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Monday, November 21, 2011

Black Sheep



As a child, I used to wonder why I was treated differently from the rest of the family. I used to wonder why, my brothers or my sisters had better clothes, received more love or better treatment and received better gifts at Christmas. I would wonder why my little brothers or sisters hardly every got punished for their mistakes and also why when I did something wrong I was punished more severely than the rest. As I grew older and got out on my own I used to wonder why I wasn't , invited to certain family events or functions. I wondered from a distance why, after I left that my brothers or sisters learned how to drive a car and latter got new cars. (Because as a teen, I never received that same type of treatment) I used to ask myself these many questions, am I so different or wrong to deserve this treatment? Why doesn't Mom or Dad love me like they love the rest? Why was Mom or Dad so mean too me? Are they concern or do they even care about my feelings? I remember countless nights either crying or praying asking God to explain to me why was I so different and why was I treated this way. After all this is my family, the people that are suppose to love me.
 
As I think back on my life  as a child  most of it is was like a blur and most of my childhood  wasn't very good. I remember the strange looks my father used to give me and also remember how much I was talked about when my mother had discussion with her family or friends. I also remember looking at my brothers and sisters wondering why some was so tall and others had color skin or hair so different from my own. My mother used to say this to me as a child when I did something wrong," I think the doctor made a mistake and I think I brought home the wrong child". There were times I wondered to myself, did she really mean it when she said those mean words or did she say these things because she was mad or upset with me? I know I wasn't a perfect child, as a matter of fact I was far from it, but neither was my brothers or sisters. We all gave our parents our share of problems and made many mistakes. But even while making mistakes I was punished more severely than my brothers or sisters. My father used to say the reasons why he was so hard on me and beat me so severely, was because I was the oldest, therefore I should set the example for the rest. At that time I had no choice but to except that explanation, because he was right and I was indeed the oldest. But boy did it hurt when he punished me for not only for mine but also my brothers or sisters' mistakes.
 
When I think about my father, I think about how intimidating he looked to me in fact I was very scared of him. Back in those days all men had big hand, big shoulders and had a look that would scare any child. When growing up in the seventies, it was common for men to be hard on their boys and I credit my father for molding me into the man I am today. It wasn't until I was forty years old did I find out that the man that raised me and the man I thought was my father, wasn't really my real father.When I first heard about this I wasn't prepared to deal with it, because at that time I was dealing with more pressing issues. But after time and after my life settled down, I was able to think more about my past as a child. After I let the thought of the man that raised me soak in,then I realized that it was really a fact that he wasn't my father. One thought or question came to mind, Why did my mother keep this a secret and why did they lie? If you never been in my position its hard to explain how it feels to be different, not loved or appreciated in your own family. The days which turn into weeks, then latter into months and years of rejection is a very humbling experience. Those experiences, combined with divorce, death in your family and a loss of a good paying job in a bad economy would try anybody patience.

 Though it all I am very grateful too God, that those bad experiences didn't ruin or destroy me. Instead they only made me more  patient ,stronger, determine and faithful to God. Because in the end he was the only one I truly could depend on. Sometimes when we seek a parents or a persons love we forget that Gods love is everlasting. God our Father in Heaven is the best parent, best friend and his love for us last forever. He will never forsake us, never leave us and even when we sin he is always willing to forgive us. God will never make his children feel like outcast or black sheep. That's why I love him so much and grateful that he allowed me to suffer, so that I may appreciate his love and his grace.

When I was younger I used to love watching television shows like, The Cosby Show, Sanford and Son, Good Times and others, because in each of them they had very strong families values. In each of these shows these families had their share of trials, tribulations, drama and pain. In some of the shows some of the families had to over come death, drugs or other family issues. But through it all they all stuck together, never turned their back on their family members and weathered every storm together. They never forgot one very important fact, that they were family. Each of these people in their families had a unconditional love that missing in the world today. I used to envy those people in those television shows, because in each of  those families, it had the type of  love that was and is now missing in my own family.
 
When you think about the word family, many things should come to mind. You may think of the words , loving, caring, patient or supportive .  In the  Webster Dictionary, the definition for family,( is  a social unit consisting of one or more adults together with the children they care for.) But in reality in  every family there is a favorite and  also there is an out cast or a black sheep. Why you may ask? Well the world we live in now, many men or women will meet someone who already has a child or like my grandmother, would say," A ready made family".  Many people have the thoughts or dreams of having the perfect family, one that's full of love, support and a bond that would  last for a  lifetime. But in the imperfect world we live in, there will always be favorites, there will be some that get more love or attention then their brothers or sisters'. Its sad to say but our parents did have their favorites and if we are not careful  as parents ,we too can carry on this very hurtful  curse or tradition. That's a scar most of us outcast or black sheep's of the family have for a life time. For some it may effect them emotionally forever. Some never get over their past hurts, their parents abuses or their parents mistakes. I have know or have known  many of my friends that are still hunted by their childhood memories. In some of my friends lives their past, has hurt, stunted their growth, affected them emotionally or affected  them in their current relationships and their rearing of their own children.
 
 With the help of God , I learned from my parents mistakes, by vowing  to be a better parent, by  always telling  the truth to my children or to the children that I am helping raise no matter what it is.  If I happen too meet someone who already has children, I would always be careful not to deceive them. I have learned that every child has the right to know who is their real father or mother. Keeping it a secret or telling them lies to cover up a past sin, should never be an option. My advice too anyone who are dating or considering getting involved with someone who already has children. Love them like you would your own children, treat them with respect and never let them feel like an outsider or a black sheep of the family. After all they are only children and they didn't ask to be here. That's why as adults or responsible parents we have the obligation too  treat all children with the love and respect due to all children. As children, most of us look up to our parents as symbols of perfection.

 When I visualized both my mother or my father, I looked at them as people that could do no wrong. So when I sin, made a mistake or lied, I felt shamed and embarrassed. At times when I made a mistake my parents constantly scolded me and reminded me why it was so important not to sin or lie. Now that I have grown into an adult , I wonder why my parents didn't hold themselves accountable to the same rules or beliefs that they taught me as a child. I was asked very recently, was I mad or bitter because of what I went through or because of my parents mistakes. After some careful thought, I told the person asking me, that everything I went through in my life could have taken me in many different directions some bad and others good. I have had my share of trials, tribulations, rejection, hurt and pain. But some how through it all I remain, humble  from my experiences. I am not (Thanks to God) a person that lives in the past. Its not that I don't remember what I been through, I instead learn from it and use it as motivation to be a better person or a better man. I really feel that God allows all of us to go through different things or experience different types of situations to help us grow stronger. Now that I know that I am a child of God, I am both thankful and grateful that God chose me to go through all those situations. Why? Well from my experiences I can tell others, about my true life testimony. Maybe through my pain or suffering I can help others and in the process save a couple of souls. Maybe if people could see what Gods love and his light can do to a person considered to be an outcast or a black sheep of his own family, then through me they can witness the true glory of God. Then they too would know that Gods love, Gods light and Gods forgiveness is the best a man or a woman could get or receive. My grandmother had a famous saying, "What's done  in the dark shall come too light". Which means the truth will come to light and what has been done in the past will be revealed in the future .
Have a blessed day,
Charles
Jeremiah 33:3 Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.'

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mind Over Matter

I remember as a youth, when I would come home with my report card , how I used to fear both my father and my mother. The reason for this fear is because, if I happen too have a bad grade on it, then I would be severely punished. My siblings and I grew up in a home where failure wasn't an option. Like my father would put it, being a failure doesn't apply to the family name and in fact it was an embarrassment to fail. I remember one day after nine weeks of school, I came home with an report card with two failing grades on it. When I walked into the door I could see, my mother standing there washing dishes. Then she turned around and said , "Son how was school today"? From the look in her eyes, I thought that she already knew how my day went and also knew what type of grades I had on my report card. My mother had a way, that's hard to explain. She could look at a person with her big old eyes that could stare into a persons soul and she had this ability to reads minds. It was impossible to lie to her, but that didn't stop me from trying. (smile) I remember answering my mother by saying, "It went okay, momma".

Then she looked at me with those big old eyes then said, "Well did you get your report card today"? I thought about lying, but I was already in trouble with the two bad grades on my report card. So I told her yes I have my report card. After looking at my report card , I could tell that my mother was angry and very disappointed in me. She looked at me ,then said," Chucky, explain to me why you have these bad grades and don't lie too me"! I said well momma, I just can't do it and I am not smart enough. Geometry and Calculus is just too hard for me. When I said this I thought my mother would hit the roof and boy was I scared! But for some strange reason she didn't react the way I expected her too. I thought I was going to get a whipping, but instead my mother surprised me, by explaining to me that what I thought was hard wasn't really hard at all. She then went on to say, Son there is nothing in this world you can't do, if you just apply yourself, believe in yourself and have faith. When I had this confused look on my face, she said something even more confusing. Son its mind over matter. I looked at my mother and said," Momma what do you mean by that statement"? Then she smile and said," Well its simple, if you believe you are a failure, then therefore you will be a failure. But if you believe you are intelligent, smart and  successful then you will be. Son before you can do anything you have to first believe that you can. You must have confidence in yourself. You also have to speak and think things into existence. She went on to say, Son your father and I believe in you, we know you are very capable of doing and achieving anything you set your mind too. That's why I said mind over matter. Because when you are presented with a challenge, if you used your mind that God has blessed you with then the problems you may face will not matter. Why? Well if you use your mind, then you can think things out, learn from your mistakes and solve the problem. So go to school tomorrow ask your teacher questions, then learn geometry and calculus. Because if you can over come the tests, the trials or tribulations that you face in school today, then you will be able to handle the problems of the world tomorrow. Use your mind son! Because if you use your mind then the rest shouldn't  matter. Its very simple its just, Mind Over Matter.
Have a blessed day,
Charles

 Proverbs 28:26 He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.





Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What Do You Do When Your Children Turn The Other Way


As I think of my early days as a father, I never really understood what it meant to be a single parent. The reason for this is because my first child( my daughter) was raised by my mother. I thank God everyday for both my mother and my father, because at that point in my life, I wasn't mature or grounded  enough to be a good parent. Some of us make the simple mistake, by having a sexual relationship with someone without understanding the consequences. My father often used to preach to me and my brothers about the consequences of having unprotected sex. But as most immature young men do, I did what I thought felt good or right , without thinking about consequences for my actions. I paid the price and so did my children . Me not being there to help raise , then mold them and  my children not having the opportunity to be with their real father. Being raise by their single mother, with many different male role models in their face which left them both dazed and confused. After making that of many  mistakes, I vowed to myself that if God blessed me with the opportunity to have another child, I would raise him or her myself.   It wasn't until latter in life  that I got blessed with the opportunity to raise my son. When I first got the opportunity, it was kind of a shock and I wasn't prepared. At that time my son was ten and had been raised by his mother. But as life always does, it presents you with different challenges and opportunities when you may least expect it.
It was hard at first for us both, having to adjust too each other. My son having to adjust too a father that help raise him from a distance and myself, going from being a bachelor too a single parent. Even though I often prayed for the opportunity to raise my son, because I felt that I could do a good job, I really didn't know what I was getting myself into. I didn't really understand  the sacrifices' that would be made raising a child. Now my many days  as a single bachelor has now come to end. I laugh at it now because in my years past , I used to date single women who were parents and never really understood what they went through. Or why they were so  careful not to introduce me to their children until they felt it was safe to do so . Now that I am a single parent I now understand their reasons for being so careful , because the world we live in today is so dangerous, especially for our children. There are some adults out there that would prey on our children, just as wolves would attack their prey. Its sad to say this, "But we as parents have to be careful who we leave our children with". We also have to watch , then  pay attention to our surroundings and make  sure our children are being raised in the proper environment. Now like the women I dated in my past , I have to screen or watch  who I get involved with and I also have to be careful who I date. Because not everyone knows or  understands the plight of a single parent or what we single parents have too  go through while raising our children. They don't understand the pain or the  sacrifices. Or even what we single parents, have to give up or what we have to stop doing while being a single parent. As a parent we are not only representing ourselves, but also our children. what most don't  understand is  that our time is very limited and most of our time is used to rear and care for  our children. Anything else is secondary and our child or  children always comes first.
What I have found to be amazing is the little tolerance women these days, have for a single father. You would think that women would love or embrace a man that's willing to raise, then care for his own children , but what I have found to be true is  the total opposite. When I was blessed with the chance to raise my son, at this time I was married. I thought too myself, that this was the perfect situation for me and my son. My ex-wife at the time had a son of her own and I treated him like my son, in fact better. Because my son at that time never had the pleasure to wake up and see his father. But what later that  both shocked and amazed me, was my ex wife. She didn't  want my son to live with us and that caused problems for our marriage. I know some may think after reading this, Wow! That's kind of of selfish isn't it? I thought the same thing too. But later I realized that my ex-wife wasn't the woman God chose for me. I made that choice myself and like my late grandmother would always say," When man makes choices he always makes mistakes, but when God chooses its always right".
 
So now I am a single parent, going on seven years strong. Is it an easy job being a parent? No its not, because everyday presents a challenge. Being a parent you have to care for them while they are sick and even while they are well you have to be there to support them emotionally. You have to be there to hear their thoughts and always have to challenge your young children to use their minds to become something better or great. Being a single parent I had to realize that its not good to have a child that's overly dependent on you, because it will stunt their growth. As a parent you want them to grow up too be strong young men and independent young women. So you do your best to make sure your child or children have everything they may need to help them become a success and then they disappoint you. Some after reading this may say, Wow! After all of that your child or children has the capabilities to disappoint you or make mistakes? To that I will say yes, they are capable of doing some thing's that will amaze you. Some of those things will bring you to tears. Yes, some children; lie, steal and cheat. But the real challenge to being a parent is when your children turn into something you didn't raise them to be. After years of hard work your child or my child can turn into something ugly  or into someone you don't care for. So tell me, what do you do when your child or children turn the other way? What do we do when they become criminals, murderers or thieves? What do we do when our children have, then embrace lifestyles that we are uncomfortable with? What do we do when our children expect us to adjust to their lifestyles and want us to change to suite them? To those who may say this will not ever happen to me and my children will be perfect . I have this to say, it is very possible that your children could grow up to be little or big monsters, if you are not careful. Even if you raise your children in a perfect way, its very possible that your children will go astray. Then you will say, " Oh God what do we when our children go astray"? Well in some cases or most all we can do is pray.
Have a blessed evening,
Charles
Psalm 78:4 We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

When Two Become One


There is an old church saying "Two unequally yoked people won't have a happy marriage". Another saying is, If chose to you marry, then make sure you marry someone that is your equal or someone that brings something too the table. In other words, if the person you are seeking to marry has nothing to offer you or has nothing to offer the marriage then you should think about it very carefully. But a saying that I really loves comes from my late grandmother( Latisha Raby ). She would say," When one enters into a marriage, they can't go into it thinking selfishly, because it takes two to make it and when you marry too become one". In other words the person or persons  you were before the marriage has to change. When I asked her to explain this statement too me she would say," Son people of the world and even some in the church don't know or even understand the  meaning of the word  marriage . When people in the church  talk, they talk about being equally yoked and when  people of the world talk, they always talk  about bring something too the table, like money or a career. What these people don't realize is that none of that matters and those sayings have little effect on a marriage. Being equally yoke  or having a man or woman with something to offer the other, doesn't guarantee marriage survival. She would go on to say ," Baby it takes more than that and the  people that are thinking about marriage or even those that are in marriage need to figure out how to become one, before thinking about being the one". What my grandmother meant was, when people get married they become the combination of two different lifestyles, cultures  or two different  of ways of living and thinking.

 The man or the woman will  have different views on life, religion and family. Where the problem comes is when the two have to change their ways in order to become one . There are a lot of people that want to marry, but many don't want to make the necessary changes to make the marriage work. Some people don't want to give up who they were before they become married. What I found is in women, which is a very disturbing trend that most women these days, don't even want to change their last names. It used to be in years past that it was an honor to take a mans last name. But now in today's society, women want the man to either embrace their last name or compromise, our fore fathers principles . Also I don't think that most Preachers, Pastors or Priest teach their followers or believers that marriage is a covenant between man and God.

  In the Bible it speaks about forsaking your parents in order to make the marriage work. I am going to take this a little step further, by saying in some cases some may  also have to forsake their friends in order to make the marriage work. Why would I make this statement? Well I have known many of friends that have destroyed many of marriages'. Sometimes having a noisy friend that is either unhappy with their spouse or having a friend that is single with no spouse of their own can harm a marriage. The old saying is misery loves company. If you lived long enough you would know their are people out there,(Even our friends or family) that are not happy unless someone else shares their own plight. As I gather my thoughts I can't help but too think about my wise late grandmothers famous sayings or words. The things we want the most(Love, family or success) are the things we tend to want now or rush into. If we used our brains or the minds that God has blessed us with, then we would know the things we want now take time and require patients . Nothing in life that is of value should be rushed. It should be carefully planned and prayed on too have the blessing from God. Because if its rushed then it will fail, but if you have patients then you will soon realize that good things really come to those who wait.

A lot of single men or women have lifestyles that would crush any marriage.  There are a lot of habits many of us have that can harm a marriage that should be done away with before the marriage begins.( Like clubbing, staying out late, doing drugs,over drinking, gambling and having many sexual affairs). The basic fact is that some men or women never grow up and refuse to change. To those who don't realize it, I have this to say, Even though you might not want to grow older, you will and don't have a choice when it comes to arguing. The simple fact we all must realize when seeking a spouse or mate, is that we all have somethings in our past or in our current situation that we need to stop in order to make the relationship or marriage grow. I know some that may read this may say, Well he or she met me this way, why should I have to change? Or others may say I have been this way most of my life and its impossible to change. To those who may feel this way, I say if you love, honor and obey God then you should change. For even when it comes to being saved one must forsake or give up the ways of the world in order to go to Heaven. For it is written those who love the world, hate God and  will have no place in Heaven. So even becoming one with Christ requires change. God made men and women different from all of his creations. We were made in his image and design for a special purpose.
Have a blessed day,
Charles


Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

Ephesians 5:28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

Ephesians 5:33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.