Plans – Wrestling with What Is and What Isn’t

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

No, I’m not dead. I’m very much still here, actually.

I’m still dancing, and that’s not going too bad for me.

I’m still studying health science in my spare time for fun, still exercising and dieting, and still dating the same wonderful woman I have been for what will be coming up to two years now. If I count all those things, I should be feeling blessed. I should be feeling like I’m more than content, but happy, and not needing of assistance from people.

But in all reality, I’m actually struggling.

Continue reading “Plans – Wrestling with What Is and What Isn’t”

Morning Short #7 – Clay

8Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
We are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand.” –Isaiah 64:8

Think back to when you were in grade school, and you were playing with Play-Doh, or putty. Back then, it was an adventure—what could you make out of this random, extraordinary substance? Anything you could possibly imagine, right? The scope of what you could create was limited only by your childlike imagination, and as a kid, that’s a really wide scope! So you set to work and put your hands deep into it; you spent what seemed like immeasurable time trying to painstakingly make the perfect elephant, or the greatest spaceship you could think of.

You knew when everything was said and done, and you showed the finished product to your friends, parents and teachers, that it was going to be amazing—the best thing you’ve ever made.

Guess what? That’s how God imagines you, too.

Today, when you put your whole faith in Him, keep this in mind: not only is it just a painstaking process for you to be crafted as clay by the ultimate potter, but it’s the potter’s sheer and utter joy to make you into what you will be! He delights in using his vast imagination—and that’s a whole lot of imagination beyond us, because Dad’s omniscient—and is excited, just as you were, to see the end result! God is absolutely pumped to be working on you, the clay, and He, the potter, because you are an amazing creation, and are being lovingly and joyously shaped for His purposes.

Rejoice in the process of being yet still an unfinished piece of pottery. There’s a whole lot of excitement and love going into this process of making you…you.

Written by: Michael “Bboy Roach1” Roach

Letters to You #3 – Proud

Hey You,

What’s up? I’ve been noticing some things have been changing lately.

Am I right? Things seem to be heading in a different direction for you—slowly, sure, but they are. You feel happier, even if it’s a tad. There are some positives that you’re taking away in your day-to-day activities. You’re finding more excuses to smile every once and a while. Heck, sometimes nothing extraordinary happens and you just look up to the sky and say, “Thanks, Jesus.” That’s great.

I want you to know I’ve been noticing, and I couldn’t be more proud of you. Really, I know, sometimes we don’t say that enough in our lives—that we’re legitimately proud of someone. Let alone that someone being you. But I am. We all are.

You’ve remained trusting. You’ve never given up on the goals that were laid out before you. You’ve soldiered on even when things were darkest and most bleak. When people said negative crap about you, you dared to say, “I love you, too”. Not only that, but you’ve grown more humble; you’ve gotten on your knees more, opened up more, cried out more, and been wholly content when everything was not-so-optimal. That takes a lot of heart, and a lot of faith.

Even with all the scars, they’re healing, and you’re finding ways to smile. That’s so admirable in its’ own right, because quite frankly the rest of us struggle with that.

God’s given you these blessings; these happy moments; these small blueberry slices of life. Because you’re not getting too haughty and you’re well aware of where and why they come. And that’s why we’re so proud. And I’m so proud. Because you’re truly letting transformation happen—growing and learning as the process exercises itself.

So keep on keeping on! Stay low to the ground to get as high as the sky. You’ve got a lot, a lot more work to do.

I’m proud of you for where you’ve been and where you’re going.

We all are.

Your friend,

 

Michael

Contempt – Confusion in the Search for Righteousness

The other day, while perusing through Facebook, I came across an associate of mine sharing an article from a website. It looked like a Christ-driven website, so I clicked it—because hey, I love hearing and sharing in Jesus’ works and testimony just as much as the next brother and sister.

What I read though, quite perplexed me and actually shocked me quite a bit. Frankly, it gave me that feeling of the “tinglies” in my head—that feeling where I want to be stirred to anger, but the Spirit tells me to know better. Straight up, I wanted to post a rebuking statement to said associate’s wall and release all the anger. “GO GET EM’!” My head was screaming as it got hotter and hotter.

Instead, I heard God tell me another direction: just give it a day and reflect in grace.

Luckily, I listened.

Continue reading “Contempt – Confusion in the Search for Righteousness”

Morning Short #6 – Gossip

“A gossip betrays a confidence,
but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.” –Proverbs 11:13 (NIV)

Being completely real, it’s extremely easy to gossip. It takes very little effort to think of someone and find fault, and want to talk about it. It’s even easier to hear personal things from someone—meant for only your ears—and tell someone else. That’s the weird thing about being human—we inherently want to judge, and want to find ourselves an excuse to slander even our friends. Think back to when you whispered words to a friend about someone else. Was it fruitful? Did you feel that you gained anything from it, besides maybe inflating your pride? Did it accomplish anything?

The answer is more often than not a resounding no. And there’s a reason for that—God doesn’t deal in un-truths and falsehoods, either. He doesn’t turn his back, go to one of his angels or another brother or sister in Christ and say blatant lies about you. Why? Because He works in absolute love, and that means transparency and honesty. He comforts you with the knowledge that what He has said—and is saying to you—is always 100% real, 100% the truth, and 100% from a place of affection. What’s more, He knows your darkest secrets, your inner most thoughts, and keeps them locked up.

He has no need to spread your baggage to everyone and their mothers, because your baggage isn’t most important to Him. Your heart is.

Today, believe in trust through truth. Know that love is reciprocated from an honest and truthful place. Keep in mind that God knows you inside and out, but your heart is the most precious thing—not your dirty laundry.

Written by: Michael “BBoy Roach1” Roach

 

 

 

 

International Women’s Day – Celebrating and Recognizing Women

Today is March 8th, and as some of you might recall, today is International Women’s Day! Happy International Women’s Day to all the strong ladies out there!

To set the record straight, today isn’t just a made up holiday. International Women’s Day is an important day to recognize the many achievements of women throughout the world in a variety of realms—from the political, to the social. This day is very much about women demanding equality in varying arenas of life historically; but this day also marks a day where women and men can come together in unity and celebration for women. From the powerful activism of Rosa Parks, to the love and hard work of the mother that raised you; today is about the importance of women in the world.

A brief history

rosaparks
Rosa Parks, a significant woman in history.

According to The Telegraph, the roots of International Women’s Day can be traced all the way back to 1908, when 15,000 women participated in a march through NYC to demand a slew of important issues be recognized, like voting rights and equal pay. Fast forward two years to 1910, and after Clara Zetkin, a woman representing the Social Democratic Party in Germany, proposed the idea; and a counsel of more than 100 women from 17 different countries agreed to it—IWD was made a legitimate day. The year 1913 is when the day was moved to March 8th, the day we celebrate it currently[1].

Men: we can join the women in our lives, too

As I alluded to earlier, today represents a day where women’s importance and role in society are rightfully recognized—real talk though, respectable men out there, we should be recognizing the importance of women in our lives every day. Because of that, guys, we should be putting our hearts out there today, too. If you have a mom, you should thank her and give her due respect for dealing with you (I did). If you have a significant other, girlfriend or spouse, you should tell her you love her and appreciate her role in your relationship. Go to your grandma today, give her a hug, and tell her she’s amazing (and also that her cookies are the bomb).

Understand that even as men, we need women in our lives. They are the people that help give us a future; the same people who endure endless amounts of ridiculous pain to bring us into the world. They are the forces in our lives that show us support and love, and work just as hard to be there for us as we do for them. On a less serious note, they tolerate our BS and egos when really we should be humbled—and sometimes they are awesome enough to do that for us, too.

Women are the teachers that pour into us to make us more intelligent; women are the nurses and medical professionals who help us when our bodies fail us. Women are the managers and bosses at our jobs that keep a level head and help us out, even when we probably suck and don’t deserve it sometimes. They’re beautiful artists, dope B-girls, powerful journalists, and even members of our government.

Don’t be afraid, no matter where you are, or who you are—to stand up for the rights of the women that surround you. Make it known that you think women are just as important as men in today’s society, whether you are a woman or a man. Join women not just today, but every day, in mutual understanding that their rights are worth standing up for, and that their role in our world is not only seen, but valued.

On a day that is designed for the recognition and rights of women, do just that—recognize their rights and their achievements.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Written by: Michael “Bboy Roach1” Roach


[1] International Women’s Day 2017: What is it, how did it start and why is it so important? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/international-womens-day-2017-did-start-important/

Suicide – An Open Letter for the Hurt

I was teaching a couple days ago at a school—a middle school—and everything was going pretty okay. Of course some of the kids would be a bit rambunctious at times, and have a little more kick in their step—they’re kids after all. As I was talking to a couple students and going over their assignments, two girls at the window started calling for everyone’s attention. “Look outside, look outside guys! Holy crap someone is on a stretcher!”

It was a young man, not moving, being taken away on a stretcher.

Come to find out some days later, he tried taking his life in a bathroom.

Obviously, for the sake of respect for the kid and his family, I’m not going to go into any more of the details. That’s not what I want to talk about. What I do want to talk about, and what I have felt urged to write once I got the free time, is the following post. Because in all honesty, not just in my community but in many communities across these United States, suicide has always been an issue. Not just with adults, but with youth—young kids that still have so much to experience in life.

So to those who, right this minute, might be contemplating the “ultimate” escape:

I understand where you’re coming from, really.

You feel ostracized and pressured. You feel like the weight of the world is not only on your shoulders, but on every atom in your body. It’s overwhelming; there’s a constant sense of dread for the next day that comes. Friends don’t understand you. Strangers definitely don’t understand you. And even your own flesh and blood don’t understand exactly what you’re going through.

It’s like the only way to get away from it all is to just not be there. You do feel the most at peace when you’re asleep, after all. Especially when there’s nothing around to push you more. Sleep is the ultimate get away.

So you contemplate the sleep that never ends.

There are things that you need to consider, though. Real important things that you might not realize because, in all honesty, you’re thinking in the present moment; and thinking about your current situation. You’re thinking about all the pain, all the sucky-ness of life. That’s okay, really, it is.

Take a deep breath, and close your eyes. Let the tears slowly roll down your cheeks. You’re hurting, and crying is good.

Now listen, please.

There are a number of people that do notice you in your day-to-day life. There are kids in your class, people in your work place, wherever—that pay attention to what you do and what you say. That time you made that dope joke, people legitimately laughed and smiled out of joy. That time you stood up and said the right thing, whether they acknowledged out loud or not, they noticed you were right.

You might think your friends don’t care about you anymore, but they do. They wonder in the back of their mind, “I wonder how they’re doing?” They know you’re hurting. They just don’t want to push too hard for the sake of being comforting. You know, and they know, that if they confront you too harshly about how you’re feeling…you might get testy. All they want is for you to hug them, and give them a high five and talk it out.

If you’re young and feeling alone…your parents do love you. Take it from me—I’ve been in your shoes when I was young. I thought those things you’re thinking, too. Parents though…they want the best for you and to protect you. They want to see you grow up and have an awesome future! It’s just that your situation is different than their situation. Parents aren’t super-people—they’re flawed, too. They secretly cry when you’re in pain, and wish they could do more to help comfort you. Seriously.

To the girls and guys out there that are teens and in a dark place, not only me, but a lot of people really are pulling for you and rooting for you. We care. We understand, and get it. Life sucks. It’s hard. People suck even more. And they can be even more difficult to deal with.

Suicide and ending your life doesn’t create a solution to those problems, guys. It simply hurts more people around you that you actually care about. It makes more of your peers feel lost and confused.

You mean so much—to not only your school, but your whole community. And if you decide that this is the way to end it all, you can bet that your whole city is going to be torn by it. Why?

Because more people love you than you can possibly imagine right now.

Now open your eyes. Back away from the knife; the pills; the tub; the car. Take a mental inventory of how legit you are. How much worth you still have to give, to show—no matter where you are in life. You are worth it. Honestly. There is, and never will be, another person like you in history. Bank on it.

Now listen to the silence around you.

Do you hear that voice in your head?

“Go out and live.”

Written by: Michael “Bboy Roach1” Roach

If you’re thinking about suicide; going through a rough time in life and need some emotional support; are depressed, or just need someone to legitimately talk to about the stress you’re facing:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Or

SCPL Chat: http://chat.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx

It’s confidential (no one keeps your information) and it’s free. They are professionals who simply want to listen to you, talk with and help you, and provide resources for you if you need it. Available 24/7, so anytime is a good time to reach out.