I was blessed to come from a family that was stable and was able to give me the basic things in life; love security, food, shelter, an education, all of which helped to steer me in the right direction. As a young girl, my family lived in the projects. my dad was a hard working man. my mom was a stay at home mom in the beginning because there were three of us and we were close in age. My parents attended church, and when they could not, they made sure we had a ride to Sunday school. and later they would show up at church.
I participated in the youth activities at my church and at a young age, I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. With the right amount of encouragement from my mom and dad, I finished high school and went to college. I wouldn't say I had the perfect family, there were some things in my family, some issues that I was not proud of as a little girl. My dad would go out drinking with the boys, at times, he would come home drunk and we would find him outside in the car early the next day. My mom would send us outside to wake him and help him to come in the house. After my brother died in 1970, my dad became a different man. he started going the church and eventually became the church treasurer, a trustee, a deacon, and finally the chairman of the deacon board. Tragedy seems to have that effect on some people and I was glad that my dad saw the importance of having a real relationship with the Lord.
When I was a little girl, I found out that my dad was adopted! The man that was married to my dad's mother, in my opinion was my grandfather, he was the only grandpa I had ever known. Finding out that information as a little girl was disturbing and hurtful. I met my paternal grandfather once on a trip down south. We were there visiting my mom's parents. He introduced himself to my siblings and myself, we were unimpressed. And things continued as they were. My grandfather, George, Grandpa as we called him, remained front and center as our grandfather. However, there was always a distinction made between my dad and his younger brother. And because my dad was not a "real heir" we grew up being cognizant that our last name was bogus, we really should have carried the name, "Polite," because that was my dad's real father's name.
My mom made no bones about reinforcing the fact that my dad was treated differently from his brother. And it bothered us to an extent, because we really never grew close to his sons, though we were all first cousins. A spirit of rejection came in, grew up in me as a young child, I don't have the time to get into it, but I talk about it in my book, "Don't Forget To Say Your Prayers." I'm just telling this piece to let you know how rejection can seep in. My mother was rejected by her parents. For some reason they were very hard on her. She was light skinned with freckles and red hair. Her other siblings were brown skinned and looked more like my grandmother and grandfather. My dad was rejected by his brother, and his parents made a difference between he and his younger brother. My dad was born out of wedlock, that is where the spirit of rejection came into his life. He always felt less than a true whole family unit..
There were a lot of other incidents in my life that always had me second guessing my abilities, gifts, and purpose. A white guidance counselor influenced me, convinced me that I did not have the grades to matriculate in a four year school, so I opted to go to a two-year technical school. I wanted to go to a historical black college, she convinced me otherwise, and I listened to her. There were many issues circumstances tares that were sown by the enemy to keep me from reaching my potential and destiny. I talk about how I went to jail in my senior year of college. That incident could have ruin my professional career, BUT GOD. there were tares sown at strategic times in my life over the years, and if you are not careful, these tares will mix up with the wheat and you will have to allow God to distinguish them and root them out of your field.
These early tares could have impacted the trajectory of my life for the worse, but God had another plan for my life.
Most of us never consider ourselves "AT RISK!" But as a former educator, I saw many students that met that description. If you looked at their background, peeked into their school records, noted the number of times they were absent, suspended, their record of failing grades, their ADHD diagnosis, You and I would make the diagnosis that this child or that one is doomed for failure!!
But even in the midst of being at risk for failure, many children succeed! Some of the kids in the worst dysfunctional families become great leaders and some become doctors, senators, judges, and even the president. The odds were against us, but we made it anyway. We may not have lived in the best neighborhood, had the best parents, gone to the best school, but in spite of all the negatives, somehow we made it!!
After suffering the loss of my dad, grandmother, mother and father-in-law, husband, and daughter, within a decade, somehow I was able to still function. In 2002, I began my public ministry. I was license in May of 2002. My parents came from South Carolina to hear my initial sermon. In November of that year my dad died. He got to hear me preach one sermon and then the Lord called him home. I finally answered the call that was on my life and then death showed up.
I was listening to a sermon T.D. Jakes preached yesterday morning. His text came from the 13th chapter of Matthew. Before he go into the text, he remarked that someone asked him what a preacher must have in order to succeed, describe it in one word. He responded, "Tenacity." T.D. said, "You have to have the ability to refuse to die." It doesn't matter if the lights are on or off, friends come or they go, you get divorce, a loved one dies, Job put it like this: "Though He slay me yet will I trust Him." Job was like, "I'M Still Here;" and all of my life, I'm gonna wait until my change has come!"
What does that have to do with your topic preacher? Well, the text talks about the Kingdom of God. In in this parable a story is told about a Master that had a field and he planted wheat in it. But after awhile an enemy came along and planted tares in it. After a while both the wheat and the tares grew up together, so much so that It was hard to tell the difference between the two.
What do you do when it is the BEST OF TIMES IN YOUR LIFE AND YET THE WORST OF TIMES, ALL AT THE SAME TIME? WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOUR MINISTRY AND YOUR GREATEST MISERY SHOWS UP AT THE SAME TIME!!!! DO YOU ALL FEEL ME OUT THERE?
In 2008, I had just finished the Black Ministries Program at the Hartford Seminary. I had started a women's support group called: "Soul Talk for Women." I was preaching regularly at the convalescent homes in the greater Hartford area. I was teaching Sunday school and discipleship training at my home church. I had completed the Faith Based Fellows program sponsored by the Greater Hartford Council of Churches. Ministry was going along fine, and I was excited about continuing my education and looking into going on to get a masters of divinity degree. My daughter, Danielle and her husband announced that they were pregnant and expecting a child in July of 2009. We were so excited. This would be our very first grandchild!!!
BUT THEN THE BOTTOM FELL OUT FROM UNDER ME, AND ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE IN 2009.
In was the best of times, but now the worst of times was getting ready to show its ugly face. In spite of the good seeds that were being sowed in my life and ministry, an enemy had come in and sown tares in my field.
I will continue this discussion in part 2 of: "WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN MININSTRY AND MISERY SHOWS UP AT THE SAME TIME?
GOOD DAY AND "DON'T FORGET TO SAY YOUR PRAYERS'