BLACK MAN BLOG
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Hope Series: How God Taught Me Hope (Pt. 1)
On June 28, 2010, I was awakened at 4:47am by the slamming of the bathroom door. As I lay there, I overhead my son sniffling and immediately my heart sank; so I prayed. When I went to him, he was on his side, with his hands cupped under his cheeks, looking heartbroken. In that moment, I remembered how the day before while cleaning his room, I ran across some poetry he’d written and in it he described how hurt he was. While he lay there, the Holy Spirit, through me, ministered to my son. I gave him his Bible and opened it and noticed he’d already begun to read it because he’d dated it the day before. In that moment I thought, ‘Wow! How quickly God works!’
That same morning, the Spirit of the Lord gave me 4 verses of scriptures to stand on for my son; Romans 5:3-5, Romans 15:13, Hebrews 11:1, and Romans 8:24, 25. After I read each scripture, I didn’t know the Lord was giving me something to live off of for the next few years.
My purpose for sharing my story in this series is that if you know someone who has adult children who seem stuck, unfulfilled, not serving God the way they should, or seem to not be living the life you envisioned, I pray my story, of how God is yet working in both me and my 22-year-old son empowers and equips you to know that there is hope. Enjoy!
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Hope Series: Pressured Between Wrong Choices (Pt. 2)
When I began to study the scriptures the Spirit of the Lord gave me, the first was Romans 5:3-5, ‘And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.’
What my son and I had been experiencing was pure tribulation. Without writing my autobiography, by June of 2010, both my son and I were unemployed and living in a rat, bug, termite, and wasp infested home. We couldn’t afford to pay for gas, so we boiled water in the microwave to take baths and cooked our meals on a hot plate. By this time, we’d been living like this for almost 2 years so this particular night I knew my son had to at a breaking point.
I know some of you may be thinking, why didn’t y’all get jobs? Good question, but before you begin to judge, hear me out. My son was frustrated because though he’d grown up in the hood, I’d raised him differently. Though we lived in the hood, we didn’t think like the hood. So now that he was 20 years old and while most young men his age were trapping, banging, hustling, or living with their baby’s momma on her section 8; neither of those appealed or applied to my son. Because we’d made poor decisions, he’d dropped out of school, gotten into trouble and was now on probation – not drug or gang related. (That’s a different issue!)
But putting this in perspective, we were living in this house under those conditions - all while he was trying to be a man, in the absence of a father, without any male family members, positive male role models or friends. Now you can better understand his tribulation.
The word tribulation means ‘to be crowded or pressured.’ The situation had begun to crowd him; so much so, that there was an unusual amount of pressure. Peer pressure in that some would question why he wouldn’t trap or bang; especially since he didn’t have any money. The situation was attempting to pressure him into making a decision between several wrong choices; trap, bang, hustle or pimp.
Perhaps your sons are faced with the same pressures and because of where they’ve grown up, they too are being pressured to choose between a host of wrong choices. Maybe they’ve dropped out of school, made some mistakes, but are still trying to do the right thing in the face of so much wrong. The Word of God says, ‘And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance’. That tribulation, crowding and pressure our sons are experiencing is producing perseverance; both in them and in us, but know this - our sons are not alone, God is with them and there is hope.
Hope Series: A Mother's Failures (Pt. 3)
I wanted to know what tribulation and perseverance had to do with my son’s situation, so the Spirit of the Lord directed my attention to the last part of the scripture, ‘Now hope does not disappoint.’ God was letting me know that I first had to hope! Hope in Greek means ‘to anticipate with pleasure, expectation, or confidence.’ Therefore, while my son was being pressured into choosing between four wrong choices - trap, bang, pimp, or hustle - I had to anticipate with pleasure, be confident, and expect that God would work that thang out. But I knew that I couldn’t do it on my own because I was going through my own set of circumstances.
You see when I was a baby Christian, I tried to be super spiritual. As a result, I opened myself up to a lot of things, that for time sake, I now know were spiritual, but they weren’t of God. My son had to watch as I went from being jazzy and making $50k a year to becoming a homeless, pony-tail-wearing bus rider. Therefore, his perception of God and what God could do meant absolutely nothing to him; simply because of my spiritual failures.
Mothers, perhaps you too have some spiritual failures that may have inadvertently caused your sons to want nothing to do with God. But know that God will forgive you and that He will protect your sons – even through your messes. This same hope we are learning about in these issues works not only for our sons, but for ourselves.
Pray this with me; Heavenly Father, please forgive me for trying to be super spiritual. Please forgive me when I yielded my spirit to ungodly forces and caused havoc in my spirit and in the life of my children. Lord I ask You to help me be the Christian You created me to be and as You do, I ask that You would protect my children and help them to love You the way You intended. In Jesus’ name.
Hope Series: Mothers You Will Not Be Disappointed (Pt 4)
Once I was convinced that I was to hope, I then found out that I would not be disappointed. The Hebraic definition for disappoint means ‘to break up, violate, frustrate, cause to cease, make of none effect.’ What the Word is saying is that I would not be frustrated and that my confident expectation of what God was doing for my son would come to pass.
Romans 15:13 says, ‘Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.’ The God of hope that does not disappoint has a set time for my son’s deliverance and success. He has filled me with all joy and peace in believing that my son’s season will come, without fail and that He has reached my son and is helping him. As He does, I am to abound in hope, anticipating with pleasure, expectation and confidence knowing that God does not disappoint. That the time appointed for my son will come without delay.
God knew that in and of myself I couldn’t have hope; so He gave me the Holy Spirit. And by the power of the Holy Spirit I can be joyful and have peace - even though my son may not be acting or living like he should.
I’m not hoping like ‘I hope I win the lottery’ – no that’s man’s way of hoping. My hope is not in what my son does, but my hope is in what the God of hope has done! I know I won’t be disappointed and that my son will not be dis-appointed; in that his appointed time will come.
Mothers, though your sons are grown, know that the God of hope will not disappoint you and know that our sons will not be dis-appointed. There is an appointed time for them to live the life God has for them. It’s up to us, as mothers, to keep hoping, keep anticipating with pleasure, being confident, and expecting God to change them into the men they are destined to become. Grown or not, our babies will always need the love and prayers of a mother. Don’t give up woman of God and know that I’m believing with you.
Pray this with me: Lord, I thank You for that You are working in my son regardless as to what he may or may not be doing now. Lord I ask You to teach me how to hope. Heavenly Father, teach me how not to be moved by time. Your Word says 1,000 years is as a day to You; so even though my son is an adult, You’re not moved by his age and neither am I. In Jesus’ name. So be it.
Hope Series: Handicapping Our Sons (Pt 5)
My question for the mothers, is ‘What exactly are you hoping for your sons?’
I ask this because many times, as mothers, we want what we want for our sons – regardless as to what our sons want for themselves. We think we know what’s best – even for our adult sons and as a result, we attempt to become the Holy Spirit’s personal assistant; trying to manipulate them into doing what we want. I know this first-hand because it was only after the Lord gave me those scriptures to stand on, (see Issue 1) that God began to chastise and show me that not only had my spiritual mistakes gotten in His way, but how what I wanted for my son’s life, had prohibited Him from giving my son what He wanted.
As the months went by, the Spirit of the Lord let me know that I had to stop doing some things for my son and that it was time to let him be a man. But as a single parent, who’d made so many mistakes, the things I was doing I did out of guilt so I really struggled with letting him do for himself.
After a while, I finally realized that my guilt had handicapped my son’s ability to think and do for himself. What the Lord was so graciously letting me know was that He’d forgiven me for getting in His way and was preparing to make my son the man He wanted – if only I’d get out the way.
Mothers, maybe you, like me, have handicapped your son’s ability to think and do for themselves because of your mistakes. The Word of the Lord for you today is that you are forgiven. He knows you did the best with what you had, but its time to let our sons go. No, not kick them out; but it’s time that we get out of their way and quite honestly that feels a lot like letting go.
I started this issue by asking you what are you hoping for your sons? What are anticipating with pleasure and are confident that God will do for them? My recommendation - keep it simple and just ask God to make them into the man that He created them to be – nothing more, nothing less.
Pray this with me: Heavenly Father, please forgive me for getting in Your way and not teaching my son how to be a man because of my guilt. I am so grateful that You've forgiven me for my failures and as such, Lord, I thank You for making my son into the man You created him to be. In Jesus' name. So be it.
Hope Series: S-Mothering Our Sons! (Pt. 6)
As I stated in the last issue, when I finally realized I was getting in God’s way of making my son into the man He wanted, I was able to see exactly what I shouldn’t be doing.
I had to stop cleaning his room, washing his clothes, and even cooking for him. He had to learn to do those things for himself. It didn’t happen overnight. I started small by not cleaning his room. That was a big one for me because I have to have a clean house so for a while, I’d disobey the Lord and use the excuse, ‘Well, I’ll clean his room because I don’t want my house dirty!’ Big mistake – don’t do it! If it’s dirty, leave it!
I’d use the same excuse when I washed; I’d say, ‘Well, if I don’t wash his clothes with mine, I won’t have a full load and I don’t want to waste money!’ Yeah right! If he wants to walk around in front of those chic’s he’s trying to pull with dirty draws (excuse me, underwear) because he’s waiting on you to wash them – let him!
I don’t buy cigarettes or give him money and trust me this is huge because he’s my only child; so telling him no is like refusing an offer from the mob! But like I said, it didn’t happen overnight but after almost three years later, I’m seeing the fruit and God’s work in his life.
Mothers, just by not doing the simple things, you’ll help your sons. My son doesn’t have children so maybe for you, you can say no sometimes to babysitting your grand babies when he wants to hit the streets. Whatever it is, know that you’ve got to get of their way in order not to get God’s! Start small, but know that the little you do, the Lord will honor in your son.
Take the 7 Day MLSBM Challenge! The MLSBM Challenge is the ‘Mothers Letting Sons Be Men Challenge.’ In this challenge, for the next 7 days, you will be asked not to do a particular activity for your adult sons; be it babysitting, giving him money, or washing his clothes. For the next 7days, post your progress daily in the comments section or on twitter using #MLSBM and let us know what you did!
But until then, pray this with me...
Heavenly Father, please help me to say no to my son. Show me Lord where I’ve gotten in Your way and as You do, by Your grace, I’ll get out and stay out of Your way. In Jesus’ name.