Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Grace With Skin On

He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arms, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young. Is 40: 1

Processing seems to be the theme of my life at the moment. With a whole lot of transitions happening the last few years, I’ve found myself in a place of thought. I am glad I am a work in process. I am ok with that because that means my God is not through with me yet.

Rejection is hard. There I said it. I let the words roll off of my lips. Or, it is maybe the feeling of rejection. Maybe, the feelings are all a lie. But for a brief moment, they felt like the truth.

That is what I felt the day my mom was stepping on an airplane to go live back East with her family.

Suddenly, I was no longer a 47 year old woman standing there in the middle of the cold airport, but I was a 6 year old little girl standing in a dark alley gripping her mom’s hand, while she placed all she could fit in a few suitcases to be shoved in the back of a car. In one quick moment, I was leaving behind grandmas, aunts, uncles, cousins, and even my dad. (I’ll talk more on this in another post)

Forty years has passed since that night in the dark alley; now my mom was loading on an airplane to head back to what she calls home.


Where does my identity originate? It’s often the hurt and pain of circumstances that want to stick a label smack on my forehead.

Unloved. Alone. Not Worthy. Orphan

I had a choice in those brief moments while I was standing in the airport. I could stay stuck, or I could believe God had a plan and a purpose for my life. He knew this day would come. Because nothing I went through or currently was going through was outside of my Heavenly Father’s grip or sight (I’m kinda relating to Joseph right now, who ended up in Egypt).

You know what? Grace lived out in the daily life is beautiful and hard all at the same time. Grace is causing me to open my heart-felt wounds and allow my Lord to come in and heal them.

Grace is allowing me to love and forgive those who have wronged me, even when the first response is to scream like a six year old little, girl and say,” This is not right!”

I get to live a life chosen, accepted, redeemed, and forgiven.

I was able to step back and calm that hurt little girl and let her know that everything in its time is working out. God had/has a plan all along.

I had a hard time writing this because I wanted to wrap it in a perfect, neat bow. However, life is messy sometimes. The process isn’t always perfect and pretty. Comfort comes from knowing that there is growth, healing, and a purpose…. Nothing is wasted.

Thank you, Jesus!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Talking as a Black Man

My son, Pastor Anthony, wrote this on his blog, and I wanted to share it because I think it speaks volumes.   

Croz Blogz


Race. It’s hot button issue right now. I guess it has been for has long as there’s been diversity in the world; however, with where the American climate is right now on the topic, I figured I’d share my perspective. No, I don’t want to argue about your hashtag or read you a list of statistics. That’s not the tone of my heart going into this blog. I simply  want to give you a glimpse into my experience as a man of color. What you decide to do my testimony, is up to you.
Through the grace of God, and the hard work of my parents, I never had to grow up in an environment common to most young African American males. I never had to worry about gang violence. I never had to worry about which route was the “safe” way to get home from school. We didn’t live in poverty. I was never blatantly discriminated for my race; I don’t recall falling victim to any hate crimes. I’ve had people call me “that word” before. I’ve had bottles thrown at me from moving cars as I’d ride my bike along the side of the road. Just the other day, I went to visit a building for work and the owner confused me with another man of color when I corrected him he simply stated,”oh well, you all look the same anyways, right?” I’ve had stuff like that happen…but none of the “bigger” realities of African-American youth made up my story. And so, I’m not going to sit here and try and fabricate something for the sake of an engaging blog post.
So, you may be thinking to yourself, “what’s the issue, Anthony?” You may be thinking, “see this is a great point! Those thug black people who are getting shot on the news must be asking for it because you’re not like them Anthony and nothing like that had ever happened to you! You’re different!” You may be thinking these things or you may have had those thoughts before (especially if you’re friends with me). However, in those statements lies what I want to talk about.
If I had a dollar for every time I heard “Anthony, you’re not really black. You’re the whitest black guy I know” growing up, I’d be one rich brotha. What people mean when they say this is, “Anthony, you don’t act how your race is supposed to (sometimes stereotypically) act.” And the truth is, no I don’t fall in line with what a lot of the African American culture represents. I’m a heavy metal listening, Toms-wearing, longboarding, man with a degree in English and the dance moves of a three-legged cow (as my wife would testify). I am who I am, and I’ve never tried to be anything or anyone else. However, there has been assumptive stigma put on that kind of thinking…because I don’t “act black” I’m immune from the realities of being a minority in America. This is simply not true and (I love you, my Caucasian friends) comes with some ignorance.
I remember when my family moved to the North Reno area (I was around 12). We moved into a quiet suburb, which was nice. However, one of our neighbors, down the street, hung a confederate flag over their house. I remember my mom cautioning us about this because the way to the local skate park and 7/11 involved walking past this house. “My family was nice!” “They would like us if they knew us!” I remember thinking…what did we do to deserve the feeling of having a knot in your stomach every time we would ride our bikes past that house, I thought. When I’m in the grocery store with my (white) wife and I catch people giving us looks, I know it’s not because we scored a killer deal on new sippy cups. When I’m driving and a cop is behind me and the thought goes through my head “be extra careful…you are black.” Even though I’m most likely driving to or from church and the cop behind is probably an awesome man or woman…the thoughts still surface. Why? Because at the end of the day, no matter how I talk or how I spend my free time…the color of my skin is still black, and there certain realities that come with that. I will have to pray for my children has they grow and head out into the world in a certain way because of their race. I will have to pray for my step daughter in a certain way because of the dynamics of growing up with a parent of color. It’s simply not as open and shut as “you don’t have anything to think about because you don’t act a specific way.”
Again, my desire isn’t to start a debate or accuse all white people of “not getting it.” I simply wanted you (the reader) to step into my shoes for a couple of minutes. Maybe you do need to seek a true understanding of what living as a minority looks like. Maybe you need to have real talks with your friends of a different race than yourself. Maybe you need to guard yourself against speaking too quickly when it comes to these sort of matters…especially if you’re not willing to do the work on the relational understanding end. Like I said earlier, what you decide to take away from this is up to you. For me, I think of all of this and I enter into a place of worship. Why? Because despite or even in spite of my race…heck even my actions, I am loved deeply by Jesus. Jesus, the son of God who’s grace and hope is for all colors, all races, all backgrounds, all heights , all weights, and all nations. I worship because, in His eyes, I’m not labeled as a “black guy” I’m called His friend, His family. In Him, that’s my identity.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

It is just a rock... to some people

I was doing science with my son the other day, and I discovered I have a new name to add to my list of titles: Rock Hound-a person who searches out and collects rocks.

 Yes, I am a lover of rocks!

I am not exactly sure when this obsession began. I know even as a little girl you could search my underwear drawer and find a pile of rocks instead of clean underwear, which always made my mom really mad.

I guess at this point I could try to get all spiritual and tell you my love of rocks has something to do with Jesus being the solid rock upon which I stand.

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Ps. 18:2

This verse packs a whole lot of truth. However, I don't think I thought about this much when I was a little girl.

I simply don't know why I love rocks. However, I do know one thing: Do not mess with my rocks! Everybody in my family knows the seriousness of this threat but apparently the girl next door didn't know.

You see, I was minding my own business one day while taking an inventory of my rock garden. Yes! my rock garden. Then, there it was…an empty imprint that gave an alarming clue that I had been robbed!

With one hard stare at my young son, he quickly pointed a finger at "the girl". He threw her under the bus with one swift kick. And this 7 years old girl and I were fixin' to rumble. Picture the scene where the cowboy walks into the salon and everyone turns and gasps, the tumbleweed rolls by…It was very intense.

I sent her home to retrieve my rock. She obviously didn't get the neighborhood memo: Don't mess with Mama Crosby's rocks!

Occasionally, I am accused by some family members of stealing rocks. I won't even go there. That is crazy talk.

In all seriousness, Isn't our God amazing? He places these things in our life that bring us comfort and joy. Maybe, just maybe, there was a time in my young life that I needed a solid rock on which to stand. I just didn't know His name at the time. I look around me and I see the beauty of God’s creation. We are told in Romans 1:17 that all of creation speaks of God’s glory. I will just keep right on lovin’ me some rocks:) God is good!

If you are wondering, No, I don't talk to my rocks; however, I do like the feel of the smooth ones:) Don't judge!

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.