Thursday, May 21, 2020

The Danger of Silence, The Power in Love


The other day, while making a particularly important phone call, my three-year-old son, Caleb, asked me if he could climb up on my shoulders.  I was in mid-sentence with the person on the telephone, so I did not answer him. He asked me once more, and again, I did not answer him. In this instance, it was not resonating with Caleb that his dad and I had given him instruction on his behavior when we had to take a phone call.  We have told him more than once not to be loud or ask us anything while we are on the phone.  I am sure many parents can relate to this.  On this day, I had been on hold for what seemed like forever.  I had finally gotten through to a live person to handle some time-sensitive business.  The very moment I began speaking to the person on the other line is the exact moment Caleb began doing exactly what I had already told him not to do. He then looked up me with a smile on his face, speaking aloud, okay I can do it.  At that moment, I realized that my toddler took my silence or lack of response as permission to do something that I did not agree with.

As I have pondered instances like this over the past couple of weeks, I realized an important and valuable lesson:  there is a real and tangible danger in silence.  When witnessing social injustices, deliberate oppression, blatant racism, and the list can go on, silence can be perceived as approval and/or agreement.  In my opinion, many can be in such an individualistic mindset, that if a situation does not directly affect them, whether they agree or not, silence is the choice they make.  Others may be fearful or just despise confrontation, therefore, the choice of silence is made.

I am reminded when Jesus confronted wrongdoers, in a very stern and some may say aggressive way, when they were buying and selling in the temple.  Matthew 21:12-13 states:  Jesus went into the temple and threw out all those buying and selling.  He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the chairs of those selling doves.  He said to them, “It is written, my house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of thieves!”  From what I know and believe to be true, Jesus loves all people, yet he hates sin.  His actions and words were against the wrong that was being done.  He witnessed people turning God’s house into something that it was not meant to be, so he spoke out.
I have begun to think of how my sphere of influence through the years might have been affected if I was more vocal about my convictions about injustice, hate, etc.  As a follower of Christ, I have a deep longing to see others experience His love in their situations, communities, and even globally. 
Through my personal experience with my two sons, I have become their greatest advocate.  If anyone does or says something that is not in their best interest, it is my call to protect and defend them.  Though it does take a daily shifting in thought, my neighbor should receive the same courtesy.  The way I defend my neighbor versus my sons will look different, but it is still love in action.  I may offer prayer and/or material assistance, while using my voice in my sphere of influence to help bring about a change from wrong to right.

Currently, many are suffering due to no fault of their own.  There are mental health challenges because of the global pandemic, there is social unrest due to racially motivated crimes, and economic and financial challenges are reaching far and wide, even in the great United States of America.
My questions are:  What would it look like if those of us who say we are Christ followers become the solution the world is looking for?; What if we spoke out about injustice, while still loving those bound by hatred?; What if we used our word to eloquently speak the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the hope of seeing true conversion in the hearts of people?; What if we stopped placing the responsibility of solutions on others, and bear the burden ourselves?

Keep in mind, these are just my thoughts.  I really believe that God is all powerful.  I really believe that He hears our prayers.  I really believe that I have been endued with power by the Holy Spirit.  I really believe that LOVE never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8).

I wrote this blog just to provoke some thought.  I encourage you to look through the lens of love and act accordingly.  Let us have the hard conversations, with the resolve of love being the goal.  We have been silent long enough. Let us love, let us heal, and let us provoke change.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Moment of Transparency



A year ago, my husband and I made the decision for me to stay home with our children.  I was in unchartered territory.  Not only was my newly born, 4 months premature baby, fighting for his life in the NICU, but I was preparing for some major life changes as a mom.  Our older son Caleb turned two years old, five days after his younger brother unexpectedly arrived.  As parents, my husband and I were beginning a major faith building journey.  Difficult is an understatement as to how things would be for the foreseeable future.

As a mom, who had just experienced a traumatic birthing experience, I was emotionally and hormonally unstable.  The way my body was responding seemed to be completely out of my control.  I cried so much that I literally could not catch my breath on several occasions that first two weeks.  I was eventually diagnosed with postpartum depression, and my OB told me she would be concerned if I did not experience the symptoms, I was having with all that happened with the birth of my younger son, Isaiah.

I can honestly say that once Isaiah was in the NICU, I did not expect what would happen in the days ahead.  Our family was basically living at the hospital, and eventually, the Ronald McDonald House.  We are so grateful for everyone who encouraged us and gave to us during that time, but boy was it hard.  Trying to raise a two year old without living in his own home, trying to be there for your newborn who was fighting for his life ( and at one point we were told he was not going to live), my husband working and trying to be there for me and his sons, and then making the decision for me to stop working and stay home with our kids.  With the situation, it was a no brainer for me to come home, but I would be lying if I said I never questioned the decision or even longed to work at times.  Professionally, though my workdays could be difficult at times, it was highly rewarding when seeing such progress being made by the children I worked with.  I enjoyed creating behavioral plans, amending plans, and being a part of a team to help special needs children reach their fullest potential at school and within their communities. All of a sudden, I went from a working wife and mom, to staying “home,” yet not being home.  I wondered if I was being an effective parent and a supportive wife. 

Fast forward to recently.  Our son Isaiah turned one year old on the 19th of April and doing well.  Our son Caleb amazes us every day.  Last night right before I tucked him into bed, Caleb began asking me what he needed to do to be saved.  Now, just some background information for you, we have been teaching him scriptures, or memory verses as he calls them, since he could talk.  We include him in family prayer time and praise and worship, and he has always been in awe when watching his dad lead worship at church or on television.  When he started telling me that he wanted to be saved last night, I knew he understood by the way he was asking.  Immediately the scripture, do not let anyone despise your youth, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity (1 Timothy 4:12), came to mind.  Right there, in his bedroom floor, I was honored to lead my son in the prayer of salvation.  As I pondered on this momentous occasion all night, I cried happy tears, and God used this as confirmation to me that I am right where I need to be in this season.
God is faithful to His Word, and He hears our prayers.  My husband and I have been praying since Caleb was in my womb that our children would begin to serve the Lord at an early age.  I am still in awe of God and how my newly three-year-old son received salvation with understanding. 

As I close out this blog, I want to encourage anyone who might be re-thinking where they are in life, standing in faith for their children, or waiting for a prayer to be answered.  Know that God is faithful to His Word. It is my prayer that your faith does not fail and that He will give you the desires of your heart in due time.  I John 5:14-15 says, this is the confidence we have before him: If we ask anything according to His will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked of him. Be blessed, and I am excited to hear many testimonies of God’s goodness and faithfulness.





CODE BLUE

My family and I had gotten into a semi-normal routine.   Hospital during morning hours until after doctors rounded, back to the Ronald Mc...