A safe place for children

I am often saddened when I hear stories of dysfunctional homes, abandoned children, children who are neglected and exposed to danger by their parents and children who are simply lost all because they have not known unconditional love and acceptance.

You see, as parents our role is to provide a safe place for our children to exist, to discover themselves and to develop into independent, sober adults who can make sound decisions that would lead to great quality lives.

What is a “safe place”?

That safe place I am referring to is the HOME. Most children return to a home and the ideal scenario is that they should be very happy to return home.

As a parent myself, I often have to remind myself that I cannot control what takes place outside of our home, whether it is unfair teachers, unreasonable adults who judge all children the same, immature Christians who play holy but take pleasure in destroying the character of others, men and women who prey on innocent children, or advertisements and activities that encourage the use of alcohol, nakedness and irresponsible behaviour.

I have come to terms with the reality of this life. I have also recognised that I have the power to influence my kids positively and I must use the advantage of the Home, the fact that we all live in the same space.

I feel it for parents who are struggling. There are those of us who may not describe ourselves as struggling but our experiences can be described more as challenges. Everyone has to face the struggle/challenge of creating that “safe place” and keeping it safe. There are many negative influences out there, seeking to snatch the opportunity for greatness from our children. I wish to share a few tips with us on how we can create that “safe place” at home so that our children can pursue a meaningful life now and in the future.

  1. As a parent, be present at home as much as possible. Try to cut down the unsupervised times spent at home by your children, even as teenagers. When it is totally necessary for you to be out, provide a structure for them while they are at home, give them tasks to accomplish. It is also necessary to follow-up and monitor them with a phone call or two.
  2. Know your children’s friends. You can get to know them by visiting their school, attending school activities, sending little goodies for them at school, and inviting them out with your children.
  3. Practice self-control as a parent, avoid shouting, yelling, the cold treatment and other immature behaviours. In other words grow up, get help if you need it. These kind of behaviours push children away, creating a dangerous distance. If your children are not ready to chat with you everyday about their experiences at school, check yourself first. Maybe you are to harsh, jumping to conclusions before listening. Remember you were once young and they are not yet grown.
  4. Work-out any problems you may have with your spouse privately, do not allow your children to be negatively affected by any disagreements between yourself and your spouse (for those who are married of course).
  5. Do not leave your children home with strangers or anyone you are uncomfortable with, they are better of home alone, if it is really necessary.
  6. Try as much as possible to serve home-cooked meals. Give them the experience of good, tasty food that is safe and healthy to eat.
  7. Speak only words that are uplifting to your children. Be their biggest Cheer-Leader! Even when they need to be disciplined, let them know that you love them deeply and desire the best for them, that is why discipline is necessary.
  8. Give them a sound spiritual education. Point them to the Scriptures and to beginning a relationship with God, not to religion and a life of pretense and religious formalities. Let them know that there are standards for right and wrong and God is the absolute authority. Introduce them to a God of love who can be trusted with their future because he knows all things. Talk about the Word of God at home and apply it to daily living.
  9. As parents, seek to be good examples, so that your children would not suffer the consequences of your sins. Give them that chance to start life without baggage, they would create their own anyhow.
  10. Finally, build great memories at home, have fun! plan lots of family activities and get the children to contribute their ideas as well.

There is so much more that can be said but, I prefer to keep it short. As short as it may be, let it inspire you to grow as a parent and work towards building a safer place for your children.

I embrace my past; I embrace my future more! –

Featured pic from Grenada Development Bank – My farewell party – November 2019 – Former Directors, My former boss in blue & grey, former co-workers.

In November, 2019, I took a step of faith. I resigned from my highly valued job as Administration & Human Resource Manager at the Grenada Development Bank, the only Development Bank on the Island of Grenada. A unique institution that has an amazing success story. I say highly valued because in those nine years I learnt a great deal. In those nine years, I confirmed so many things about life, about people and about myself. Through the grace of God, I was able to fortify my career as an Administration and Human Resource Professional. Yes, I was learning but I was also being established in both fields.

In those nine years and even before those nine years ( I was employed at GDB for 27 years), God used varied circumstances to remind me that when He is control, everything works out the way it should. He reminded me that I needed His guidance daily. He also reminded me that I just had to continuously walk in faith, looking at his face for assurance and not to others.

It is now four months since I moved on and many times I would remember moments at GDB. I remember them with such affection and such appreciation. I think, in my heart, I would always feel a part of GDB’s family and I can’t help but be grateful.

Now, everyday was not perfect, there were days when we argued to make our points clear, there were times when I did not achieve my best and there were times when I had to be involved in disciplining staff and it was no popular affair, but with God’s grace, I persevered. And you know what I am sure they know, I care.

The appreciating truth is that I miss my GDB family despite the downs. I have given so much but have received much more.

As I sat thinking about the past, I just thought…”My past is so important to my future success”. I embrace it, I own it, I value it and I am so blessed by it. I have gotten to know so many people, to influence so many people, to learn from so many people, to share Christ with so many people. My past is very very important to me. But here this, it is not more important to me than my future.

As, I look ahead, I have new challenges. I have a need to find strategies never tested, as I continue to walk into that door that has been swung wide open for me. Whenever I find myself doubting God, I seek to shake it off, reminding myself that every move relating to me leaving a job, that meant so much to me, to step into the unknown, was God-directed. I have do doubt that it was an answer to prayer. My God surprised me with an open door.

At GIDC’s Office – April 2019

What gets me at times, is the struggle to keep believing that God is right here by me side and I can accomplish the task that He has entrusted to me. I wish that mental struggle did not exist, but it does, I wish my energy would always flow but sometimes, I get weary, I wish I can act in a timely manner at all times, but sometimes, I hesitate.

So, today, I reminded myself to keep speaking words of affirmation, words of hope, declaring the promises of God, declaring what has been given to me as a Child of God. Today, I am reminded not to deny my Christ, never to be ashamed of being a Christian, because, God is the only person that I can bet my life on. He is for me, in season, out of season, when everyone around me seems scary and cannot be trusted. He is there!

Jekalyn Carr in her song, says “You will win, win”! And, I believe that, not only that I will win, but I have already won so many battles of the mind, of the body and of the will because God’s word is a source of strength. I believe I have won and I will continue to win.

My past has definitely helped to shape my future, but my future is bigger!!

What about you? Are you too attached to your past that you find it difficult to believe that you will survive the open door? “You will Win!”

Finding strength in the Joy of the Lord!

It was Sunday morning and from the comfort of my bed, I looked outside and observed ‘What a beautiful day it is!”. There was absolutely no need for me to hustle that morning, it was a day for taking it slow, to refresh my soul and to receive inspiration from God’s word.

I decided to look-up verses on “the joy of the Lord” and this exercise did wonders for me.

My hope in God’s promises were renewed, I felt energised and excited to continue pursuing His plan for my life, I became filled with great expectations. Even my countenance changed from gloomy, to bright.

What really happened? Were those verses magical? Well, they are embedded in truth, power and hope, so I guess they are more than magical, they are majestic, like the Author himself.

Phillipians 4:4 was the first verse I read:

Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say rejoice – KJV

Rejoice in the Lord always; I say it again. Rejoice! – NIV

Oh, this little verse lifted my spirit and reminded me that despite my circumstances and how much I really don’t feel like focusing on God’s joy, I need to try anyhow, because it always works. It reminded me that my joy is not a product of my possessions or my achievements but knowing that God loves me, has a plan for me and I can trust him. It is understanding that pleasing God first keeps me joyful.

Another verse that lifted my spirit was Psalm 5:11 -KJV “But let those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

Here is the NIV : “But let all who take refuge in you be glad, let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you”

We cannot ignore that there is a condition for experiencing God’s joy. We must make that choice to love His name, to find contentment and pleasure in His character, in His mission and in what He has written in the Bible for our benefit.

I am convinced that if some people could only experience the joy of the Lord, they would not give up on their marriage, they would not consider suicide, the would not abuse others and the list goes on and on.

There are so many verses that talk about the joy of the Lord, I am just getting started.

I inspire you to pursue the Joy of the Lord.

Embracing the Imperfect Me!

Featured picture by google images

I saw this post on Jonathan Mc Reynold’s Instagram page a few weeks ago and it stirred me to write, it says  

“Shame made me feel like I had to be perfect.  But man, I am just soooo not.  Physical flaws, sins, personality flaws, bad choices, etc. but I’m slowly shedding the need to be perfect.  The “imperfect me” must be valuable because that’s the only “me” that God ever made, ever used and ever blessed.  All I can do is all I can do. 

What I have just read for you is a sticking point for many people.  We are always worrying about our flaws, our past failures, our weaknesses, when will we behave ourselves.   When will we behave as if we know better, because in most cases, I think we know better. 

We know that man is imperfect.   Only God is perfect.   Yet, we criticise others when we become aware of their flaws and we do the same thing to ourselves.    Hey, it is not fruitful, it would not help you in any way. 

When I read Jonathan’s post, I immediately typed a response and it says;  You spoke for all of us my friend, you are not alone in this “imperfect me” journey.  What matters is that you have already touched our lives for the sake of Christ and you did it because you allowed God to use you.  In my view that is when it becomes perfect” 

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be perfect?  Just try to imagine it.   There will be no need for growth, no need for overcoming, no need for learning valuable lessons, no need to depend on God, no need for anyone, as a matter of fact.   I guess our knowledge would be limitless, absolutely no gaps. 

Life is great when we come to terms with its sweet liberating truth.    We are all imperfect, on a journey of self-discovery, growth and transformation.  We all need a perfect God to guide us to the correct destination.  He guides us by being present, vocal and ready to support if we would let Him.   He desires to use the imperfect men and women that we are.    Living life in the presence of a Perfect God is all we need to make it!  

Keeping it real!

Sometimes we feel tired, swamped and simply worked-out. We all have those days, those weeks, those moments.

Achieving, winning and growing can be exciting and we can easily get lost in the “air of success”.

Achieving requires exerting our energy, sacrificing our personal time and hobbies. And yet, it is important to remember to keep it real. Keeping it real speaks of acknowledging that it is still necessary to take care of this beautiful gift, our body, keeping it real speaks of taking timeout to connect with your family and to read and meditate on content that would broaden your perspective.

Keeping it real allows you to remember your simple past, moral foundation and values that has brought you success. Keeping it real reminds you that you are existing in a wonderful body, an amazing world of resources and yet understand that man is not in control of everything. God is the one in control and He can easily overrule our plans.

Keeping it real allows you to see what’s happening around you, it keeps you connected with current affairs, it allows you to be sensitive to the needs of others and it allows you to constantly evaluate where you are at.

Prayer: Dear God please help me to remember that my success is all because I have found a way to keep it real, I have found a way to constantly reflect on my current status and the fact that it is much more beneficial to allow you to guide my every move. I am grateful for my experiences with you, it has certainly kept me grounded, watchful and hopeful. I understand that I must always lift you up above all else and you would take care of my daily needs. Understanding your plan for my life and pursuing it daily amidst endless distractions is certainly a walk of discipline and endurance…but I really love keeping it real.

Are you living a life of pretense, trying to be who you are not, compromising on values and standards that have brought you success? Keeping it real, helps you to realise the things that really matters in this life; Family, positively impacting the lives of your colleagues at work and making a difference in your home, school, church and community, growing and becoming a better you and gaining a clearer understanding of who God is and why He considered your existence. You and I are just men, totally dependent on God’s grace. We better keep it real!!

I love to associate with “real people” who love keeping it real! 🙂

Should you be praying or Acting in Faith?

Time passes by very quickly, the birthdays, the graduations; oh how time flies. We all have the same amount of time at our disposal. However, some of us waste it terribly and regrettably so. Time wasted cannot be regained. I believe you have heard this saying before.

I wish to remind us to “Act”. Sometimes we have no reason to wait, to sit and to do nothing. All that is necessary now, is to take action. Remember we are given gifts and resources and it is not for us to be selfish with it but to impact the world positively. For the believer, it is for building the Church of God, the Kingdom of God.

It is wearying to see us labour in prayer, doubting God, looking for a sign from heaven, when all we need to do is take that first step, second step or that next step in faith, understanding that you are alive now and can only act while you are alive. Someone’s life is going to be better because of your willingness and discipline to ACT.

Work against your doubts, act against your fear, move against the ungodly tide, take responsibility for that gift you have been given and ACT.

Go speak to Dad and let him know you have forgiven him, go speak to your boss and share your interest in the new position, stop procrastinating on sharing Christ with that co-worker, stop putting off your quiet time with God and His Word, start that book, start working on that business idea, start working on that ministry……just ACT. Act now, before there is no more time left.

PURSUE PURPOSE!