“And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans.” Romans 8:28 (The Living Bible Translation)
I’ve been a full cloud all weekend, ready to drop water at any moment. As I sit overlooking I-440 at from the Renaissance Hotel, the dam has burst! I come here each year because this spot in Raleigh was where two worlds collided for me. It's like a Bethel or holy place for me. Also, I was born in North Carolina's Capital City.
I was raised by my mom and never really asked about my father until a cousin and I had an altercation. It was a normal fight, but he called me an ugly name I hated so I said, "Your Daddy." He responded, "at least I have one." Oh, we fought for sure after that, but it caused me to finally ask my mom who my father was. As if she knew the moment was coming, she somehow got in touch with my father's father, my grandfather, and we went on a trip to Raleigh from Warren County to meet him. I was excited to be gathering this lost piece of myself, but then something happened and we ended up driving on I-440 and passing the time.
Looking up down from the Renaissance, this part of the Beltline was near the spot where I remember my mom telling me I'd have to wait to meet my Grandfather. I was disappointed. However, the meeting was delayed, but not denied. On a later weekend, my mother took me to meet my Grandfather and I spent a weekend with him and met many of my father's family members. I would later meet my father, but that's another story.
As I look across the Beltline, at the Raleigh skyline today, all I can say is "If it had not been for the Lord by my side, where would I be?!" I’m especially grateful to turn 44 because there were times when I didn’t know if I’d live this long. I don’t say this lightly, but the enemy has attacked me my whole life. I speak freely about my life to encourage others, but there are so many stories I haven't even told. I knew at a young age I’d have to serve the Lord and take daring and uncomfortable stands, but I never expected some of the things I'd live through. Yet, I know now it was for the sake of the call of God on my life.
My story didn’t begin with me. As a child, I vividly remember my mother’s prayers in a small apartment in Arizona that God would help her raise me and my brother. She would often say she didn't know what to do. I always loved my mother deeply, but the family trauma and dysfunction that she endured would greatly impact me even as an adult. I'd become her caretaker while taking care of my own sick children. I would further grow up in poverty without a father and have him not want to have anything to do with me due to his own issues, but God has been my Father and sent others for me to learn from.
I've heard that I am a walking miracle. I was born prematurely weighing 2 pounds 7 ounces and I once heard they left babies like me alone to see if we’d survive because back then, they didn’t have the technology to keep us alive. My relatives tell me of the shoe boxes and dresser drawers I used to fit in. I’ve had measles, pneumonia, lived in raggedy trailers and houses, been bitten up by bed bugs and chiggers, lived with and at the mercy of others, but still God would give me everything I wanted. Above all, I've never been hungry or without a roof over my head. I obtained my educated to make sure I got out of poverty and live comfortably.
In my adult life, I've had some adversity that I would have never imagined. I’ve lost two children to a rare disease. I also lost my mother who would always be the first to tell me Happy Birthday even after suffering strokes that left her unable to talk and move freely. She'd find a way to get me a card or gift the day before my birthday. This year my in-laws were the first! No matter what, God has always made things up to me. I can assuredly say that He has still given me everything I've ever wanted!
When I tell stories, people’s jaws drop, but then their hands end up and they end up crying with me. I have testimony after testimony of the goodness of the Lord! Last year, God gave me a job that I know without a doubt that He set up just for me. So, there’s no telling what He’ll do for me this year. In fact, I was minding my business eating out with friends and Shirley Caesar, a world famous Gospel singer somehow ended up serenading me with a Happy Birthday!
I can assuredly say the hand of the Lord has been on me all my life. This year, I have no gift or party requests. God has given me my greatest gifts in my wife and children who always seek to make me happy. My second greatest gift for me is being able to give them whatever they want and need and to walk in any store and buy it. I used to have to always wait for everything because we didn't have, but now I know my Mom, my Dad, and my Granddad did the best the best they could.
God has been my keeper and my friend! He's completely turned my life around with and through the love of my wife, Dr. Francemise Kingsberry. I can boldly say I will serve the Lord for the rest of my life and always stand and speak for Him no matter the discomfort or challenge! For as many sad or bad things that have happened in my life, there have been double happy and good things. I have testimony after testimony on top of testimony of the goodness and mercy of God.
Know for sure that when the hand of the Lord is on your life, you can trust Him with everything that has or will happen in your life. He's working ALL THINGS for your good! Don't accept the negative reports, life through the adversity, and keep your faith and trust in God. You will dwell and live in Romans 8:28! Find your purpose! LIVE on PURPOSE!