Big Ole Slice of Humble Pie

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I first heard about our church’s internship program 2 years ago. I was in awe that such an opportunity existed, the chance to be mentored by some of the greatest ministers and world changers in this city!!! God dropped it in my heart then that I would one day go through this internship program. A year later I applied but had to gracefully withdraw myself from the application process due to high demands at work.

Internship came with its own set of struggles… There was a mandatory discipleship course that started at 4, in the valley (if you live in LA you know what that means lol) and 15 hours of volunteer work had to be completed in the area of interning. As a single mother of 3 children working a full time job, these challenges seemed to intensify.

I prayed to the Lord and simply asked Him to let me know when to apply again… Seasons went by and quite a few changes were made. In December of last year I heard the Lord tell me I was in preparation… Not 100% sure what for but I knew that God was preparing me for something so when the internship season came around again in January, I knew this was the time. I knew God was leading me so I was confident that my job and life demands would line up with the required schedule of internship. I cleared a flexible schedule with my boss and applied for an opportunity to intern in our outreach department. I had not asked God where I should intern, I figured I knew best since I have a heart for outreach… and He gave me my heart, right??

I successfully went through all of interviewing phases and alas… I am accepted into the internship program… in kids… WHAT??!!??!! Yes, that was my initial response… “Oh NO this MUST be a MISTAKE!!!” “I didn’t even put kids on my application… How could they have gotten this screwed up???” Those were just a very small few of the words that came out of my mouth… shocking, I know lol. To say I had a fit would be a VAST understatement… I behaved like a 3 year old child who was hungry, ready for a nap and was just put in timeout… yeah, it was that bad. My mentor sat with me through my breakdown and in the kindest of words let me know that was not that serious lol… she reminded me that God is not subject to one path…. He has limitless ways to get to a desired destination. Although I heard all she said, I was adamant about throwing myself a pity party.

I went home later that evening and laid in the bed whining to God… bringing up old stuff (why do we always have to bring up old stuff), reminding God of all the other disappointments I’ve had. Then, as I am laying there, I am gently reminded of the prayer I prayed a few weeks back… “Lord, wherever to tell me to go, I will go… Whatever you tell me to do, I will do”… Talk about the softest, most loving SLAP in YOUR face lol… I immediately repented and allowed God to actually answer the questions I had in between the whining. He simply reminded me that He is Good and that He can see things I can’t… He knows what He is doing. In that moment I knew that interning in Kids is Gods plan and while I have no idea what is going to come of all this, He knows and that has to be enough.

I had to make some sacrifices in other areas of living and serving but with each one, God was right there giving me comfort and Joy. I am sure He was shaking His head while I was having my tantrum… probably saying “why is she doing this to herself” lol… But I am even more sure that He watched over me with warmth and satisfaction as I laid down my wants to follow His path.

Disappointment comes when our expectations (fantasies) don’t match up with our reality… It is wonderful to have dreams and expectations but our expectations for ourselves cannot be bigger than our desire to live wholeheartedly for God. Sometimes we can get so caught up on what could be… that we miss out on what is right now. God has so many promises for us in His word and He is constantly fulfilling them… I would hate to miss out on the move of God simply because it doesn’t look like I expected it to look.

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The Father…The Mentor

About a month ago, I was at my neighborhood Farmer’s Market enjoying the delicious samples of fruits and veggies, live music and sense of community surrounding me.  I decided to sit down, relax and enjoy an authentic veggie and carne aside taco complete with handmade chipotle salsa and chips.

While I was relaxing and enjoying my eats, something pretty awesome caught my eye.  There were two fathers with a total of 3 children each, sitting down and eating next to me.  These fathers were between there late 30’s early 40’s.  One father had a set of twin babies in a stroller & and a 4 year old.  The other father had 3 boys ranging in approximates ages of 12, 8 and 5.  The boys were right at home amongst their dads just being boys, laughing eating, moving, etc.

I just couldn’t stop taking in this view.  It just hit home how important the presence of a father is.  I asked the gentlemen if they were friends and they said yes.  I congratulated them and told them that I totally enjoyed seeing this site as I don’t see it very often.  I also informed them that I was going to write about it and share with others.

This article is not meant to make the single parent feel that they’re children are less than if they don’t have this opportunity with their father.  There are many children who see their father consistently, sporadically, not at all, and some may not even know who their father is.  Instead, this is a celebration of fathers who understand their significance of the role that they’ve been given, and mentors who reach out to assist when needed.

Always remember that if your child isn’t able to see his father consistently, that they have a Father in Heaven who knows and loves them inside out.  Also, know that you can always reach out to male family members, close male friends, males in your local church and even the Big Brother program for great role models.  This will allow your sons to be strengthened as they get to connect with someone who cares about them and may have even been in similar shoes at some point during their lives.  Never feel uncomfortable reaching out for support as most are excited to offer it, and will most likely tell you how much they benefited from the connection as well.  As great as our job as a mother is, we can only do so much as we’re not able to teach our sons how to be men.

I have personally lived this out, as I currently raise two boys of my own, ages 16 & 8, who get to see their father but not at consistently as I’d like.  So, I myself have been on a journey of reaching out to all of the suggested males that I just listed above.  These role models have positively impacted and assisted  in the growth of my boys, while showing them what being surrounded by positive men is really about.  Not only are these men making a positive impact in my boys lives, but there making the world as a whole better, as my son’s will be better men because of their compassion to reach out.  This also shows my boys how much they are loved by their Heavenly Father, who thought enough of them to send other positive men to come up beside them on their journey in life.   My hope is that at some point in the future, my boys will decide to give back the mentorship that was given to them to someone in need.

I’m not the only one who’s kids are able to benefit from what positive males have to offer.  Ask for assistance for your kids if they need it, as they deserve it.

Please remember to celebrate and thank the fathers and male mentors in your life for a job well done!

~Stacy McClendon

This article can also be flipped by applying ‘girls’ and ‘women’ where ‘boys’ and ‘men.’

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