Help Me! – An Ode to Black Men

Can you hear my brain screaming?
I’m yelling out for you.

From the slums and the struggle
To the grind and the hustle.
I’m just trying to make it my baby.

I dreamed I would never be here
Reality is, I’m here,
And I don’t like it.

Have you ever felt what it’s like to carry a legacy with no hope?

It’s weighted on me
I know you’re waiting for me,
But I got this vest on.

And it’s too heavy to carry by myself
So I’m alone trying to push.
Where you at?

Can you see my heart beating?
I know you are looking
You should have noticed by now.

Here I am, with regrets on my heart.

I’m guilty. I should have reached out, and I didn’t. For whatever reason, I thought you would push through, but you didn’t. You got out and the way you went out, you thought it was the best way for you. I wish I could have dialed your number to say; there’s a better way!

I wish you could see all the love that’s here for you. We cry for you. Life isn’t easier without you here. We’re thinking through the memories, wondering if there was something we could have done. An extra phone call, take you out eat, listen to every single burden that weighed on your heart.

But we didn’t.

……..

It is time we have a conversation about our mental health with someone professional.

If you are reading this and you have a struggle that is on your heart, if your soul is torn, if your mind feels dark, family, please do not continue in your struggle alone. There is someone in your life that cares. Seriously!! You don’t have to suffer by yourself.

I have thought at times in my life, that it is just me, that’s faced with tough situations. That I was the only one in mental darkness and no one would understand. This is a lie! I’m not alone and neither are you alone! There is someone that has walked through what you are faced with right now. For real!

There is someone you can begin to trust to share every single dark thought and struggle you’ve encountered.

I’m here for you family. It is time we get the help we need! I know there hasn’t been much conversation in the black community about seeking counseling and healing mental struggles, but the time for health is now. I spent the last two years in counseling. I will forever be an advocate to erase the stigma of mental health in the black community because what we’ve seen and experienced in the black community is not normal.

Many of us are scarred and as we face our scars, we will see each one tells a story; a story of redemption and hope.

Everyone needs professional help.

Hear me when I say this, trauma sucks, and it is hard to talk about because we have to relive the moments that traumatized us, but man did I need to let out every single struggle, traumatic event and secret I had hidden in my heart. I am a better husband, leader, son, friend and brother because of the hard work that I put in. You can do this too!

There isn’t a single thing that I have experienced in my 32 years of living that I have not talked about. It’s your turn now!

I am here to walk you through the process. I am here to pray alongside you. I am here to answer any questions you may have. Yes, it is scary. Yes, you may not want to talk about it. But trust me it is so necessary! I’ve been there with every single question you are wrestling through right now about counseling. It’s worth it. You are worth it! If you do nothing else for yourself, please do this!

HEAR THIS FAMILY:

Your life matters! We are better with you in it! You don’t have to give up. I know this feels like the best option, but trust me, it is not. You and I, with the grace of God, can work through anything we are faced with today. There is a God that wants to see us heal and become the people that He has designed us to be! No lie, He wants us to thrive here on earth making a difference in the lives of others. We got this family!

You matter! There is help available for you to overcome whatever you are facing. I trust this. I’ve worked through my hardships and continue to do so. You can work through yours.

If you need help, I can help point you in the right direction. Don’t give up! Please!

You don’t have to run from the conversation. You can run to the conversation!

MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES:

Counseling that has helped me heal:

http://www.gracelifeinternational.com/
https://bareitercc.com/

Messages on mental health that have helped me heal:

https://transformationchurch.tc/connect/care/mentalhealth/

Books that have helped me heal:

• Grace for the Afflicted – Matthew S. Stanford
• Your Body Keeps the Score – Bessel van der Kolk
• Grace Walk – Steve McVey
• Emotional Healthy Spirituality – Pete Scazerro
• Wounded Healer – Henri Nouwen
• Life of the Beloved – Henri Nouwen
• Emotionally Healthy Leader – Pete Scazerro
• Hero – Derwin Gray
• Grace is Greater – Kyle Idleman
• Search for Significance – Robert McGee
• Leading on Empty – Wayne Cordeiro
• It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way – Lysa Terkeurst
• Kill the Spider – Carlos Whittaker

Unmet Expectations

Originally posted as a guest post on Andrew Voigt’s blog

Unmet expectations are at the core of our frustrations. If you are anything like me, I’m sure you have a list of standards and expectations that you expect to live out and accomplish. What if I were to tell you that the standards and expectations you and I set for ourselves will never be lived up to?

A great question you and I can ask: What are some standards and expectations that I set for myself that I need to let go? (Consider writing each of them down in a journal).

The year was 2010. Two people that I deeply trusted hurt me. These two people were some of my closest friends. Not only did I share my life with them, but we all shared life experiences together. After selfish decisions, manipulation, lying, not holding on to friendship, and practicing good ethics, we all fell out. In other words, trust was broken, which left me broken. I remember saying to myself, “I don’t think I will ever be able to trust people again.”  Continue reading

Brotherhood

Growing up in the inner city of Ypsilanti, MI there was something about finding friends in the neighborhood. I can remember moving to a new neighborhood, getting on a bike, riding down the street anxious to see what kids were on my block. This is how I’ve found many of my friends that I call my brothers today.

Brotherhood, is a component of being in community. Brotherhood means to connect with other human beings and share in relations with one another. For me, brotherhood is something I cherish. During life’s most challenging moments I know for certain I can reach out to one of my boys and they would be there to support and encourage.  Continue reading

Erase the Stigma of Mental Illness

Majority of minorities/people of color have been taught since a young age to suppress feelings, to fight through, to not talk about struggles and trauma which has led to many turning to substances, drinking, sex, money, etc…

For many of us who grew up in the hood/lower economic areas we didn’t have resources nor the mindset to turn to professional help. There was a silent hush of you do not tell people your problems and let others know what was going on inside the home. Continue reading

Desire the Greater Gifts!

I believe the gifts God has given us is exactly what we need. What happens when we look outward first at others is we begin to walk away from the full potential of our God given gifts.

Looking outward at the gifts of others will place you and I on an island of comparison. An island where we will begin to believe other’s gifts should be ours and the the gifts we’ve been given aren’t valuable. Continue reading

Growing a Multiethnic Ministry: Conversation with J. Scott Samarco

Hey everyone! I recently had the chance to write for Rooted Ministry. I hope you enjoy this conversation!

At Rooted, we’ve started asking ourselves an important question: How can we equip parents and other leaders of youth to help their teens foster authentic interracial relationships, as part of God’s design for his kingdom?

What follows is an interview between Rooted contributor, Sarah Nixon, and J. Scott Samarco, the TC Teens Director at Transformation Church in Indian Land, SC. Transformation Church was founded in 2010 with the gospel vision to be a multiethnic, multigenerational, mission-shaped community that loves God completely (Upward), themselves correctly (Inward), and their neighbors compassionately (Outward).

We had to find out more about this remarkable ministry! We’re thrilled to share their story with the Rooted Community today. Continue reading