After my mom died, I spent a lot of time being angry at the world. I spent a lot of time and energy looking for every excuse I could to be mad. I made mountains out of mole hills and found myself feeling guilty for losing my temper. I did my best to hide it from the world but unfortunately my wife and kids got to see how broken I really was. I was mad at God because my mom died before I could ask her so many questions. I showed up to church everyday pretending that things were ok, but deep down inside I was angry. Looking back, there is no doubt that I had a reason to be upset, but I managed to let the few negative things overshadow all the joy that was standing right in front of me. My church, my family and friends are more than a blessing, they are everything I need to be happy. Below is a transparent poem of how I felt. Thank all of you for giving me a reason to be authentically happy.
I’m not happy unless I am mad
It’s not a joke it’s kind of sad
I tried to hide it with a smile
And that would only last a while
Mad was the only thing I knew
It stuck to me like super glue
There’s more to life than being sad
I found a reason to give up being mad
No more trying
Now I’m glad
Sometimes it is extremely hard to see people as children of God especially when they have wronged me. The conflict becomes the center of my focus and I lose sight of who they are. If I am not careful the conflict will consume me and I become resentful and begin to dislike the person! Then I remember that they too are a child of God and that I should freely show them Grace. My Grace should come in the form of an authentic gift that demonstrates that I love Christ. Me showing Grace should never come from pity or sympathy. But I am called to show Grace because it was shown to me when God sent his one and only son to die for me, for us.
If the truth be told, sometimes I forget that Christ died for me. Sometimes I forget that I am a child a God. When conflict or tragedy comes my way, I occasionally find myself thinking that God may be too busy helping other people to help me through my problems. But almost always, just when I forget who I am, one of you or someone in my church family shows up when I need you most. At First Church, I have watched my church family show others what Grace looks like, not out of pity but because that’s who we are and what we are called to do. The world needs more Grace so people like me can remember they are children of God.
I was lucky enough to run into my Elementary school Principal from 1974-1981. Mr. Art Berry is an amazing man who did all he could to help me and my family back then!