Sunday, May 31, 2009
Apparently, money and good deeds are not enough to save us...doesn't the Bible say that in James? yes of course. Denise's home has been condemned, she has once again been displaced. She and her three babies have moved to a hotel with the help of the state for 5 days, she is unwilling to go to a shelter. She chooses to reject that option because her live in father is the dad of her youngest child, she states he won't let her go without him, shelters don't take men...especially unmarried men. There are many things we think and say..what are we supposed to do? We helped her mover her "stuff" Memorial Day Monday...into a shed of sorts, a conglomerate of mostly soiled, dejected, items. Filthy dirty, my children were not the least bit bothered, however my oldest son wants to know..."what happened?" I don't know the answer, however we know we have not stopped wanting the best for Denise, Raymond, Deshay & Chris. But for me, it feels like the time to pray deep for her to find "Holy determination" !!!!!
Please join me in prayer.....Oh yeah...she's pregnant too.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
God promises if I follow Him, he will make my burdens light. If I lean on Him, it will make my load lighter...each day I decide to do this...I'm learning a new way of coping..not listening to the devil's whispers of incompetence.
I received a letter yesterday....from my mother, probably the first ever, acknowledging she was "unaware of my pain" because she was too busy involved in her own pain.: That my friends is a first, and a direct answer to prayer...I got up yesterday and went straight to God..walking..trying to do it different. The letter was in the mailbox by 2pm. God is so snappy.
I'm grateful for the wisdom of Sue & Kelly...and many other Godly women, God has plunked right down in my path...listen He says...to ME!
I am grateful for His affirmations. I need them..Today.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
It's been 3 days since I shared a big "secret" with 142 women, and the feelings I'm left with are drowning me. I never expected the low that comes with telling the truth, I'm sure it's Satan. I've lived with anger towards my mom for years, now I have to live with the fact that I haven't quite forgiven her it appears. After telling my story on Saturday, my mother unexpectedly came, I did not invite her, she rarely comes to an event I invite her to, if she does it's because she's "guilted" into coming. Not because she's ever learned what being a mother lools like. So year after year, she tries but never seems to understand how to love her own children, or grandchildren. Truly, I thought it was all OK. She is who she is. After sharing, she punishes me, as she always has by being "silent", until I decide I can take it no longer and call her. I'm not calling. Doing it different is painful. I continue to fall into the trap of "expectations." Why must I resort into being that little girl who is screaming for the deaf mothers ear? I cannot seem to learn how to lean on God totally, halfway, somewhat,...just not quite enough to feel His relief. I need prayers..I'm so grateful for freinds who love me, for the best husband, for children who are amazing, but I know still..only God can heal the wounds that are so deep...today they are oozing.
It’s clear and simple to me, that God puts people…like the Elijah’s of the world in our lives, Godly people for us to follow and people who are in need of Godly examples.
When your folks tell you, “So in so” is not a person I want you to hang around, we are not sure, if those people are put in our lives for our benefit…or for their benefit.
Clearly your folks want you to “hang” with Godly people of great examples…but you may be the Elijah…God has placed in their lives.
Today I want to share with you how God put people in my life, mentors, and how I was put in other peoples lives…I’m clearly more in tune with who God placed in my life….looking back it’s easier of course than predicting, and God has not spoken to me like he spoke to Elijah…But I know now how important women especially are in my life…especially older women than myself.
God has so clearly put me in places and situations that women played a huge role in my life, especially godly women, for a clear reason I’m sure. I know He has a plan for my life, and it’s my job to listen and figure out what the plan is. I’m trying to be a listener now… and not be in charge of where I want God to take me.
I want to relate one story to you that changed the course of my life:
When I was 15, I was clearly experiencing a lot of stress in my life, and in my home. We didn’t have an obviously dysfunctional home, but there was a lot that was lacking in my life that I could not put my finger on. I had a lot of Headaches, now knowing at the time that it is a clear sign of stress and emotional pain that came out physically.
I was not a good student, really I felt like it wasn’t a real big deal…whatever happened in school to me…didn’t really cause for any alarm…do well or not…so of course I opted for the path of least resistance. I felt as if No one cared…me either. So by the time I was 17…I was failing in high school…again…I didn’t care…and no one else cared…so at one point late May my senior year my father made a very flippant remark to me…”If your going to fail, you may as well quit” So I was a teen, and I was calling his bluff…and I quit…in May, 17 years old, went in and cleared out my locker, went in to homeroom and said good bye. I clearly remember “No one stopped me”. Now, as a parent today of 3 boys…there is no way I’d ever let my kids think failing was OK, not to mention to encourage them to quit….but that is exactly what happen. So here I am, 17 years old, Douglas Freeman student, everyone I know is now going to college, and I just quit school…what a bone head. I had no one who encouraged me to do otherwise, or that was really NOT the best idea I the house.
Looking back there was a lot going on, clearly. I needed a savior, I was not a Christian, was not raised in a Christian home.
There was this man, my guidance counselor, from my school who called my in late that summer and spoke to me about my plans…I had none. He wanted me to come back to Freeman and repeat my senior year; I said “No way”. I was never going back. I was humiliated and could not face a soul, I lied to anyone who asked if I was going to college, and I had no way to get in and no one to support me. I was out on a limb, feeling very alone.
This man then said to me…I have a plan for you if you are willing, no one ever had a plan for me…& I was interested in what he had to say.
He told me go to J Sergeant Reynolds…take college Govt & English, get credit for it and set myself up for the future, he said IF you pass…I’ll get you HS diploma for you. I did what he said, I got “a’s on both classes” I was afraid to go back, I didn’t believe him. For years I just felt like I never graduated from HS. I could not even tell you how I got in to J Sergeant, who paid, who helped me register. …but I passed. I tried to get into Old Dominion…I was told “You’ll never get in”…late Aug..of the following year, I got in, they called me at home, I didn’t even get a letter, its bizarre I can’t explain it, it’s hard to believe…I was called and told the only dorms available were the athletic dorms, where all the athletes stay…I said “Sweet”. Again, I have no idea who helped me register, all I remember was my folks going with me and dropping me off and wishing the best of luck to me. They never visited again, maybe once. My father wrote me one time. I worked like a dog to stay down there, but I had no idea how to study or what it took to be a good student, plus I met my very first best friend in college…Valerie Petersen, an art major, I was nursing. I took Anatomy, chemistry, Statistics, Psychology & Ethics… Again I had no guidance….just taking what I thought I needed…We had the best time of our lives…I failed out again…she went on the become a great artist.
I was on my own again. The good that came out of that year is huge, but the mentor who stepped into my life was a Counselor from EVMS who talked to me about the road I had a head…She said from this point forward, you need strong women in your life…older women, good role models, folks who can steer you for a life time. I believed her. I never saw her again, but I remembered her words for a life time.
The course was not easy, I made huge mistakes to many to tell you about, I was the family black sheep always stirring up trouble….but I was determined, and now I know God had a plan for me, no matter how small, I was important t HIM…it took me years of unnecessary detours to find that out. Painful failures, big mistakes, but eventually, he put the right folks in my path, and I like Elisha, followed the right folks. I was blessed with the most amazing husband I was Baptized, I was sent to Indiana against my will, I met another two key women role models in my life, one who insisted I accept Christ and start over, I thought for sure I was joining a cult, but it turns out God had sent her. I met another best friend in Indiana who insisted I come outdoors after being there for one year refusing to play and meet friends….because I knew I WAS LEAVING!!!!!!! I was not meeting anymore church people, not staying in Indiana, not doing it.
I did it after one year of solitude and torturing my husband, who was a saint to stay with me.
I can name plenty of women who saved my life; the Naomi’s of this world, who took a key interest in me, the Barnabas of the world who encouraged me not to give up.
I can remember being so afraid and mad for all I had done, the mistakes I had made and the forgiveness I needed. But then I was told…God will forgive me if I ask, and my life will be a new one. That is what I did, not alone, and not without key players in my life who always led me, who saw something I didn’t see…and loved me in spite of my failures.
So there is a happy ending to this story, I graduated from college, went on to graduate with a second degree from EVMS, I turned my life around and I always felt like I was trying to prove myself, my worth, It is an idea that has shaped me and it’s hard to let go of. It’s hard for me to believe I’m worthy of such love from so many…but I am.
It shaped my, my failures, as God knews it would. It has led me to this point in my life where my call on my life for me…is to help others who have similar struggles, who need a hand up. Who need someone to speak for them when they can’t and others won’t? I have gained a lot of strength from God, and from Godly people in my life. When I came back to Richmond after a 19 year absence…it was an insecure place for me…a place of remembrance of bad times…I needed friends…I prayed for God to send me Godly friends and he did. I am surrounded by women of all ages, different gifts, and different strengths, women who guide me and love me for who I am today. I finally feel like a voice for other women who can’t speak out.
I am involved with two ministries I love….I love going to foreign countries and helping feed and educate folks. I particularly feel called to Haiti. I have been raising funds for Haiti for over 5 years now. I have an additional ministry that I am involved with many women here today called the free market, where we help with people in the city who are in great need for goods, but mostly for a person who will love them unconditionally without judgment. Hands up ministry.
So in closing, I want you to know how important you are to other women in your life. That if there is someone in your life who is in particular need, God has placed them there. If there are women in your life that are guiding you and you enjoy just being in their presence, God has placed them there. Women we have big roles in others lives, don’t underestimate your wisdom. You don’t have to be “loud” about it. I am very loud in my boys lives, they know how important education is in their lives, they know how important God is in their lives, they know how important serving is in their lives, they know how important giving back is in their lives…They know they may not like it today…but God has taught me big things that I feel he’s allowed me to teach my own children, and last but not least, they are loved beyond their imaginations and are told DAILY!
Most of the women in my life are not like me, but I love who they are. If someone had just told me early on, I am not supposed to be like others, but learn what I can from others, it may have saved me a lot of heartache. Especailly teens, but there are many women I know that God puts in my life who annoy the pudding out of me that God has placed In my life to learn from them, and they can learn from me…Terry’s love of an experience & Wendy’s love of Joy and beauty, & April’s love for structure I too love, Valerie love for adventure, Trish’s love for her husband, Linda’s love for her grandchildren, none of those I’m just like…but I love who they are. I love what they can teach me.
I leave you with my latest trip to Haiti and pics from the local Free Market,
Both are ministries I invite all of you to be a part of. The Free Market is 10 mins away, Haiti is 1000 miles away, and both are life changing. I write weekly about the free market if you want to hear what is going on, sign up in the back. If you’d like to go to Haiti with me, we’ll go again in Oct of 09 and Spring of 2010, you have to be in High School to go, and you need a passport. I encourage you all to discover God’s call on your life and make a difference I someone’s life.
Haiti photos now: Comments First
Free Market Photos: introductions of Paulette & April, their struggles, achievements, and their continued needs for mentors.
So be a Naomi in someone’s life…a mentor
Be a Barnabas in someone’s life …an encourager
Be an Elijah in someone’s’ life…A Godly role model…
I’m grateful for my sister, who is a constant supporter in my life always.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Parker had his 5th grade graduation tonight from DARE...it's hard to believe it's all over! He had the lead in Lion King....and was amazing. This is the child who has come out screaming for most of his life. HE & I are like gasoline & fire, two things that rarely see eye to eye.
Mother's Day Eve, he came in my room and laid in my bed talking to me about random things for an entire 30 minutes...I was very aware and careful to make full eye contact, speak only when necessary, ask very leading questions, just give him my 100%...I was grateful, thanked God for the moment, I stayed as long as he was willing, he ended the conversation by saying good night and he loved me. Sweet!!!!!!!
Then it was Mother's Day morning, we are getting ready for church....first thing, I'm in my bathroom at my vainty, Parker comes flying in my room, no knocking in my home, "where are my black jeans????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!" In your bottom drawer precious. " No they are not, I looked, YOU gave them away!" It's true, I give it all away if they can't fit in it, often I don't ask, just poof, someone is in need, It goes. This time, I did NOT take his jeans. Parker is especially tied to things, I'm sensitive about him. I try not to do much without his "Yes". He doesn't take "change" well.
He awoke angry..normal. He's lashed out at me, normal, for no apparent reason. I have to pray extra hard for us. I found his black jeans in the bottom drawer under a second pair of blue jeans, one of two pairs in the drawer. His black jeans were for Monday Eve at school, for DARE, he just wanted to be ready!
I spoke to him as calmly as possible..."I'm trying really hard to be a good mom to you, I make mistakes, you have hurt my feelings, and I'm sorry for making you think I had your jeans." The end. This is one of a kabillion incidence that look just like this or worse. I pray for us all the time...I love him so...but he doesn't always want me to.