I Am Adopted: Why The Role Of A Father Makes A Difference 

Throughout my life, I’ve felt the ups and downs of life. What I mean by this, I have felt what it is like to be loved, and I have felt what it is like to be hated. The hatred that I felt may have been my perspective, but it was real.

I want to invite you into a reality that I faced growing up and the reality many others have faced and are facing. This post is quite lengthy, but I guarantee you will not regret reading.

As a young kid in his teens, I faced emotional abuse.

To be transparent, it was my earthly dad who did all of the emotional abusing. As a young teenager, he shared words with me that you do not say to another human being let alone your own son. Hearing such demeaning and life sucking words created in my life fear, insecurity, a lack of confidence and a false belief in my identity.

I began to believe in the words I was hearing. Often as a teen and even as a kid I would hear, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words would never hurt.” Whoever created this rhyme and words I would like to meet them face to face and share some choice words with them (kidding but not kidding).

Words do hurt. Words are painful. When a kid, a teenager should be experiencing words of encouragement, words of love, words of comfort, words of affirmation but instead receives the opposite this creates voids, holes, and gaps.

For me, my heart sank each time I would hear such words. I remember my heart breaking over and over again. Early on when the heartbreaking words were said to me, I would share some choice words back, and that led to more harsh words being said back to me. Eventually, I would do my best to fight off and ignore the words I was hearing. I would stop saying words back, and this led to my heart becoming numb.

What I continue to see:

Now, at the age of 28, I work with a lot of inner-city teenagers. Many of these teenagers are facing and have faced the battle I faced as a teenager. Many do not have a dad in their home let alone in their life. Some do have a dad around and like me, their dad share words that are not helping and only hurting.

A Father, the role of a male figure in the home and a child’s life is so important. Sometimes I do not think dads understand how much of their presence, positivity, care, and words can affect their child’s life. If they did, maybe they would learn to become the type of Father they need to be.

I have shared my emotional abuse that I faced with others, the disconnect of not having a loving and comforting Father and I realized I am not alone. I’ve come to learn that all people have issues, baggage, deal with life’s experiences and tragedies in different ways. How a Father deals with life will either have a positive or negative effect on their child’s life.

I want to share with you some mind-blowing statistics about kids that grow up with an absent Father:

1. 5 times the average suicide rate:
2. Dramatically increased rates of depression and anxiety:
3. 32 times the average rate of incarceration:
4. Decreased education levels and increased drop-out rates:
5. Consistently lower average income levels:
6. Lower job security:
7. Increased rates of divorce and relationship issues:
8. Substantially increased rates of substance abuse:
9. Increases in social and mental behavioral issues:

(These stats along with the full article can be found here: https://thefathercode.com/the-9-devastating-effects-of-the-absent-father/ )

Now that we know all of this information, what does a person do to overcome the emotional abuse, the lack of love from a Father and the absence of a Father?

First and probably the most important step is to forgive. As a young adult in college, I found myself on my dorm room floor crying. I was crying because I was reliving and remembering all of the words that were said to me from my dad during my childhood and teenage years. Through the pain, hurt and tears I came to a place where I knew in order to move forward from the pain, I had to let go and forgive.

I’ve learned that the longer I held on to the pain the longer I would stay in prison. Unforgiveness, carrying hate and anger is like being locked in a prison and drinking poison. You slowly begin to die inside and I was tired of dying. Maybe you are too…

Let us turn to the Gospel! Stay with me. Something good is about to be shared:

Then there came Romans 8:14-17

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”

I was suffering internally. Like most with an absent dad or a dad that was emotionally abusive, I needed love, comfort and to be uplifted. I needed to believe I had a purpose, and that there was a Father that loved me for being me.

At age 17, when all felt lost and like the world was crashing down on me there was God. A Heavenly Father that opened up His arms to me, who looked at me with splendor and said, “come, my son, let me be your Abba Father, let me be your Daddy God.”

Up until 17, I called my earthly dad, “daddy” but I now had a Heavenly Father that wanted to replace all of my evil thoughts toward my earthly dad and begin to experience the unconditional love of my new Daddy!

So many people that deal with “daddy issues” view their Heavenly Father through the same lens as they do their earthly dad. I am here to share with you; our Daddy God wants to show you what real love is like. Our Daddy God wants to pour into your life and build you up. Our Daddy God wants to heal your heart and help you overcome your pain. Our Daddy God wants you to forgive your earthly dad. Our Daddy God wants to set you free from your past so that you can move on with your life.

To move forward, you have to confess the anger that is in your heart. You have to forgive. Forgiveness starts with your acknowledgment of your pain and hatred.

Pray this prayer aloud:

Daddy God.

It is me. Your child. For so many years I have been carrying around this heavy weight in my heart. I realized today; I cannot move forward with hatred in my heart. Daddy God, I am asking You to perform surgery on my heart. I know it may take me a while to get over the absence of my earthly dad and all of the pain that he created for my life, but I am ready to move along with my life. Will you become my Daddy God? Will you show me what a real Father is like? Will you help me release all of the pain and will you fill my heart with unconditional love?

I am your child. You have adopted me. I am called to be the light of the world. I am a part of Your chosen generation. Give me purpose. Give my life meaning. Help me see others the way You see me. Help me love unconditionally like the way You love me.

I leave everything in Your hands, trusting You know what to do with my life, my mind, my spirit and my soul. I am Yours, and You are mine, and together, we are going to be just fine.

Thank You for loving me, Daddy God.

Thank you for holding me in Your arms.

P.S. I pray the love of the Heavenly Father meets you right where you are reading this. Just know you are not alone and God can do a major work in your life. He did it for me and He can do it for you.

God bless you. I love you. Please share this with others and pray for all those that are hurt from their earthy dads.

Leap of Fear?

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No, no my friend it is not a leap of fear but it is a leap of faith that is being required of you. More than three times God told Joshua to be strong and courageous. When God begins to elevate you for an assignment, He will be sure to affirm you with the words that will carry you through. Joshua carried the words, “be strong and courageous” from His Father into his next challenging assignment.

Hear me when I say this: What’s next for you will require you to depend on God and not your emotions. What’s next for you will require you to call out your fears. I mean to write them down, to figure out why these fears are there and once these fears have been identified, God is going to ask you to do something with them. Are you ready? I am!

Fear, I have learned is nothing more than a fabricated emotion that becomes easy to believe.

Is fear real? Yes.

Can fear be conquered? Yes.

Our fears should push us and lead us to become more confident. Each time fear has entered my life and attempted to take control of my mind, I have allowed myself to get away with God and analyze why fear is there and where the fear is coming from.

Joshua, when he was chosen to take over for Moses, who was no longer around, fear was soon to enter. Joshua, being called to step into a new role, has a normal human response; that is to wonder if he could be the person for the job.

Here is what I’ve leaned about Joshua’s transition: The transition came so fast that he didn’t have much time to live in fear and this is what I want to point out for you and I to understand…

What God is requiring of you in this season of life cannot be taken up by allowing yourself to remain in fear.

Fear is an enemy that wants to stop you from walking into your God given potential. Fear is simply: False. Evidence. Appearing. Real. What I’ve learned about fear is this: whatever perspective you have toward the fear in your life, is usually what you and I will believe. If I believe I cannot accomplish something because of fear, then I am going to make decisions based off of my belief system. You see what I’m saying?

Questions for you to wrestle with:

  • What lie(s) are you believing?
  • Can you name your fears?
  • Do you see why these fears are there?
  • When will you take your leap of faith to overcome your fears?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson

P. S. What are some fears you had to overcome and how did you overcome these fears? Lets help each other out by sharing and encouraging one another!

P. S. S. Punch fear in the face! It has to go now!

 

 

 

In the Next and In the Now

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In the Next:

In the book of Joshua, found in the Bible, chapter 1 begins with Joshua having to step up quickly and lead a new generation of people into a land that God had promised to his fellow leader Moses. In verse 2, God says to Joshua, “Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan into the land I am giving them.” Then God goes on to say in verse 3. “I promise you what I promised Moses: Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you.” What a promise!

Joshua immediately had to step up and lead. There wasn’t much time to be stuck in emotion, throw pity parties and wonder if he could do what God was commanding. Joshua, at this moment in time, is dealing with transition here and not all transition is easy. I am sure he was comfortable in the position He was in, as a counterpart to Moses, his right-hand man.

There comes a time in our lives where God calls us out of the comfortable zones we love to operate in. When God said, “Moses my servant is dead,” God is telling Joshua, there is no longer time for you to be comfortable.

The Land of the Unknown:

Obscurity, a word I have come to know throughout my life. Not knowing what is in the land to come but trusting that God is leading me there. This place of the unknown is an interesting place to be. A place where Joshua finds himself. In verse 5 and 6 God says, “No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as long as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you. Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to posses all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them.” God continues to give His word, His affirmation and His promises to Joshua.

What timely words for Joshua to hear. With all of the new responsibility, his new role, people to lead and win over, God pauses Joshua in his tracks and lets Joshua know you are not in this alone. So often in The Land of the Unknown, we think we are alone as if God would abandon us the moment we step foot in an unknown land.

How foolish are we to think this way? Our thinking can be such human conditioned responses. We should know God will not set us up to fail and maybe for a moment Joshua thought this way. Then hearing the words of His Father let Joshua know, he didn’t have any business to think that His God would not be with Him in the next phase of his life.

In the Now:

This is my command: “Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Hallelujah! As Joshua moved forward, He walked with a sense of purpose and dignity knowing His God was in complete control. Joshua walked with an assurance that He would not fail because His creator with all power and might was on his side.

Joshua was now leading and taking people on a journey they had not been on before. With transition, new leadership and new territory there comes a birth of new excitement. Joshua knew he had to step in, affirm, speak words of encouragement and peace to the people he was now leading. He had to let the people know everything is going to work out, and they would walk into the promises of God.

Conclusion:

I have learned in my 28 years of life; there is a great peace that God gives. I’ve also learned, when it is time for God to take someone to their next level and destination there has to be a step of faith. As we take a step of faith, we have to walk in the same peace that was given by God. As Joshua did, he had to trust God through the process of transition and the process of the land of the unknown.

God is the God of the next and the now. Wherever you find yourself today, whatever is on your plate, trust the God of the next and the right now, for He is in both and He is leading the way.

P.S. – Here are a couple of action steps and some friendly reminders:

  • Trust Him.
  • Obey.
  • Do what He asks of you.
  • You are right where you need to be.
  • God has your back!

Why You Need to Be Challenged in #2016

#2016 Challenges

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it will not change you.” – Urban Meyer

Can you believe a die hard Wolverine is quoting a Buckeye? If you understand sports and rivalries you will know what I am talking about. I am reading a book by Ohio State’s coach, Urban Meyer called, Above the Line. The book was referred to me by a friend. We were talking about coaching (I coach high school boys basketball) and leadership and he said it would be worth picking up despite your disliking of the boys in red.

The quote above is not just a good quote but it is a motto to life. As a former college basketball and semi-pro player I have always loved a good challenge. For instance, say I had a bad game, instead of sitting in pity at all of the things I could have done better, I take it upon myself to study the film, get back in the gym and work on how I can become better. This approach has helped me grow tremendously in life. – Taking on a challenge and allowing the challenge to help transform my life.

“Average leaders have quotes. Good leaders have a plan. Exceptional leaders have a system.” – Urban Meyer

As you may know, we are already a week into #2016. This week I have been reflecting a lot on life, my health, leadership, my many hats I wear, friendships, goals, relationships and my marriage. Here is what I need to keep in front of me in #2016: #Challenges – I look at challenges as goals I can accomplish. With each goal that is before me, the goal is a challenge that I want to accomplish in a timely matter before the year ends.

I have to be frank with you. I absolutely love where God is leading me. I am learning more and more about myself, my character, my identity, my work habits, what gets me fired up, my weaknesses and my strengths than I ever have. I find this to be a wonderful discovery gift to my life. I read more than I ever have, I ask more questions, I am more confident in who I am and in my leadership. I believe my growth is a result of my competitive drive and the hunger to be the best I can be.

What does all of this mean?

  • Set more S.M.A.R.T. Goals (Specific. Measurable. Actionable, Relevant. Timely. Goals.)
  • Find ways to challenge yourself.
  • Get some time to yourself to reflect on what you want to accomplish this year.
  • Know what your dreams are.
  • Come up with plans, systems and strategies to get you where you want to be in life.
  • Find a word, a phrase, a quote, maybe even a hashtag that will remind you of what you are chasing after this year. (For example: My hashtag is #BetterThanYesterday. My phrase: You are more than average, so work and act like it.)
  • Work hard, be consistent, build momentum and make great things happen this year!

P.S. In #2016 work on being less condemning to yourself. Instead, speak more positive life changing words. Don’t let a failed challenge discourage you. Treat a failed challenge as an opportunity to learn and grow from what didn’t go right. This is your year. So is 2017, 2018, 2019 and so on…

“You will not be successful as a leader if you are constantly changing directions.” – Urban Meyer

P.S.S. You got this!

Question: What challenges are you looking forward to this year?

Be #BetterThanYesterday in 2016

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#BetterThanYesterdaySimply means to let go of yesterday’s struggles and move forward, toward today’s success. 

Being #BetterThanYesterday begins by analyzing what is not working for you. There is something you do every day and throughout the week that causes you to struggle. Being aware of this habit and/or struggle is right where you need to be. As you move forward, know that change will be required of you.

Having a #BetterThanYesterday mentality, means each day you are being your best and you are living your life not stuck on the woes of yesterday.

Letting go of yesterday’s struggles is not as easy as it may sound. You and I both know, shaking a bad habit, creating change and beginning a new habit takes some sacrifice, dedication and accountability.

I truly believe you possess the will power and the desire to become better. As you move forward in your transformation journey your progress will come by, knowing the plan, working the strategies, executing the plan and enjoying the process of becoming the best you.

One of the biggest lessons I learned in 2015 was this: people who lack accountability, struggle in the areas they need to grow the most in. When people you trust know what areas you struggle in, not only can they speak words or encouragement but they can call you out when you are slacking.

 A great lesson of change is for you to create a circle of trust with people that have a #BetterThanYesterday mindset. 

Imagine how great you can become when you have people in your life chasing greatness with you!

As you know, 2015 is coming to a close. If you are like me, you find yourself reflecting back on the year. I enjoy and look forward to the last week of the year. I use the last week of the year as a reflection time, to look over my 2015 goals, challenges, victories, losses and memorable moments. This is a great way for me to establish momentum and to know what I am working toward for the new year.

My friend, be inspired, be encouraged, you made it through another year. Whether this year was hell or heaven for you, you are still here moving along in the journey. Don’t give up the fight of becoming the best you. There is still a lot of fight in you. You were created with a purpose. As you continue in your journey, your purpose will be used to bring major impact to this world. I am counting on you!

Here is what you can look forward to in #2016 from me:

  • Challenging content
  • Consistent and timely blogs
  • Authenticity and Relevancy
  • Bigger risks
  • A #BetterThanYesterday ebook
  • 21 day challenges
  • Cool #BetterThanYesterday gear

P.S.

Here is a #BetterThanYesterday video from yours truly. Enjoy!

#BetterThanYesterdayVideo

Help support the #BetterThanYesterday movement by getting a #BetterThanYesterday t shirt for #2016!

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Click this link to purchase your t -shirt. Thanks in advance! – > #BetterThanYesterday T Shirt

My goal is to get 100 people to purchase a t-shirt in 30 days. Considering helping this become a reality by purchasing a shirt.

P.S.S. Don’t forget to share in the comments what you are looking forward to in #2016. Lets be great together!

 

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!

Race and the Church

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If racism did not exist, we would not have so many segregated churches. It is because of racism we have white churches, black churches, Latino churches, etc. We can add in things like greed, power, control, money, etc. I believe at the core, is racism. I do not believe that racism, segregation, and separation is God’s heart. Love brings forth unity.

The Gospel Paul preached throughout the New Testament was a Gospel of reconciliation between Jews, Gentiles and Greeks which meant, the bringing together of different ethnic nations.

There is a reason Paul suffered the way he did. He was fighting against the cultural norm, which was fighting against Roman rule (a dominant culture/race) who wanted everything separated and segregated. Sounds familiar?

If you call yourself a Christian, you no longer have the right to be separated and segregated from other ethnic races. It is time for the church to be the most unified and colorful place on Sunday, instead of the church being the most segregated place on a Sunday.

A Call to Action:

It is time for you and I to begin to live intentional on doing life with people of other race and ethnic backgrounds. If you live in a diverse area, and your church is all one color, my friend, there is something to be said and something to be done. Join in the conversation, join in prayer, join the community of other believers and begin to challenge leaders and congregants at your church to begin seeking God’s heart for a unified and diverse church.

Remember, first it begins with you seeking God’s heart for the church and this should begin to lead to helpful, challenging and necessary conversations with others. This may not be easy but it is vital as we move forward as a body of believers. As the church we have to be leaders in this conversation and not continue to take the back seat.

“Every member of the body of Christ is needed and has a role to play. God values diversity, which is why he made such a variety of people.” – Derwin Gray #HDLeader

P.S. If you have any questions or would like to talk more about race and the church feel free to leave your email in a comment below.