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Letter from my Son.
On February 18, I went to the post office as a part of my normal task. To my surprise, I received a package from my son. The box was addressed to “Mommy” – not my name, as most mailings are addressed. With much curiosity, I immediately opened it. There were a teddy bear holding a ‘I LOVE You” heart and a plaque. The plaque held the words of his love for his mommy…Me. Have you ever read a card that describes your relationship with someone to the exact detail? It was as if that person took time to get the perfect card. Well, as I read the plaque, I noticed he took time to get the perfect plaque. Lest to say, tears began to fall right at the counter in the post office. A lady standing beside me asked me about my tears. And I shared the box, the bear with the “I Love You” heart, and the plaque. She began to cry too. She recalled all the work we put into our children so that they can have a better life. ‘All the work’ is not easy work, they are sacrifices. It is more than giving them material possessions, name brand sneakers, the top fashion design, etc. Yet, it is ‘all the work’ we put into them to love themselves, to see their gifts and life potential to be great people who can make a difference in the world.
Sacrifices include moments when your child doesn’t seem to understand why momma has rules and expectations. I remember the times we often disagreed and tough decisions I had to make. Times like not allowing him to go to the military ball while in high school, because he failed to keep organization for his six-week compilation folder. It was small things like that which lead him to understand greater responsibility like going to college today.
Receiving this package today lets me know that he is thankful and he does understand what I tried to do when he was in the home. It also affirms the hard work I put forward to parenting was not in vain. I am thankful to God for guiding me through the process!
Let me first admit, I did not want to see the movie. Dealing with single parents’ issues, or women issues in general, is something I do every day. So, I did not choose that movie as part of my entertainment. Why did I go? Well… besides having a heart that yearns to be with my sister whenever possible, she demanded that I put on some clothes and be ready when she arrives to pick me up.
As we entered the theater during the credits, I quickly noticed the place was packed…in its second week opening?! My sister and I could barely find a seat.
As for the movie, it was very touching and emotional. Again, none of the problems or unhealthy relationships in the movie surprised me. What were most interesting were the conversations I intentionally engaged in with others after the movie. There were many sighs, exhaling and choking on trying to find the words to articulate feelings and thoughts. The white lady, who sat beside me, expressed her mixed feelings by stating, “It was interesting. I kind of liked it. It was sad. I don’t know!”
Beside the comments of “too much cursing,” another statement was, “I can’t believe situations like this happen.” A lady who stood beside her replied, “You were not brought up in that kind of environment.” One stated, “They [the producers] have added too much to the situation in the life of Precious.” My comment to her was, “Ma’am, it happens in real life.” Another lady, just shook her head and said, “I am glad I came to see it but it is nothing I will come back to see twice.”
I observed the little children–middle school and below–who were there and wondered what thoughts were in their minds as they watched the movie. My sister stated, “I hope their mothers will talk with them and share their thoughts and opinions about it so that nothing like this happens to them.” I agreed.
In regards to my feelings, I also admit there were moments I felt angry, sad and wanted to curse. I even had a few tear drops. The environment in which some of us live makes life hard and challenging. However, I believe that God will put us in places to rise above our unpleasant environment or unfavorable circumstances, as was shown in Precious.
Finally, I say, “Bravo to Oprah and Tyler Perry for teaming up on this one.” Again, Oprah stressed the hard issues of African American women, with Tyler Perry’s aim to entertain his faith audience.
PS. The credits previewed “Why I Got Married, Too.” I am really eager to see that one. I think that is going to be a good one!
………………….Rev. Willie Mae Hawkins, M.Div., D.Min(ABD)…………….
As an Regional Consultant to the Women’s Ministry in the United Church of Christ (UCC), My committment is to serve the women in the Southern Region. The Southern Conference alone consists of 3 associations, 219 churches, and approximately 20,000 women.
Western North Carolina Association
Eastern North Carolina Association
Eastern Virginia Association
In 1 Corinthians 3:1, Paul writes to the church at Corinth stating they are infants in Christ. He states there is jealousy and quarreling among them. As I ponder on the text in regards to ministering to single parents, I think of the quarreling we have within our inner selves. This inner quarreling occurs because we are not balanced with the demands in life as single parents.
There are the demands for proper care for children. Maintaining the financial obligations for home, children, and food sometimes get the best of us. For many who are still climbing that steep mountain of going to school and advancing on the job, this seems to be an on-going lifetime challenge. As our children grow into wanting their own independence, there are the personality conflicts that demand resolution. We wonder if the demands will ever come to an end.
We, too, sometimes are jealous by resenting our lives becasue we are not where we had hoped to be. Our stress levels are high due to the worries of our children, finances, jobs, and relating with others. For some, they still yearn for a mate to help with the responsibilities, to be the companion they desire, or to provide financial security when time gets tough.
If we have not learned to balance our lives in the midst of the demands as a single parent, I question, “Are we still infants in Christ? Balance begins with God as the center of our being. It is God who mends our fragmented lives where we can have balance to the demands of life. God places supportive people who continue to encourage us toward His greatness. God leads us to resources, which includes resources to strengthen our relationships with ourselves, our children, and with others. Indeed, it is God who gives us peace that surpasses all understanding. That is the peace within our inner selves–our souls.
One of the first steps toward maturity in Christ is allowing God to take total control over your life. Although a mate or a husband is not in the home, allow God to be the head of your single parent home. Each day, God will purge your heart and reshape your thinking to the demands of this world. Be mindful, if conflicts continue to be hard to bear, God will guide you to a good spiritual coach, counselor, or leader who can lead you to a greater insight of your conflict… just as Paul was to the church at Corinth.
Prayer: Dear God, Help us to calm the quarrelling within our inner being. Give us peace within our souls. Give us the understanding of how to handle the demands of life as a single parent. And, when conflicts continue to be unease, lead us to someone who can assist us to better understand toward your guidance. Amen.
~copyright 2009@Willie Mae Hawkins