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

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

Confessing the Sins of Our Nation

THE BEST VIEW

Let’s be honest here. Thanksgiving Day is not a celebration for everyone. There is a people group that is forgotten during this time of the year. We call them Native Americans. The Natives, from our understanding, were the first people group to live on this land we call America.

Our nation is guilty of the greatest tragedies this world has ever seen.

Before our nation was officially established, there was the shedding of thousand and thousands, if not millions, of innocent blood and lives. To this day, we still suffer from the atrocities and the decisions of the so call leaders of the “free world.”

It was not until the last two years, or so, I began to grieve during this holiday season. Call it an awakening or having a better understanding of history, I now can see and somewhat feel what my ancestors faced. Being bi-racial (half white and half black) I have somewhat experienced both sides. What I mean by this, I have been on both sides of the fence, where I have been mistreated poorly, and I have been treated with privileged. Either way, I grieve for both sides of my ancestry.

Turn on the news, and you will see, we are a nation struggling to know what it means to live out justice and equality, especially toward people of color. So many leaders have fought for change, yet and still, here we are in 2015, and it seems like we still haven’t got anywhere. People of color are still mistreated, protesting, marching, losing lives and wanting fair treatment. When will America wake up?

#BlackLivesMatter – What is it?

The ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter movement is not a violent movement. The media constantly tries to portray negative images of blacks. There is nothing new there. #BlackLivesMatter is a movement about peace, equality, fair treatment and justice. This movement brings awareness to this world about the unfair treatment blacks have to continue to face. Saying #BlackLivesMatter and supporting this movement does not mean other lives do not matter. All lives matter, this we know, but we cannot dismiss or try to downplay what’s happening towards blacks.

This is a battle blacks, and people of color have been facing since white Europeans took over someone else land and began in their quest to destroy every other person of color. May we not forget our terrible history and discover the truths our school systems did not reveal to us.

While we are in a season of thankfulness, this should also be a season of forgiveness. America we owe an apology first to Native Americans, then to blacks, and then to Latinos.

Racism, prejudice, greed, hate, evil all still exist. Until we begin to forgive and move forward as a nation, we will continue to kill those of color and those of color will continue to march on until something changes. #BlackLivesMatter! Don’t be afraid to say it and support the movement!

What can you and I do?

  • Begin to create relationships with those who are mistreated.
  • Love hard
  • Forgive often
  • Treat everyone with respect
  • Join the movement of peace, justice and equality
  • Understand life is bigger than your problems
  • Have compassion for those who continue to be mistreated

As a nation, we have to admit to our poor history. We may say we were found on Christian principles, but I think you and I know, from our history we were and still are far off from living out Godly principles. Call it misinterpretations or Bible gone wrong, we have to come to an agreement that something needs to change. I believe change starts with you and me, doing what we can to bring change and to influence those we have a relationship with to do the same.

Let’s be people of action. First start with confessing!