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‘The Intentional Parenting Plan’ – wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

In Uncategorized on July 23, 2014 at 3:46 am

‘The Intentional Parenting Plan’ – wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports.

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The untruths about minority teacher hiring in Jonesboro

In Uncategorized on August 8, 2013 at 6:03 pm

(published in The Sun on August 8, 2013)

The untruths about minority teacher hiring in Jonesboro

I read with great interest your recent article titled, “Minority teachers tough to find in NEA” that a former student posted on Facebook. This article presented an issue that has plagued school districts in that region for decades without solutions presented. I want to herein shed some light on this troublesome issue.

School districts in the region are not truly interested in hiring minority candidates for teaching in their schools. During my tenure at Arkansas State University, we recruited more minority students to participate in the state-funded Minority Teacher Scholars Program than any other four-year institution in the state.

For years, we recruited, mentored and coached high quality students to become classroom teachers. Our students were well prepared to meet the teaching and learning needs of the area school districts, but few of our students were ever offered jobs. Many of these (former students) teachers have gone on to earn master’s degrees, doctorates and certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

In 2000, more than 20 minority students graduated from ASU with teaching degrees from the Department of Teacher Education. That year three of those students were offered positions with Jonesboro Public Schools — one Filipino American and two African Americans. Several others were granted interviews, but were not offered positions in area schools.

These students were well qualified and were coached through the interview process. They both dressed the part and spoke the language in efforts to be successful.

What happened to those students is unconscionable in a district that claims to want to recruit minority teachers. The teaching positions were offered (in April) to non-minority candidates, the sons and daughters of other educators and community folk in the district. It wasn’t until July of that year that two other minority students were offered teaching positions. They had already accepted jobs elsewhere, but one chose to accept the position offered by Jonesboro and remains a teacher there today.

Jonesboro has many minority classroom teachers who commute daily to other school districts to teach. Most of them were never offered a position with either school district in Craighead County, although that would have been their first choice. It is my understanding that interviews for positions are held in late March to early April and that jobs are offered before ASU’s May graduation. When students are not offered positions by graduation, many of them have no choice but to vacate their Jonesboro housing and either return home or move to a district that has offered them a position. They cannot wait for the district to make up its mind or for the leftovers of non-minority candidates.

There has been no real plan or policy in place in the area school districts to effectively recruit minority classroom teachers because recruiting these individuals is not a district or community priority. Each year excuses are given about not being able to find minority teachers or recruit them to come to Jonesboro. Perhaps if district leaders continue to spout those untruths, then they and others in the community will come to think of their statements as facts. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Minority teachers will come to Jonesboro and teach, but the district has to make a sincere, not half-hearted effort, to recruit and retain them in their classrooms. It is never enough to send postcards and to show up at job fairs to get those who you say you want in your classrooms. Present day teacher candidates use much more sophisticated means of interacting with others.

Minority recruits want to know that you are interested in them as human beings in their personal as well as professional growth and development, the same level of interest that you show to non-minority candidates. And they do not want to feel as if they are the consolation prize — that is, they got the jobs that other candidates turned down. They want meaningful human interactions that show that you see the value, worth and promise that each human being brings. They don’t want district leftovers. Like other candidates, they want to be treated with dignity and respect.

Here are some possible solutions. Hire someone like Dr. Lillie Fears to help the district(s) recruit prospective candidates. There are folk in the teacher education programs across the region and state that can identify current students who would be excellent classroom teachers.

Develop a vision and a written plan for recruiting minority teachers with action steps attached that show that you value having minority teachers in your classrooms to meet the ever-increasing need of mentorship for children of color. Increase your recruitment efforts showing that you are interested in minority teachers, and hold each other (district administrators) accountable for annual results.

Do more to connect in meaningful ways with minority teachers. Find out who they are and their interests. After all, they are human beings too and just want to have an opportunity to share their gifts of teaching and learning with our children.

Finally, be honest with yourselves about past failures to recruit minority teachers and work to rectify those mistakes. Then and only then will you begin to see better results of the desire to hire minority classroom teachers.

100 Ways to Encourage Your Child

In Uncategorized on October 13, 2012 at 7:09 pm

 

If we want to truly impact the next generation in a positive way, we must learn to speak words of praise and encouragement into their lives. Proverbs tells us that life and death are in the power of the tongue. There’s tremendous power in the words that we speak, particularly those that we speak over our children. Speak life to your children. Here are a few phrases to get you started.

 

  1. You’re a superstar.
  2. You light up my life.
  3. I’m so glad you are here.
  4. I knew you could do it.
  5. There’s greatness inside of you.
  6. I am pleased with you.
  7. You’re brilliant.
  8. How creative!
  9. You’re a genius!
  10. That’s brainy.
  11. You’re a great thinker.
  12. I like the way you did/said/wrote/played that.
  13. There’s no one like you.
  14. Go for it.
  15. Try it!
  16. You can do it.
  17. You’re wonderful.
  18. You have a purpose for being here.
  19. How beautiful!
  20. That was clever.
  21. There’s a plan for your life.
  22. You used wisdom.
  23. Thanks for being yourself.
  24. You light up the room with your smile.
  25. What a witty boy/girl!
  26. You showed lots of energy.
  27. That was resourceful.
  28. You deserve a medal.
  29. You’re quick.
  30. God is going to use you mightily.
  31. I speak blessings into your life.
  32. That’s a fresh idea.
  33. You have a keen sense of direction.
  34. You’re on the ball.
  35. Awesome!
  36. I’m glad you’re mine.
  37. Bravo!
  38. Marvelous!
  39. I am grateful for you.
  40. Your laughter makes my day.
  41. I thank God for you every day.
  42. You are so talented.
  43. You are blessed with many gifts.
  44. You dazzle me with your brilliance.
  45. How astute!
  46. That’s ingenious!
  47. You made a shrewd decision.
  48. Outstanding!
  49. You give me hope.
  50. I enjoy coming home to you.
  51. I will always love you.
  52. That’s forward thinking.
  53. You are precious to me.
  54. You have a promising future.
  55. You matter to me.
  56. You’re so bright.
  57. How productive!
  58. That’s very mature of you.
  59. Now, you’re ready.
  60. You’re a quick learner.
  61. Your smile is contagious.
  62. Loving you is easy.
  63. You’re stupendous!
  64. I enjoy spending time with you.
  65. You’re phenomenal!
  66. You did your best, and I am pleased.
  67. Keep showing how intelligent you are.
  68. You’re so helpful.
  69. You’re focused.
  70. You made it.
  71. That was cool.
  72. You bring me joy.
  73. I cherish you.
  74. Thank you for your hard work.
  75. You’re powerful beyond measure.
  76. You did it!
  77. You showed tremendous courage.
  78. You’re strong.
  79. Take a bow; you did well.
  80. You’re so smart that your head should be in Washington, D.C.
  81. You showed discipline.
  82. You’re going places.
  83. You are special.
  84. I adore you.
  85. Smartness looks good on you.
  86. Your work shows great insight.
  87. You are the best.
  88. You are made in the image of God.
  89. Continue to do excellent work.
  90. Way to grow!
  91. How magnificent!
  92. Wonderfully done!
  93. Your positive attitude will take you far.
  94. What a scintillating thought!
  95. Your bravery made a difference.
  96. Thank you for being honest.
  97. I wouldn’t trade you for anything.
  98. You can do anything.
  99. You’re a blast!

100. You are valuable to me.

 

He’s Been Faithful

In Uncategorized on June 21, 2011 at 9:14 pm

He’s Been Faithful

Today I looked in my God Box for the first time in several years. I guess you’re wondering what a God Box is. It’s a box that I was given years ago as a place to store cards with prayer requests for what I want to see God do in my life. For a few years, I kept the box by my bedside and would write my prayer concerns on a card and date it. Over the past four years, that box has been on my dresser and left untouched. I opened it today as I pondered the notion of God’s faithfulness.

As I reviewed the cards, I realized that there were many answered prayers that I had not acknowledged as having been answered. I looked at the cards and thought about the prayer concerns I had when I wrote them on the cards; and I thought about the prayer requests that had gone unanswered as well as those that had been answered. All-in-all, there were more answered prayers than there were unanswered prayers. My conclusion: He’s been faithful.

Most of my prayer concerns centered around meeting the needs of my children; particularly, their success in school, their safety, and their general physical well-being. Answered! The best places for my children – answered! Transportation concerns – answered! Good health – answered! Strength for the journey – answered! Traveling mercies – answered! Forgiveness – answered! All answered prayers.

There were also prayers that have remained unanswered or that were not answered in the manner in which I had prayed. My mother’s health tops that list. While praying for her healing, divine healing in a perfect body was not what I had in mind, but it was on God’s mind. Other prayer concerns include requests that I am still in preparation to receive. Some of the things that remain unchecked on those cards are concerns that while my mouth indicated that I wanted them, my actions and the meditations of my heart have indicated otherwise. Still, not answering those prayers at an inappropriate time is an act of faithfulness.

All in all, He’s been faithful. He’s been what I needed when I needed it, even when what was happening did not feel good or was not to my liking. And even though there are still things that I do not understand, I know that I can still trust God’s heart to know and do what is best for me. And friends, that’s easier said than done, because I still want what I want when I want it. It still remains a challenge for me to wait on God.

Today, recount God’s faithfulness in your life.

Christians Don’t Need “A” National Day of Prayer

In Uncategorized on May 2, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Christians Don’t Need “A” National Day of Prayer

Christians don’t need “A” national day of prayer. For the Christian, those who are committed to a lifestyle of prayer and who are constantly seeking God’s way, every day is a day of prayer. Many Christians who oppose the current presidential administration in this country have taken offense at nothing. Some claim incorrectly that our president is opposed to a national day of prayer, while others find fault with Muslims having had an opportunity to pray at the White House. Both notions are erroneous and demonstrate a lack of faith, acceptance, and understanding. One posits that because the Muslims prayed at the White House, that in some way denounces Christianity by the administration. That is not true. Throughout the history of this country, non-Christians have always visited the White House. And I’m sure that on more than one of those occasions the visitors had the need to pray while at the White House. Likewise, when American Christian presidents have visited other countries that were not Christian, I am sure those presidents also invoked prayer as a source of strength to get them through their visits. So, prayer is a common occurrence, especially for those of us who call upon the name of God.

Prayer for Christians is supposed to be a constant state of being because it challenges us to surrender our thoughts and ideas and submit them to a loving God who has our best interests at heart. The Psalmist David talked about praying evening, morning, and noon in Psalm 55:7. Our prayers should constantly be going forth, not just when someone else tells us we should pray, or when a special day is set aside for prayer, but always.

Christians should always be in prayer. Prayers serve many purposes. Prayers may be given for praise and glorifying God as a form of worship. The Psalmist in Psalm 119:164 says that he praises God seven times a day. In Psalm 34:1, he says that his praise shall continually (always) be in my mouth. Numerous scriptures point Christians to the need to offer praise to God, our Father and Creator out of adoration for who He is. If praise is a form of prayer in which Christians should constantly engage, why do we need a special day for it?

There are prayers of confession. These prayers challenge us to admit to our own wrongdoings whether be by commission or omission. Some sin we choose to deliberately commit, while others are committed because we unintentionally made a mistake or made a poor choice. We are all guilty of doing something wrong each and every day. We are not perfect and can never be perfect in our humanity. It is only through the blood of Jesus that we can ever reach perfection in the life to come. Since we are not perfect, there is a daily need for repentance through prayer. Through prayer we confess our role in our sinful nature, repent (turn away from), and seek God’s forgiveness. So yet again, we should be in constant prayer.

Each of us can identify something for which we should be grateful. If you are reading this, you can be thankful for vision, the ability to read, access to technology and the ability to use it, electricity, and a warm and dry place to live, just to name a few reasons why we should be thankful. Giving thanks to God is another form of prayer. We should always give thanks, and even if our life is not what we would consider as ideal, we still have things for which we should be grateful. Prayer is one way of demonstrating our gratitude to God, so we should pray daily and thank Him for His goodness to us.

Finally, we always find room to pray and ask God for things for ourselves and our loved ones. As humans, we are always in need of something and since God is our Father, He has told us to ask Him in prayer for whatever our needs are. This is one form of prayer that few of us ever omit. We always ask for something, and so it is that supplication through prayer is a daily activity for many of us. We ask for blessings in the form of healing, financial blessings, favor with others, success in our jobs and careers, success with schooling, etc. As humans, we all want to the recipients of God’s blessings and so we pray daily and ask for them. Philippians 4:6 says, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

Christians, therefore, do not need a national day of prayer. Prayer is a way of life for us. Daily prayer keeps us focused on the one who is the author and finisher of our faith, the lover of our souls, our way-maker, our strength and shield, our friend, and our creator. For the Christian, every day is a day of thanksgiving, of praise and adoration, and a day of a constant call to repentance. If there was only one day when Christians could or should pray, that would be a sad commentary on the power of God in our lives. Because of God’s blessings on Christians in this country, we can pray every day and do not have to wait for anyone to declare when we can or ought to pray. Every day is a national day of prayer. If you’re praying on the first Thursday in May of each year, it should be because you pray daily as a Christian and not because someone has decided that is the day to pray. As Christians, we are called to pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17).

II Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” If we truly want to see change in our lives and in this country, we should pray daily and not just on “a” national day of prayer. Such a single day is probably for those for whom prayer is not a way of life. When will you pray?

If you are a Christian and are critical of the current presidential administration, read Exodus 22:28, Ecclesiastes 10:20, Acts 23:5, Romans 13:1, and I Peter 2:17. Those scriptures call for us to pray for our leaders and for those in authority over us. Once again, Christians are called to be in constant prayer. The controversy around the National Day of Prayer is a distraction from what we should be doing, praying. And it’s an effort to malign the current presidential administration. Let’s pray today and every day.

Are You a Sheep or a Goat?

In Uncategorized on March 22, 2010 at 3:06 pm

My first real encounter with universal health care was in 1977 when I was a student studying in Paris, France. This was foreign to me in many ways. First, I had grown up in a home where you only went to the doctor after a barrage of home remedies had failed to work. There were no annual check-ups or preventive care of any kind. We went to the doctor after the sore throat had advanced to something more serious. There were no dental cleanings and check-ups, so you went to the dentist when a tooth hurt, which usually meant decay beyond saving the tooth.

My mother and aunt worked to support us. They were a part of the working poor who had no health or dental insurance. Fortunately for us as children, we did not know that we were supposed to have preventive health care or dental care. That was life for us and we did not know otherwise. So when the other international students in Paris told me about getting a student identification card, I did not understand that getting that card would also provide health insurance for me. Like other students in Paris, I was issued an identification card, given a check-up, and given immunization updates, including a tuberculosis vaccine. As a student, I wondered back then why such benefits were not available to American students back home. Now, I know why.

The health care debate and bill have caused demons of all kinds to surface as those who have expressed opposition to it have responded in less than civil ways. Their responses have shown us the conditions of their hearts, which for many is not pretty. We have seen folk take to the streets, use racial slurs with regard to President Obama, and most recently, engage in violence toward supporters of the health care bill. Our legislators have been bombarded with phone calls from the “religious right” in staunch opposition to the health care bill, and I have even heard Christians on television say that this health care bill is rooted in Karl Marx’s socialism. They make the stretch that if it’s rooted in socialism, then, it’s anti-Christian because Marx said that “religion is the opium of the masses.” I will not begin to attempt to explain what Marx meant, but I do know that Gandhi said that he might have become a Christian if he had ever met one. That does not bode well for Christians.

For the record, those of us who have enjoyed the benefits of police protection, fire protection, use of public libraries, and bought school lunches have all benefited from socialized services. Yes, if you paid for your child’s school lunch today, you participated in a socialized service. If school children actually paid the full cost of their lunches, more of us would send sack lunches to school with our children. So, although we say we do not want socialism of any kind, we have already been willing and active participants in and recipients of socialized services. Why do we want to draw the line when it comes to health care for all?

Although the world would have us to think that we are supposed to look out for ourselves first, that is not biblical. We are to love God first, our fellow man second, and ourselves third. We are to love others just as we love ourselves. Of those who are in opposition to heath care for all, how many would not want health care for themselves? Probably not many would want to not have health care, if any. We all want to feel, think, and believe that if we have a health concern that we have access to the services and medicines we need in order to make us feel better and prolong our lives. We want to live.

In the parable of “The Sheep and the Goats” found in Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus tells us that when the Son of Man returns in His glory, He will separate the sheep from the goats. The sheep will be on the right, because they are the ones who will inherit the kingdom of God. They are the ones who took care of the hungry, thirsty, homeless, needy, sick, and imprisoned. The goats will be on the left and will be sent to the eternal fire because they did not take care of the hungry, thirsty, homeless, needy, sick and imprisoned. Jesus went on to tell the people that if they did not serve “one of the least of these” they did not do it for Him. So, today as we all debate the issues related to health care, are you a sheep or a goat? Choose you this day what you will be, a sheep or a goat. Just understand the consequences of your choice.

This health care bill has the potential to transform health care for many families. Did you know that all children will now be covered, and that they can be covered up to age 26? That is a win-win for families. Did you know that preventive care will be free? Remember the annual check-ups? These are just a couple of the benefits of this health care bill. All of our lives have the potential to change with better health care coverage for all.

For those of you have have the potential to be goats, take the time to take another look at the health care bill.

3 Gifts Every Child Should Have at Christmas

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2009 at 12:38 pm

My Aunt Doris first read the Christmas story to us from Matthew 2 in the New Testament. From the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas day, she would sit us down each morning and read that story to me and Buster. After I learned to read, sometimes she would let me read it, and soon after that, I had most of the story memorized. It was through those readings that I learned the true meaning of Christmas. That gift of reading the story of Christ’s coming has made all of the difference in my life and provided the foundation for two additional gifts in our home.

There are three things every child should have at this Christmas season and throughout the year. The gift of sharing the Christmas story in the Bible is the lead-in to the first and most important gift. It was through that story sharing that I began to know and understand how much God loves me, and that He loved me enough to send His only Son to be born on earth, minister to us, and then die for us on a cross. That was the ultimate sacrifice and demonstration of love. It was also an invitation for me to enter into a relationship with God the Father through Jesus. The love of God is the first gift every child should have this Christmas. Every child should know and understand God’s love for her/him and the importance of showing our love for God.

The second gift that every child should know is the gift of giving. Most of us spend time thinking about what we will get for Christmas when we should actually be thinking about what we can and should be giving to others. Children should be taught early how to give to others through love and service. Through acts of giving, children learn to think about the needs of others and about how they can contribute to meeting those needs. Their contributions can include serving food at churches or shelters, giving material possessions, assisting in someone’s home, or providing other acts of kindness. In the end, children will learn the importance of giving to others and learning to love others as they love themselves.

Finally, every child should experience love, joy, peace, and safety in their homes. When a child is truly loved by parents and/or caregivers, she/he feels peace and joy, and is safe in the living environment. Demonstrations of love offer children a sense of security, of hope, and of serenity. Every home has difficulties, but a home environment that is based on love rooted in God’s word will provide the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of the child that helps to overcome any difficulty. The child will know that she/he is cherished and will learn to love her/himself.

At this Christmas season, let’s all help the children in our lives come to know the love of God through a right relationship with Him. Share the Christmas story, the story of Christ’s coming to earth. Help our children learn to love others as themselves through giving to others in love and service. Lastly, show love to children that manifests itself in meeting the many and varied needs of each child.

Where Are Your Eyes?

In Uncategorized on November 13, 2009 at 10:36 am

Where are Your Eyes?

What problem or concern are you facing today? How big is it? How will you solve it? Who will help you solve it? Where are your eyes?
Each day we face issues and concerns that seem difficult. We allow those concerns to weigh us down in ways that are sometimes unproductive and unhealthy. We spend hours working to investigate and solve the problem without the benefit of prayer seeking the right answer from the One who knows all. We look to others to help us solve our problems and to help to make things better, while they have their own concerns. We call friends and family members who help us bemoan the concern and offer limited insight to the problem. But where are your eyes?
The Psalmist David says that he will lift up his eyes unto the hills because that is where his help comes from (Psalm 121). Our help comes from God and God alone. Our eyes should be on the face of God. It is God who has the answers to all of our needs and concerns. His face is the one into which we should look when the cares of this world seem to weigh us down. His heart is the one we should seek to know more intimately as we learn to trust and depend on Him for our needs. And His wisdom is what we should yearn for as we begin to make decisions about what we should do.
Many times, however, we think that our concerns are too big for God to handle. At other times, we think that the problem is so minor that we should not trouble God with it. But whatever the size of the problem, He is waiting for you to invite Him in to become a part of the solution. Whatever matters to us matters to God, no matter what the size of the problem. He yearns to interact and fellowship with us because we were created for His glory.
Like David, we should look to the hills for our help. And when we look to the hills as we seek to know God in a better way, He will meet us there and our eyes will meet. It is through our seeking God that He provides us with the knowledge, understanding, and wisdom that we need to handle any concern. As we look to Him in prayer, He will tell us specifically what we need to do in any circumstance. God alone already has the answer to whatever concern you have today. He’s waiting for you to look to the hills. He’s waiting for you to seek His face. He’s waiting for you to trust Him with the concern. He’s waiting on your eyes to meet His eyes. So, as you struggle with your concern today, where are your eyes? Are they on God or on the problem? Are they on you? Are they on others? Set your eyes on the face of God. It is He who will see you through.

What Mask Are You Still Wearing?

In Uncategorized on November 1, 2009 at 1:52 am

Many of us recently took part in wearing masks in recognition of Halloween. But at the end of Halloween, did you remove your masks? Not just one mask, but the many masks that we all wear daily. What about those masks? How many masks do you wear?

When I was a child, we called masks “false faces.” They were not who we truly were; they were just a temporary disguise to fool those around us who really knew who we were. The false face was an opportunity for us to hide ourselves from the reality that faced us. While it was fun and brought us treats from our neighbors, it was temporary and held no real value for us. It was fleeting, and on the day after wearing the false face, we were back to our old selves.

As adults, many of us wear various forms of make up to hide what’s really there. Some would say that make up is used to enhance our appearances, but many use make up to hide blemishes and other skin imperfections that society has told us are unattractive to others. We hide behind our make up, often concealing our natural appearances. It is in that hiding place that many of us seek comfort as we keep the secret of who we really are hidden from view.

Then there are those of us who wear masks daily. Our masks are worn to hide and to protect. We want to hide who we really are because on some level we believe that acknowledging who we really are is way too painful for us to handle. So we hide… behind unintended smiles, grimaces, religious statements, styles of clothing, hair color, and meaningless actions that we use to mask who we really are and what we really feel.

Still others of us wear masks to protect ourselves. We think, feel, or believe that there is a need for us to protect ourselves from tremendous hurt and pain that others would inflict on us if we dare to be open and honest about who we truly are. We feel that if we take down our masks just one time, others would see our unmentionable little secrets that they would in turn use to destroy us.

So what mask are you still wearing? It is a mask rooted in fear that others will hurt you should they come to know the real you? It is a mask rooted in dishonesty and deception? Or is it a mask created to protect? Halloween is over, but have you removed your mask? Have you settled up with who you really are? Are you able to face yourself and be who you really are with others? Can you be true to you? To your friends?

Let’s start anew today. Remove one mask at a time. Be true to you.

Forgive…and move on!

In Uncategorized on October 21, 2009 at 9:51 pm

Has anyone ever hurt you? Did your mate cheat on you or break up with you all of a sudden for no reason? Did someone steal your parking space? Has someone lied on you without cause? Were you mistreated because of your size, age, race, hair color, shoe size, ability, or gender? Or were you the victim of pure deception? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, listen up. Forgive and move on.

God calls us daily to forgive those who have wronged us, no matter what the offense. He calls us to let it go, even when the hurt lingers. Pain never feels good, but often God allows us to feel pain so that we can begin to listen more intently to what He has to say to us in a particular area. He wants our attention.

There are numerous times in my life when I have been called upon to forgive. One example is of when I was a young woman and in love with a young man who I thought was my soul mate. We were both intellectually stimulated and came from similar religious backgrounds, or so I thought. We were friends and shared everything, or so I thought. In sharing our goals, it seemed as if we also had similar life goals and desires for family, or so I thought. But little did I know that he had not been totally open with me, and many of the notions that I thought were similarities were mere deceptions.

During my sophomore year of college, we had begun to discuss marriage. What was to happen during the summer between my sophomore and junior years of college was supposed to be a marriage proposal. What happened instead knocked me for a loop.

I had studied abroad during the spring semester of that year in Paris. While there, I wrote letters and send him postcards. He responded once or twice. My roommate noticed his lack of attention and I had played it off as insignificant. I continued to write, not listening to my gut and the knowing that something was not right. I did not want to face the fact that maybe I had not made a good choice in choosing to go as far as I’d gone with him. And I wanted God to make it right. But God didn’t make it right and allowed me to feel intense pain.

Near the end of the summer in what seemed like a normal telephone conversation, he dropped the bomb. Although we had shared many conversations, events, and activities, nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to hear. Instead of proposing or even continuing the proposed marriage conversation, he told me that he was bisexual.

It was the late 1970’s and back then the only sexuality that was openly acceptable was heterosexuality. I was stunned. As I hung up the phone, I wondered what I would do next. I couldn’t tell anyone because all of my family, his family, and my friends thought of us as having the potential to make a nice married couple. The expectation was that we would be together. Furthermore, pastors and churches did not even address sexual issues, let alone homosexuality. I turned inward, and wondered what might be wrong with me for him to say such a thing. We had been intimate and everything seemed normal to me. I continued to hope that he would rethink his thoughts and decide to be heterosexual. It didn’t happen.

By September of that year, he declared that he was homosexual and that he would only pursue relationships with men. I was devastated.
So how did it end? And what did I do? Well, first of all, I immediately entered another unhealthy relationship on the rebound (another story for another day). My self-esteem plummeted and I blamed him for many years for destroying what coulda, shoulda, woulda been a “good relationship.” I was angry with him and carried that anger from one failed relationship to another. It took me years to learn to forgive and come to terms with what really happened.

So what really happened? He potentially saved my life by eventually telling me the truth about his sexuality. His honesty, however painful it was at the time, saved the hurt that often comes when individuals choose to live a lie. And God allowed me to feel that pain to save me from a situation that could have been ten times worse than what it was.

And what did I learn? I learned that even in pain, it is important to forgive. Forgiveness is not for the other person; it’s for you. It releases you to cleanse your emotions, thoughts, and feelings in order to be able to attract the new and refreshing love of others. It releases you from the pitfalls of anger and bitterness, and thereby, allowing you to become a better person. And finally, forgiveness allows you to heal. Wherever pain has been, there is a scar that represents the wound where the skin was opened and the tissue was exposed, but forgiveness allows the wound to heal and to become less noticeable.

Forgiveness for me began with acknowledging my part in the situation. I had to own it. Then, I had to begin to say the words “I forgive him” to myself so that I could begin to heal and move forward in a more positive and healthy direction. It was at that point that my healing began. I had to say it more than once until it was truly manifested in me.

Today, he and I are dear friends. As we talk and share today, I thank him for his honesty at that time, even though it was painful. He continues to share that he could not live with such a lie and that he thought it was best for all involved.

God calls each of us to forgive those who have wronged us, no matter what the offense. It is when we hold on to unforgiveness that we become angrier and bitter. That bitterness is often reflected in all that we do. It hinders our walk with God, and keeps us from attracting better.

What unforgiveness are you holding? Let it go. Forgive, and move on.

Read Matthew 6:14-15