I grew up in a not-so-well-off neighborhood. I grew up in a trailor at the end of a dead end street. Most people would assume that I was “trailor-trash” or rather “white-trash”, or maybe just a “Redneck”. Regardless that was my life. I grew up with country music, NASCAR, and ____ (anything else that would fit the sterotype). I grew up in proverty. I grew up not knowing what was for dinner and even if the oven was working that day. My mom played it off as so we did not know. I grew up with male figures in my life who were not there and if they were treated the women as beneath them and treated them more as slaves. I grew up with a mom who loved me with all her heart, and had battle wounds to show it. I grew up with three other siblings battling the same things as I did, we were battling trying to find ourselves in a mist of utter confusion and chaos.
The kicker in all this, I also grew up in a racist strickened family, both my mothers and my fathers side. Ones who confess themselves as Christians, but refuse to worship with, to work with and even associate themselves with a person of a different color skin. I grew up with people telling me that I should not move off the sidewalk and I should stand my path if a black person walked by. I was to never go out of my way for them, never. I was even told “horror” stories of things that happened in my parents or their friends past so that I would be scared not to hang out with or associate with the black community. As a child I believed and listened to them. But as blinders of childhood began to ware off my life changed. There are many whose lives were just like mine.
We were both poor. We were poor not just in the finance department but poor in love, in spirit, in community, in faith and even hope. I felt like I could not better myself because I was born into a definition. I felt like I could amount to nothing because that’s all I was. I failed a grade and got put in special education classes because I felt unworthy, dumb, ignorant, beaten, and depressed. I did not do well in school because I didn’t think my life mattered.
There are so many people who go through this, regardless of the color skin. We have people in Baltimore who are told they will not succeed because of where they were born. We have people who think they are defined by their social economic status, race, neighborhood, their family, all of which they were born into. Listen, it doesn’t matter where you come from.
God is the only one who has the right to define you because He the only one who knows everything about you. He loves you, He cares about you. He even came down in human form to die and suffer for your sins on a cross.
It doesn’t matter your background or race, we all sin and Jesus still died for you and your sins. His blood covers both our sins. We must confess our sins and repent them. We also must put our hope and our faith in Jesus. Let not this world define us. Because this world is not our home.
I will stand with and defend any person who believes in, has hope in, and their faith is in Christ our Lord. I will also defend and stand with the hopeless because I was there. I will also stand and defend any person who is struggling to make ends meet, to feed their families, because I was there. I am here to stand with anyone who is lost.
Are you a straggler? I was.
Everyone knows the Old Testament stories of the parting of the seas. But what people don’t know, is there were people who were full of fear, full of anxiety. They didn’t expect God to move for them. They were the stragglers.
I used to sit the side lines of life and waiting for God to call my name that it was my turn. I saw God moving abundantly in other people’s lives. I never felt good enough. I never felt that God was going to move in my life. That I was unworthy of God. I stopped belittling myself. I stop thinking that I wasn’t worthy. Because I am.
So are you. You are worthy of everything. If you see God moving in others life, stop filling yourself with fear. It is written in Deuteronomy 31:6 – “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” God will never foresake you. If he can move in other people’s lives, He can move in yours.
God will and can move through you. But it is up to you. You are either full of fear of God not coming through, maybe because He did not come through in the past. If you want something, does not mean God wants you to have it or to do it. Don’t take your past and try to say God did not come through, because He has. He has always been there, and He will continue to be there, He will not abandon you.
So it is up to you to decide if you are going to be the straggler or will you have enough confindence in the Lord, will you have enough faith in the Heavenly Father to trust that He knows what He is doing. Let go of control. Stop holding up the walls you refuse to let down and breaks the chains of your past and trust in the Lord.
Don’t be the straggler awaiting for something to happen. Be the faithful one and walk with the Lord not by fear but by confindence.
Hope. What is it exactly. Do we have it? Do you have it? If we do not have hope are we searching for it in the right place?
In America we tend to put our hope in our “next big thing”. We are hoping that this next thing will solve or fix our problems. Whether it be a relationship, marriage, a child. It could also be a new job, money, it could be anything that we are banking our hope on to find happiness.
However, when these material things, these none permanent, perishable things are no longer, what do we do?Typically we focus on the thing to come in our lives. Yes, this could provide a lite bit of happiness, but it will perish and the happiness will just be for a season. This then becomes a never ending cycle, always looking and hoping toward the next thing to come our way. What we don’t realize is, is we have been hoping and banking on the wrong thing this entire time.
God is hope. He is our rock, He is our foundation. If we put our faith just on the surface of the soil, we will only last so long. Puting our hope in meaningless things to fix our problems, will just break us on a daily basis. That hope will not last, BUT God makes hope last. He gives us an eternal hope, a hope that will no break, it will never disappoint. He provided this through His son, Jesus Christ.
We must anchor our hope in the Rock. In Jesus because without him, we are simply nothing. But with Him we are free. We are covered by grace and God’s mercy .