CONTINUING THE CONVERSATION

No matter how many books I have read, or the amount of advice I have received, nothing prepares a mother for the hatred and prejudice her sons will be forced to face as black men in America. As overwhelming and as challenging as it is, avoidance of the subject of race is far more detrimental to their futures than having the uncomfortable conversation despite the fact I did not have the answers to the questions they would ask.

By examining my own background, I do not recall my parents having the racism conversation with me or my siblings. As I reflect, a part of me contributes their response to the fact that we were born and raised on an island in the Bahamas where people of color are the majority. Or maybe they were intentional about our experiences because what mattered more to them the character of a person rather than the color of their skin.

Whatever their reasoning, my approach to racism with my children was far from predictable. In trying to preserve their innocence, my method of teaching was more of being aware of color. It was okay to notice color but not allowing it to be the primary factor when making the decision of whom they invited into their community. But instead, widening their understanding of others by not limiting their interactions with people that may not necessarily look like them. After all, God in his infinite wisdom made color magnificent. If He had not, how could we experience the difference between, the sun, or the moon or the variety of flowers that landscape the earth.

Maybe my tactic was not the norm, and just maybe my Bahamian roots certainly played a vital role in cultivating my perception of racism. However, the more profound question hanging in the balance, is at what age should I have engaged in this conversation with my sons?

I did not anticipate during the infancy stage of their lives, when I was merely grateful that we avoided most common infant injuries, that just maybe I needed to begin the preparation process of creating my discrimination script that would explain the unfair treatment of men that resembled them.

It did not dawn on me as they entered the toddler stage, as I was preoccupied and somewhat optimistic that we survived with minor scratches and no broken bones that the conversation about racism was one that needed to occur sooner rather than later. Did I fall short as a mother because I was so desperately trying to preserve their childhood innocence for just a little while longer.

The possibility of them falling prey to drugs, drinking, sex or prison was on the forefront of my thoughts when those teenage years showed up. Even though I had observed the struggle of an addict. Was an eyewitness to alcoholism and the destruction it leaves behind. I knew firsthand the damage of having sex, when you are not mature enough to handle the responsibilities associated with the decision. I was hopeful, that the probability of my sons falling prey to those things was unlikely. Racism at the time was not a priority. I was focused on them understanding that God created them to be, overcomers, men of faith who could do the impossible. Did I do the right and honorable thing by letting my sons know early in life what their Creator says about them. That they are royalty and men of honor. Or should I have been educating them on the intolerance of others who have no clue of their value?

I did my best to educate them on the uncertainty of engaging in dysfunctional habits. However, what I did neglect to do, was to expose my sons to strong black men who had endured the process of racism and were willing to talk about their unpleasant experiences and how they overcame the obstacles. Men that would offer assistance that could help them navigate through the unfair system they would one day experience. Something, as a black woman/mother I could never do effectively.

I had handicapped myself by creating my own self-contained barriers. I had learned how to compartmentalize my emotions in order to survive the struggle. And as our lives continued to develop, I became more thankful for each of their birthdays we celebrated because with each birthday they moved them out of the age brackets that are most affected, or so I thought. Did I cross every “t” and dot every “I” of course not, but we were beating the odds that were being displayed on every available media platform proclaiming that a bright future was not in the cards for my black sons. I realized that my sons would have to encounter the terror of being a black man in America. They themselves would one day have to answer those questions. They themselves will one day experience the unfair treatment of being clothed in a skin color that is different from others yet considered a gift from God.

How difficult is it to expect a black man to continue to remain silent as his dignity is being threatened? To not show anger when is he considered a threat simply by his presence. How is he expected not to respond when is treated unjustly because of others who consider him invaluable?

As we continue to exist, I am amazed at how well my young adult sons have adjusted especially during this uncertain climate in the world. They continue to rise above the negativity of those who try to divide and destroy humanity. I watch with great anticipation as they maneuver through the intricate processes of life, family, finances, friendships and freedom as strong black men holding tightly to their truth. I am in awe how they refuse to allow the negativity of racially motivated people to prohibit them from pursuing God’s best for their lives.

I have the liberty of observing how they tackle stress and depression and how they constantly find creative ways to combat the dangers associated with their own self-defeating thoughts. They are confident in the words that were spoken over them as young boys that everything is possible with God. They are resilient when they receive a “no” because they accept the plan God has for their lives. They understand that He controls the gateways needed for them to propel into destiny. They are determined, knowing that this life journey they are traveling is so much more than the human eye can see.

As I struggle with the chaos inside my own head, as life attempts to shake the core of my foundation, my value as their mother. In my quest to find something that would prevent me from the temptation to respond in the way they are being attacked, I hear my mother’s voice, “two bad things have never made something right.” Fighting not to project my unchecked anger and dislike that rises when I see the inhumane treatment of men of color, including my sons is quite disturbing. After all, as the scripture says, to whom much is given, much is required.

Thankfully, I am finding refuge and understanding in the One that created us all. God. The One that gives us the authority to choose our life path, that either aligns with darkness or clings to His marvelous light. I discovered in His word, that God shows no partiality. He expects for me to love my enemies and that includes those that unjustly try to oppress me and anyone I love. He desires for me to be kind to everyone, tenderhearted, and forgiving, as God in Christ has forgiven me.

There is no doubt that through the lens of God’s eyes I am failing miserably at times. Because in these moments of truth, no part of me wants to love individuals that abuse the people that I love. No part of me wants to be kind to people that want to persecute those I love, my black sons. Yet, God in His infinite wisdom demands that love be my guide if racial injustice is ever to be resolved. The responsibility of demonstrating authentic love when it is appears too difficult to produce, requires that I never forget the act of Jesus at Calvary. The blood He shed was for all humanity regardless of the huge errors we have all made.

If real change is going to occur, we must execute a plan that not only educates those that lack understanding but create an environment where authentic discussions can take place and action items produced. Our prayer life must intensify, so that the hearts of all involved are softened. We must cleave to our faith, knowing that it only takes faith the size of a mustard seed to move mountains.

I am still unsure as to how, when or where the catalyst that will bridge the gap of this vicious cycle that continues to cripple humanity will occur. However, I do know that if we don’t make a collective effort to replace anger, hatred and persecution with love, we will continue to live in a world that breathes hatred, darkness and confusion for generations yet to come and racial equality will never be generated.

In the difficult times ahead, we cannot be naïve about the need to combat injustice. Reflecting on the condition of humanity, I am pondering on what role I must play. I have also questioned the methods in which I educated my sons concerning the hatred of others towards them simply because they are fearful and uncomfortable of the color of the skin that God himself selected exclusively for them. Should I have spent more time combating and dissecting every negative word, action or gesture of those living in ignorance regarding people of color? It is funny with all the disturbance going around, as a mother, my first impulse is to question my parental skills even though I am not responsible for the unfairness plaguing our Nation.

Instead of placing the blame on the shoulders of those too ill-informed to seek after resolutions for racial disparities. We must steer the ship to move forward ourselves. We must be allowed to acknowledge the pain that has been unleashed upon those of color and present opportunities to process the losses. All walks of life must be present in the resolution process if indeed visible solutions are the goal. With unity, the arrest of the spirit of division and God’s love we can win the battle that has ripped black men apart for decades. I believe the time for change is now. It is time to starve inherited behavior that feeds racism. My sons are worth the effort and the risk, are yours? #LURH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conquering Challenges in a Crisis

With so much uncertainty going on in the world, it’s difficult not to become preoccupied with the non-essential details tormenting our thoughts. The challenge is maddening. Making a conscious effort to eliminate every weight fighting for your attention in hopes to deny your desire to pursue purpose is real. Aligning with the act of being comfortable and convenient seems like reasonable choices. That is, until you fully grasp the revelation that those two ingredients are not essential for growth. Comfortability, convenience and the norm are not attributes of those who confess to being in relationship with the Almighty God. These individuals understand that no matter the circumstances, they win.

So today, I present to you a thought-provoking concept, walk out your life in excellence. Evict every memory that tries to hold you hostage to a deficiency mentality. Discipline yourself to contribute faithfully in your God-given gifts and talents so they will flourish no matter the condition of the economy. Rise above every person, habit, thought, circumstance, or situation that tries to dismantle your power. Your confidence must be resolved in the One that holds the ultimate power. He has already worked out your future, check out 1st Corinthians 2:9, where He declares that eyes have not seen, nor ears heard, all that He has in store for you.

Make your list, He is preparing you to be the answer to someone’s prayer. Don’t let immaturity make you forfeit destiny. Don’t forget the power the blood. No matter the things we have done in the past, the Father sees us as righteous, (Romans 3:21-22). Remember His ways far exceed ours. He has affirmed us as royalty.

So, stop running wild and tripping during this crisis. Trouble don’t last always. Be like David, encourage yourself in the Lord. Know who you are and who you belong to! Tweet a pic that reminds you that you are wonderful and fearfully made. Hit your IG with a quote that you win because you are more than a conqueror. Give Snapchat a preview of God’s unbelievable vision for your life, while simultaneously giving clearance to Facebook to post. Take your 2020 back! He didn’t change His mind about all His promises for you. They are all absolutely possible. He is just testing the waters to see if you are a devoted disciple or a faithless follower. Easy to know the difference, can you claim Proverbs 22:4 as your roadmap. Humility is the fear of the LORD; its wages are riches and honor and life. #LURH

FINDING BALANCE

With this week representing one of the most sacred times for believers, Jesus’ journey to the cross until his resurrection, I find myself pondering as to what message Jesus was attempting to convey to me in Luke 5:16, But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray. Countless occasions, scriptures reveal that this is his weapon of choice. Not just when faced with the pressures of his calling but also living his daily life. His response continues to intrigue me as to how the act of withdrawing to a desolate place to pray when faced with insurmountable challenges is so vital to my faith walk. So much so, that during my study time what I discovered provoked some important take-aways for me. But before I share that piece of information, I wanted to make sure we are all in alignment with the definition of desolate.

Thanks to Google, I found out when a person feels desolate, he or she feels deserted, lonely, hopeless, and sad. When a location is desolate, there’s almost nothing there. Therefore, I understand the desire to quickly want to check out, when you merely hear the word desolate.  But for a moment, I need you to hold true to Isaiah 55:9, when God lets us know, for just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

From this viewpoint, I recognized that in my desolate place, I am most willing to connect with God. In my desolate position and condition, I am vulnerable and transparent, understanding the value of finding privacy for communing with God is essential. During these private isolation periods, I am able to tap into God’s unique demands for my own soul, and the Father’s purpose and mission for my life is affirmed.

Secondly, in my desolate place, my prayer life is intentional. I have detailed conversations with God where I discover that there will be times when God’s unique call on my life will fiercely clash with the expectations of others and my own self-interests. In my desolate place, I found out that it may be costly, but my willingness to embrace this dynamic will speak volumes about the nature of my obedience and dependency upon God.

Lastly, in my desolate place, I became confident in the fact that God clearly welcomes my persistence in prayer. So, may I suggest to you, don’t avoid the desolate periods of your life. Use those moments to allow God to perfect your prayer life so that it is indeed effective. Don’t allow the stumbling blocks of unconfessed sin, lack of faith, disobedience, unforgiveness, lack of transparency, wrong motives, idols, disregard of others, un-surrendered will and disregard of God’s sovereignty to persuade you that your desolate place is unnecessary.

Most of my greatest assignments would have been forfeited due to my eagerness to avoid the desolate times in my life. I had not yet learned that God would use those periods of my life to prepare me inwardly and spiritually to accomplish his mission. Thank God, I am aware now and quite determined to stay within God’s exclusive and sovereign will for my life, despite the desolate conditions. Love You Real Hard #LURH

 

Uncertainty…

2018 is suppose to be the year of great expectations, new beginnings and lots of extraordinary memories, or at least that is what I had anticipated. Yet, as I acknowledge that it is indeed the month of March, my heart is saddened by all of the time pain has infiltrated my body thus far, and still no human solution as to why. Part of me ask the question, Lord did I really do something so terribly wrong as I recanted the last few months of my life. Yet, the only response I can identify with simply confirms process is uncomfortable, especially when promotion is the reward. Tears begin to flow because faced at the crossroads of purpose and relief, I’m struggling. At this moment I am physically, mentally and emotionally defeated clinging desperately to His Promise that this is not the final chapter of my story. I have no clue as to how my story will evolve. Another level of faith I am trying to understand and embrace as I place one foot in front of the other. However, what I am discovering is healthy love from a community of people who continue to pray for me, encourage me and take care of me through this process has made me well aware that isolation has never been my friend. Through their various expressions of kindness, my strength to stay in the fight of the unknown with a sense of peace has been increased. Thank you all for caring when I had no words to express my uncertainty. #LURH

My Miracles Manages My Messes

So to say that 2018 started out trying to demolish my faith is an understatement. Since New Year’s Eve my body has been attacked with sickness with such force that in the process if I am truly being authentic, it has tried to occupy a portion of my heart, soul and spirit where only my faith is intended to dwell. One week of sickness can be frustrating but after four weeks of sickness, I began to identify with the five key stages of the illness experience: (1) symptom experience; (2) assumption of the sick role; (3) medical care contact; (4) dependent patient role; and (5) recovery and rehabilitation. I also began to have some level of doubt in reference to the plans that God spoke over my life. I began to take inventory of the decisions I have made, no matter the decree of importance. The people I have allowed to influence my views, but most of all I questioned myself as to whether or not what God showed me was indeed for me. The current conditions kept trying to regurgitate my past; by continuously reminding me of the default me, the person I was prior to me allowing God to be my ruler and my guide. That little voice that quietly thwarts me as it echoes, “the abundant future that you are striding to achieve, is not attainable for people like you.” In moments like these, my decision to align with God’s vision for my life, my prayer life and those that God has assigned to me are vital! In this dim place, God’s truth must be the loudest voice I hear and believe. It’s in this position I must acknowledge my weakness and allow His strength to completely reside. My future outcome is in the balance. How do I trust His word which informs me that it is absolutely impossible to please Him without faith, when my faith is questionable? Choices, choices and more choices, I must indeed believe the revealed forecast that He has allowed me to taste and see that it is indeed good. I must develop the endurance to praise Him during the heavy situations to prove to Him that doubt will not be an effective disruption when it comes to His Plan for my life being completely manifested. After all, finished potential is working for me and through me, in spite of my messes. Is it difficult at times to stay true to the Plan, especially when being my own cheerleader is a required a role that I have yet to become proficient in or accustomed to?  To raise the pompoms and recite cheers on my behalf seem irrelevant, until now. I discovered the best example during my isolation period. God did that for me at the cross. He became His own advocate to the Father.  God knew exactly what I needed to hear, see and experience in order to continue with the process to achieve His Plan for my life. I have an unexplainable blessed life regardless of my messes, and some of them through man’s eyes were great, yet He stills see me valuable for His good works. #LURH

PREFERENCE OVER PURPOSE

How many times in a single day do we choose preference, the power or opportunity of choosing, over, purpose, the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists? To add insult to injury, when uttering the words, “I prefer this..” do we truly comprehend how these choices have the potential to drive us away from destiny, the very reason why we exist?

Think about it for a minute, deep down inside you know exactly what it is that gives you passion. I may not necessarily know what that driving force is for you. It could be your loved ones and friends, work, social injustice or helping the homeless. However, what I do understand is when you engage in this driving force called passion it brings about positive emotions in both you and the environment you are meant to affect. I believe activities that have the power to create positive emotions are destiny related. Explore a little deeper and what you will discover is that a person’s life goals and values are influential factors for their passion.

Imagine all of your bills paid off and you still have a little something left in your bank account to survive for a minute. How would you invest your resources? Once you answer this question, ask yourself, why the hesitation for not aligning with destiny today. Don’t allow excuses like, I don’t have time, and I don’t have enough money control your thought process. Remember, you first must be able to manage a little, before more can be added to your life. Check out Luke 16:10, He who is faithful in a very little thing is also faithful in much.

We get so excited when we tell others what we prefer, as if we truly know what we prefer. In all honesty, what we really are conveying is that we like the way we feel when choosing blah blah blah. Because often times we are not even aware that our so called preferences takes us off the pathway of purpose. We become so consumed by our own preferences we forfeit great opportunities to exercise the power of free will to align with our Creator who has the best plan for our lives. #LURH.

 

 

Plans with No Purpose

As 2017 closes, I am amazed at the various projects I had envisioned being completed by the end of this year. Yet, more than several of my ideas and tasks continue to be idle in the phase one position, “in my head.” There has been no movement, from my head to my heart nor any visibility by others. In my many attempts to cultivate excuses to justify the lack of progress, I must accept real truth, which, if I dare to be transparent, God never sanctions non profitable requests. How do I know this? I never once bothered to ask if my desires were vital components or even if they are essential resources for my destiny to be achieved. As difficult as it is for me to admit, creating a vision for my 2017, there were somethings I didn’t necessarily seek direction from God for? After all, isn’t He really busy dealing with real issues LOL! This awakening has forced me into an unknown state, where I am now obligated to confront and re-evaluate my processes and procedures. Don’t let my foolish behavior be your downfall. If evidence is needed, let me be clear, lack of progress in certain areas is totally visible to those who know me and pay attention, in other words, growth can be seen. The red flags do indeed confirm that the grace and mercy needed to handle the responsibilities has not been granted for such undertakings yet, nor has the adequate power required been made available to me to accomplish the goals. As I dig a little deeper, what I have discovered is the importance of consulting the Creator regarding all segments of my life, the major and the minor so I may obtain understanding of my role and discipline to stay in my lane. I have used laughter as a deflection to prevent the tears from flowing for how much time I wasted, planning with expectations, rather than seeking Him for direction to truly make sure I am on the path He designed exclusively for me. I am reminded of this phrase, ““If you want to make God laugh, just tell Him your plans. Plans with no purpose can be equated to faith without works, dead and of no value! #LURH

Believe for me…

As 2017 draws to a close, behind closed doors I begin the process of taking inventory of the investments of my time, my love, my talents, my money, in other words my life to see what has proven to be an asset and what I would consider a liability. I start off by simply reminiscing. Like most of us, my focus is directed towards the difficult and disappointing moments, mostly because, these are the areas where my most valuable lessons were learned. It is here, I am force to measure the condition of my heart and the level of my faith when life happens.

As I continue navigating through the various events, I place emphasis on my strengths and my weaknesses to gauge if visible growth has occurred. What I have discovered, my greatest struggle is my belief in God for my own abundant life, not in every area, just the ones that at times may require that I be unaided. Through my effortless actions, those internal conversations that creep up in my head to persuade me that this good thing can’t possible happen for me, exposes how I am contributing to the under minding of my future. No matter how well intent my motives, I have allowed circumstances to create distance between me fulfilling purpose. It baffles me at times, at the amount of time I have wasted, the person who is always willing to help create ladders of opportunities for others to reach their potential, I shake my head at truth. Yet, knowing, accepting and believing that God has put something great in me and for me, is surreal. As I attempt to muster up the same level of faith for myself as I share with those connected to me, I sigh and silently acknowledge that the struggle is indeed real. It’s almost funny the distractions the enemy will use to make you abort purpose.

Granted, it has taken years for me to totally comprehend this reality. As a result of my willingness to confront my fears, contamination can no longer affect my life. As I continue with the developmental process, understanding and doubt have found there relevant positions. I am no longer choosing to settle for safe, I am now pursuing with great expectations with the assurance of Philippians 1:6 6being confident of this, that He who began a good work in Lisa will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Not to mention, His word never returns void. #LURH

 

The “What Ifs”….

Flashes of my life after my recent 50th birthday made me more aware of the necessity of being true to my path. For far too long the conflicting strategy of “What Ifs” plagued my pre-fifty world LOL! I gave the “What Ifs” permission to reign, while simultaneously validating myself by believing “I’m being responsible by weighing the worst case probabilities.” In reality, my actions of entertaining the “What Ifs” is what it is, Lisa giving control to “FEAR” False Evidence Appearing Real rather than admitting I don’t really trust God 100% to give me the expected ending I desire most. By confronting the battles in my mind that frequently attempts to discourage me that God’s will for my life is unattainable, I now understand this is the pathway I must endure to achieve my anticipated ending. I have come to truly know and accept that the “What Ifs” of life are a waste of my time, a tactic that will never provide a profitable return on any investment. The “What Ifs” are mere “HYPE” obstacles that when unchecked threatens my faithfulness to my path leaving me in the position of jeopardizing all of God’s promises for me. I can’t do it! I must be faithful and trust that God is a promise keeper. He desires only the best life for me. Difficult life decisions do not negate this truth. I must voluntarily evict the “What Ifs!” Stay focus on the One that is able to do more than you or I could ever imagine. My anticipated ending is secured by my 100% commitment to trust in Him! #LURH