usually watch the boys for me if I have things to do like conferences during the summer. They take turns and it’s just good for them to hang around their cousins and bond. You know, be kids. Plus, their nanna enjoys it. My benefit is they are safe, loved, having fun, and are safe. Did I say safe? Yes. A big deal for this mama is safety. Do not ever feel like you have no choices. People, even unlikely people, are willing to help. But, always make sure you trust them.

2. Child Exchange
“What is this?”, you say. Well, I started years ago keeping my best friends son for two weeks during the summer to allow my really hard-working cousin to take a vacation. She deserved it and her son got to be with my boys and have “cousin time”. A win. In exchange, she would later keep my two and they would hang out again and the boys just thought it was rad. In our two weeks without children, we learned to sleep in and pamper ourselves. It was heaven. Let me say something here: Every parent needs a break at times. It doesn’t make you bad, inept, or whatever “perfect people” call it. It makes you human and authentic. Parents and Single parents, especially, need a vacation. So, call your friends up and make a plan to do an exchange!

3. Summer/Church Camp
Now, in the beginning, I could not afford paying for camp. Vacation Bible school was the best I could do and that was half a day. Let me tell you, it helped. As I progressed in my career, I learned how to budget/sacrifice so they could do science camp or do the church summer camp. Some organizations offer scholarships. So, please don’t think you cannot afford it. Look into what is offered and ask about discounts. The old adage rings true: “Closed mouths do not get fed”. So, call them and ask! My boys had a blast at their science camp and church camp. Both were at different times and lasted 4-5 days. Amen.

4. Stay home

If they are old enough or you have an older sibling, friend, or family member to watch them, go for it. I try to let mine have a break and just be when they’re with me. But later, I break out something educational. Since I speak and teach Spanish, I have them practice. I am starting them up intensely this summer because I would like them to be bilingual. I only work them an hour a day. I mean, it’s summer.

5. Ymca
I have never used The Y, but I know they offer full-day programs during the summer. I have friends who have used their programs and liked them. Look into any scholarships or discounts they may offer.

6. Daycare
I know that some daycares will keep older children during the summer and some even have per day rates and even per hour. You want to do your research on this one. They usually include fun field trips, as well.

I hope you found these tips to be helpful. Don’t let school end without a plan! Remember, safety first.

If it costs a lot, but your kids are safe… Yep, you guessed it!

Do It Anyway!