Archive for January, 2016
The summer of 2015, my entire family (both in-laws and biological) came to Birmingham for a 4d ultrasound that would reveal the gender of my then unborn son. A few short weeks after the gender reveal, my cousin was murdered. I remember when I received the news that I just couldn’t breathe. I’ve stated before that I didn’t grow up with many of my family. In fact my Aunt D and I her boys were the only family members that we consistently spent holidays, summers and weekends with. He was my little cousin. That day was so chaotic. So many people were coming up and my Aunt got lost; at that time the GPS would take you to some odd place. I tried to give directions, but I am so terrible with directions. It is like one of my fatal flaws. I know landmarks and that’s about it. Well, after some time trying to explain how to get to my house and both sides getting a bit frustrated my aunt decided to turn around and go home. I later found out she turned around 15 minutes from my home. In fifteen minutes had I taken my time she and my cousin would have arrived safely.
I regret that entire situation. I should have been more patient and kind, but I just wasn’t. My cousin was with her and what makes this so odd…he hadn’t come to anything we all had done in a while. I didn’t reach out to him after that either. And then…he was gone.
I did so many things wrong in that scenario. And it literally haunts me a few times a week, because I was so unloving and I really did/do love him. I used to judge him and I used to nag him all the time about his life choices. I remember thinking he should just listen to me I’m older. But loving someone means you accept them and even if they don’t live how “you” think it doesn’t mean you treat them differently. I always wonder if he knew how much he did mean to me. I always wonder what it would have been like to actually tell him good bye. I hadn’t seen him in about two years before then; I was “busy”. I just didn’t make the family trips anymore and I honestly never thought about death. I never thought about someone being snatched away before because until that moment in August…everyone else that had died had at least made it to middle age.. He didn’t even make it out of his teens. I often wonder who he would have become had his life not been stolen. That’s exactly what murder is. A stolen life. An individual stole someone from a family, from a community, from a home. I hate to say that I still occasionally take my time for granted, but since his passing I work harder at it to not become a habit.
I see him a lot in different things and I hear his voice in some of the kids that I work with. I want to so bad tell them to be careful, to know fully that every day is not promised. Sometimes I do…sometimes I don’t it depends on their receptiveness to what I have to say. I don’t want to come across preachy, but I do work so hard for them to know that they matter. Their life, their contributions matter and even if no one in their life has told them this…it is the truth. What is even truer is the responsibility they have to do something with the gifting they have. Do something great. Be something greater. Don’t succumb to all the b.s that can sometimes pile up on you in life. Is it hard to rise above…YES! Are there some circumstances out of their control:YES! But if they can tap into someone who believes in them and stay connected support and love is literally the difference between a life…and a death.
As I reflect on almost 3 decades on this planet… I just wanted to make note of this. Make note of a time when I failed and the cost was immeasurable. Not saying that I could have saved him, but that he mattered just as he was.
So, I finally watched the movie War Room. So many people have been talking about it and encouraging me to watch it. My mother-in-law actually called on Friday and encouraged LaDarren and I to watch it together. I felt like it was a sign to stop running from the movie.
I can’t tell you why I’ve avoided the movie. I actually did a devotion from the War Room book like months ago. So why was I so against watching the movie? Idk maybe my flesh would feel more convicted…who knows. But anyway LaDarren and I sat down to watch the movie. The theme of the movie is about having your own plan of attack against the schemes of the devil. If we aren’t in God’s Word we are more likely to fall into temptation, strife, worry…just all the stuff God commands us not to do.
In the movie, the main character has to literally carve out not only time, but space to read the Word and pray. Now, we all know I have struggled in this area. I used to wake up 15 minutes early so I could do my devotion time…but lately I’ve been using it to hit that snooze button a couple (or three) times. It’s really a shame. But this movie did motivate me to reevaluate my Walk (for like the 7th time this year and yes I know it’s January).
I struggle to pray. Reading and studying I usually do fairly well, but praying…I tend to fall off. I had a talk with the boys (with LaDarren) about some of the ways in which we could be better and do better. My boys are good kids, but we all have room for improvements. They gave me one or two things.
I asked the boys what did momma need to work on and immediately Daniel said “yelling”. That’s right. I, Renee`, am a yeller. I don’t mean to be. I really don’t and I try to be patient but it is definitely a weakness of mine. I grew up in a yelling household. My mom used to say if she didn’t yell we acted like we didn’t/couldn’t hear her. I promise sometimes it feels that way with the boys as well. I don’t yell all the time, but when I do…I’m probably doing it with some gusto. I know it’s a weakness and I apologize to the boys every time I end up doing it. But the problem is…ME. If I surrendered everything to God. Guess what, my patience would grow. I know when I spend time in God’s Word I do SO much better.
I have started again putting Scriptures up around the house and just meditate on God’s Word. I am determined to kick this bad habit and I am ready to really surrender.