Encouragement from Roz
A group of godly Jamaican women wrote short pieces about raising black sons that really touched my heart. I wrote a paragraph of explanation to before recording four of the dozen stories shared in this month’s blog. (with permission of the M.O.O.N. blog … overseer, Janice). ( M.O.O.N. stands for “Mothers On Our kNees” )
These four touched my heart the deepest. I guess I’ve never imagined what it would be like to raise a black son in today’s world. I know some of these women personally as some of them were in the church in Plantation. This caused me to pray more fervently for what I had not previously thought about.
Thank you for sharing these inspirational mother’s testimonies for raising black sons so we can pray … realizing that all men of color are not out to get us. These godly homes are raising sons who are examples to those around them … black, white, or any other color.
Mothers of Black Sons – Why We Live On Our Knees. . . .
“As We Wait” … we’ve been given another wake-up-call.
In Calvary Chapel Plantation South Florida, we had an awesome group of Jamaican women. They captured my heart! I would estimate, a good 25 gals or more have been meeting for Bible Study and having summer retreats for over 2 decades. They are a strong bunch of believers with powerful influence. When I read Janice’s M.O.O.N. blog [which stands for “Mothers On Their kNees”] my thought was, “what must it be like to be a black mom?” There were many testimonies written. I chose these few to share with CCV as encouragement to continue loving one another as human beings equally created by God.
Having a baby boy has undoubtedly been one of the greatest blessings of my life. At just four months old, Lucas is already so curious, smart, and playful. But as many other black mothers know, it does not take long for the feelings of joy to turn to worry.
How will the world view this precious boy of mine? Will he one day be seen as a threat? Can I protect him from those who will hate him for reasons beyond comprehension? These are the questions that keep me up at night. My prayer is that things will not only get better, but get better in time for my son to see it.
On a hot pre-summer day in May 2020, America reached a tipping point of racial injustices against black people. The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back came when the nation – and the world – witnessed 8 minutes and 46 seconds worth of callous indifference as a white police officer choked the life out of George Floyd, a black man, as he repeatedly cried out “I can’t breathe,” with the officer’s knee crushing his neck. With the last breaths in his body, George cried out for his deceased MAMA.
Mothers of the world – black moms, brown moms, white moms, red moms, yellow moms, blue moms and purple moms, all cried tears of sorrow for their sons – but for black sons in particular. The reality in America is that mothers of black sons always worry for our boys. But with George’s horrific death (that came on the heels of several other racially motivated incidents), the fear became palpable and often overwhelming.
I work for a Fortune 500 company with offices all across the US, as well as Europe and Asia. The enterprise’s leadership took an immediate and decisive stand in favor of the Black Lives Matter movement by hosting various Town Hall meetings, panel discussions, allowing employees to blog about their personal experiences, fears, and privileges – all with a crescendo for change. The drum beat is growing with demands to level the playing field for blacks by attacking the issue of systemic racism in America with a sweeping approach.
I participated in a panel discussion hosted by my department, and when asked what the impact of George Floyd’s death and the other recent racially motivated police killings had on my life, I had a hard time holding it together. I cried when sharing the fear that I have for my son living in this society. Sometimes it’s hard to believe we live in the 21st Century where most people take their God-endowed liberties of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for granted. But alas, this is the reality we live in and why I’m hopeful that the sweeping momentum occurring across the globe to end the scourge of racism, will very soon bring permanent change once and for all. How do I cope? I’m a M.O.O.N (Mother’s On Our kNees) – I pray daily for my son’s protection and trust in God’s promises to cover his life and future.
This is what the Lord says of my son, Jordan, in Psalm 91:1 “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” [Jordan] will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” In this month’s M.O.O.N. blog, you’ll hear from mamas sharing their hearts and concerns for their black sons. We must be in prayer for God’s protection, provision and transformation in society so that no mother will have to live in worry for their black sons, husbands, brothers, fathers – or their black daughters, sisters, mothers, about the injustices of racism. 1 Samuel 16:7 “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
My sons are first generation African-American boys. I was born and raised in Jamaica. It’s fair to say that the concerns I have had, and still have, of raising my sons in a country where I had to worry about them being discriminated against by their teachers and administrators, the police, total strangers, our neighbors and even friendly-seeming acquaintances, my parents did not have in raising me and my siblings.
Because of my upbringing, it is not ingrained in my psyche to think that people are “out to get us” as my fellow black brothers and sisters, who sadly have been subjected to this treatment all their lives.
Like other black and brown people, my boys and I had to have tough conversations over the years, like why they can’t have air gun wars with the white kids in the neighborhood and how to react to the police if they are pulled over. My sons are both 6 ft 2 inches, of darker complexions, and played football during their high school years, this means they are tall, dark and threatening, at least, that’s what white America tells us, and that’s how the police will see them.
It breaks my heart though because my babies are gentle giants, they are polite, they are kind, they are thoughtful, they are loving. It hurts that we live in a society that will not take the time to see them for who they are. My younger son says mothers hold their children close and clutch their handbags tight when they see him, he says he’s used to that. That makes me cry.
He wants to be a cop. He’s studying Criminal Justice at Florida Atlantic University. After cops killed George Floyd in Minnesota last month, I asked him if he still wants to be a cop, and he said this incident drives him even harder because he wants to be a part of the change. He wants a future where his sons don’t have to face the injustices he had to get used to. If bringing up black children in America doesn’t keep a mother on her knees, I don’t know what will.
Only God’s protection has enabled my sons to survive childhood, and now college, somewhat unscathed by racist America. I pray that during their lifetimes, America will treat my sons as if their lives matter, as if their feelings matter. I pray that all America will start loving each other regardless of how different we look on the outside.
“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:11
As a mom with a black son, your prayer life changes. You start realizing that you have to trust God for their protection and for their safety. The minute that they get their driver’s license, you do not sleep when they leave home until they return.
I can remember when Matthew was going to prom, wearing his tux, picking up his date, and placing a letter I had written in the glove compartment of the car. Matthew wanted to use my car that night. I drove a Mercedes Benz and my only thought was him being pulled over as a black boy driving a luxury car. So, I wrote a letter starting “Dear Police Officer” (with a picture of my driver’s license), explaining that this was my car and he was my son with my cell phone number. That fear is a fear only a mother of a black boy has whenever they leave the house.
I also remember when Matthew moved to Vancouver and was exposed to racism worse than here in the US. He was once stopped from entering his apartment by parents of a man who was living at the same apartment – the parents didn’t live there but they had no problem blocking the entrance to the apartment while demanding my son prove that he lived there. When he took the matter up with the apartment complex the next day, they told him if it happens again to use the back entrance (of the apartment he pays rent to)!!! As they grow older you trust God that they will fit in a world that is biased and them not get bitter. They begin to learn they have to be twice as good and work twice as hard as their non-black counterparts.
Then as Matthew became a man and learned how to navigate his place in this world, we’ve prayed together, we’ve fasted together, and we’ve trusted God together. When your son can have his own personal relationship with God you become so proud. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6. I also send scriptures to my children, as you not just want them to succeed in life, but also succeed in their walk with God. “The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.” Deuteronomy 28:13 NIV “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him, who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9