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Philippians 3:13-14

May 8, 2016: My grandpa died.

May 16, 2016: I attended the funeral of someone I loved for the first time.

My grandpa and I talked regularly to catch up on our lives, or that’s what he led me to believe– he really just wanted to check in on his granddaughter.

On that Monday, I checked in with him one last time with a group of strangers I call family.  One by one we reflected on what he had done for each of us and, as these strangers expressed their grief in his passing and joy in knowing him, we bonded over his memory. Tears were shed, but you could feel the love he had imparted on his community and family during his lifetime. I couldn’t help but wonder if my death would bring the same reaction. It was evident that in his church, marriage and overall life he worked to make an impact on each person he came in contact with– even if it was just through a smile or “how are you?” I know I try to be as nice as possible and I’m almost always respectful, but would it matter if I left today? So as his niece, my cousin, expressed how wonderful he and his siblings were, I decided to make a genuine effort to leave my best, positive impact on this world.

I resolved to be kinder and more loving, to walk like a real Christian and read my Bible as often as possible because there wasn’t a day when my grandpa wasn’t enjoying the Word. They say people change people, and if ever there was a man who could do it it was Jesus, but my grandpa was His servant so I guess he could too. He sure changed me. My grandpa showed me that even when you’re sick and can’t do what you use to, you can still do what you can do. And, if he can be that example, I can do what I can do now without waiting.

My grandpa always encouraged me to go after my dreams. If there was an opportunity, he wanted me to take it and make the most of it. He taught me that you have to work for what you want, and that while you’re working– if you work hard enough– something extra may come through. My grandpa’s mission wasn’t to be the example he was, but his work led him to be just that.

Peace, love and fairy dust,

His Privy Princess

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2016 in Be Encouraged

 

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Against all odds

I went to college.

“BY definition, foster children have been delinquent, abandoned, neglected, physically, sexually and/or emotionally abused … two-thirds never go to college and very few graduate … those who do have an uncommon resilience,”  said New York Times in October 2013.

Five of those listed apply to me. Four applied to me from first to sixth grade. One applies to me now. I guess you can say that I’m abnormally resilient because even after it all I still smile, and laugh, and believe in myself and others.

I was physically abused from the age of six to eleven, sexually abused from age ten to eleven, and by age twelve I was homeless at no fault of my own. (The only upside to being homeless was that the abuse stopped– or at least it did for me. My mom took what I wasn’t getting.)  I was placed in foster care a week before my twelfth birthday, and I only had my younger brother to keep me going. We didn’t see my mom for a year and when we did we had to live with my grandma. Yet through it all I smiled and didn’t complain.  Now I’m a college sophomore majoring in journalism. But I didn’t avoid all the stereotypes.

I was a run away for about 3 days- left all my purses and shoes at home, so I had to go back and get them. (That’s how they got me– packing light has never been my specialty.) I lost my virginity younger than most of my friends. When the guy and I broke up it hurt more than I could have ever imagined, and I lashed out even more. (It was the whole not having a father complex I suppose.) My lashing out got me into a lot of trouble and by the time I turned sixteen I had learn more affective ways to express myself.

However, I learned a little too late and it resulted in me getting raped a few days after my sixteenth birthday. It was the beginning of my sophomore year in high school.  I was broken for a few months. I still smiled and everything, but being raped again brought back horrible memories. I felt like that was what my life was always going to be: abuse and let downs.

Thankfully I had a great family– literally and figuratively speaking– and they helped me through it all. Many didn’t think I was going to make it through high school– let alone graduate with scholarships. The idea of me not being pregnant seemed nothing short of a miracle to many, and of course people questioned my influence as a young lady in a church, but I kept going. I kept smiling. I kept encouraging, and I kept my head up. I got through it all and I’ve made it where I am now. Believe it or not I’m thankful for the experiences I’ve had because I can help those in the same position(s) or heading for the same trouble. I’m now a single college student, without any children, a lot of great friends and even better dreams, so I would say that the New York Times was right– I am pretty resilient.

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2014 in Be Encouraged

 

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