Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Friday, September 4, 2015
As I sat in the parking lot of my good government job, I wrestled once again with going back home or going inside. I cried out to God and told him I couldn’t do this anymore. I hated my job with all my heart and soul and my supervisor was the absolute worst. She prided herself on making people cry and I prided myself on never letting her see me cry. I filed two grievances against her already but her behavior didn’t change. She had three years left before retirement and I realized upper management kept her there because of this. I knew I was wasting my time and energy at this job. Over and over again, day after miserable day, I sat looking at my computer screen wondering why I was even there. I had no purpose there. I was doing like most of my friends, working a job I hated. I worked nine to ten hour days just to have every other Friday off in conjunction with taking the opposite Friday off using up all of my sick leave. My friends made fun of me and always asked if I was ever going to work a Friday. I called them my mental health Fridays.
Shaking like a leaf and sobbing uncontrollably, I called my husband from my car. I told him I was putting in my one week notice and he was speechless. I asked him not to question my decision but to trust that I heard God. Thankfully, he said, “okay”. I got myself together and thanked God for a husband who trusted me when I said I was making a faith decision. I went inside, sat in my cubicle and turned on my computer. Once again, I was bombarded with yet more of her childish and condescending emails. I turned off my monitor and prayed. In the midst of me praying, I clearly heard, “I am with you. I will never leave nor forsake you. Before I formed you, I knew you. Be of good courage. Lean not to your own understanding but acknowledge me and I will direct your path.” I went to the ladies room to praise Him for His Word and the peace that came over me. I knew I was not serving my God given purpose at this job and that it was time to move on.
You see, I took this job because money was tight for my family and it was the first job to call me since being a stay at home mom for 5 years. My last home day care child left to attend preschool and people were pressuring me to now work a “real job”. While at home, I was happy and loving the children God blessed me to watch while their parents worked. I was able to homeschool my kids for 2 years during which time, we did not have money issues. I had peace with what I was doing and the families I served loved the atmosphere of my home day care. I was here when my dad was discharged from the hospital from kidney cancer surgery and was able to take care of him until he felt strong enough to go home to recuperate. I was available for my brother and his kids when they needed me most.
Sitting at my computer, I told God straight up that I was putting my trust totally in Him to provide for my family. I was so sure of this decision, I typed my one paragraph resignation within five minutes. It was Monday morning and Friday was going to be my last day. I had no idea what was in store for me as I took this leap of faith, but I knew it was time to trust God 100% and not myself. I said one more prayer in the elevator, hoping that I would not pass out from hyperventilating. That walk to my supervisor’s office was long but I made it. I handed her my resignation and she didn’t even acknowledge it, so I turned around and walked out of her office.
Two days later, I received a phone call from the local public schools to ask me if I could take a long term substitute position. It was for a first grade classroom teacher and would be for at least three months. I excited shouted, “YES!” and thanked her profusely. I called my husband with the good news and he was once again, speechless. I actually called my supervisor and told her I needed the rest of the day off. I was overwhelmed that God came through for me once again. I had no idea this leap of faith was setting me up to be an entrepreneur. It was in this classroom that God showed me my purpose: to be a blessing to children. In trusting God, my nonprofit, Forever Free Books was born.
I didn’t mean to quit my job; purpose made me do it. I found that when you seek God in every area of your life, He brings your purpose out of you. We have a mission on this earth and so many of us live our lives trying to live up to other people’s expectations. This leaves us empty and void so we become shopaholics and addicted to things that aren’t good for us. I am speaking from experience and it was a miserable existence. Now, I’m not saying, that living a life of purpose is easy, that would be a lie. What I am saying is that living a life of purpose gives you a sense of wholeness that is unexplainable. It’s something that can’t be faked. It is something others can see without you opening up your mouth. Purpose will make you do things that don’t make sense to the average person, your loved ones or even to you. This is where your faith has to kick in and take over. I am thankful that since taking that leap of faith, God has placed some amazing women in my life to help me walk out my purpose. That’s the beautiful thing about God, He will give you the tools you need to fulfill the purpose He has given to you to be a blessing to others. If you are feeling empty, pray and ask God, what your gift to the world is. He will reveal it to you. Your life will never be the same, you will have peace and you will be free to be who He has called you to be. I promise.
Tanya Barnett was teaching her brothers to read when she was 7 years old. She is the founder of Forever Free Books, a mobile nonprofit that delivers FREE books to children in need. She's the creator of Books, Boys n'Cuts, an initiative that brings story time and FREE books to boys in African American barbershops. She wants all children to have access to books regardless of the background, so her motto is "Take books to where the kids are". She is an avid reader, aspiring author and loves to garden. She and her husband have 3 children and a cute little doggie.
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
My son is at a pivotal point in his life; 12 years old. Before my very eyes, he went from wearing anything I purchased to now only wanting certain styles and brands. I lectured him for months about not letting your clothes and shoes determine your worth and how your brain will get you further in life than your gear. I will not say it fell on deaf ears but reality hit me that he was now beginning to form his own opinion about himself and that I had to give him the freedom to do that.
With that being said, I began to ask myself “what do I want for my son’s future?” Do I want him to be a mini me or do I want to raise a man who can be a free thinker and a positive influence in his community? How do I keep him safe yet allow him the freedom to be an African American male child? Daily, these questions weigh heavy on my mind but I realize that I must trust my instincts, trust what I, as a mother, have instilled in him and last but not least, trust God.
As a strong African American woman, I would bombard my son every day, prior to going outside to play with his friends, with all the do’s and don’ts of looking suspicious. I told him to always rush home if anyone made him feel uncomfortable or if his friends were choosing to make bad choices in the neighborhood. One day, he told me I was stressing him out. He actually said he felt like I didn’t trust him to be a good kid and flat out said, “Mom, I need you to TRUST me”. In my mind I thought, “WOW, did he really just say that to me?” but out of my mouth, I said. “I do trust you, it’s the other folks out there who I do not trust”.
After he walked out the door, I cried. I couldn’t believe that I was having the same conversations with my son in 2015 that my deceased grandmother had with my now 85 year old uncle when he was 12. I cried for all the African American boys and men who lost their lives at the hands of people who feared them for no other reason than the fact that they had brown skin. I cried for the mothers who buried their sons way too early. I cried for those who had been terrorized by those who feared them simply because of the skin they were given by our Creator. I cried for my son.
I eventually pulled myself together and prayed earnestly. I prayed for not only my son but for all of my friends’ and family members’ sons and my son’s friends. I prayed for President Barack Obama and our new sheriff, who is the first African American to hold that office in the history of my county's 356 year old sheriff's department. I even prayed for the negative ideals and the hatred to be changed towards our brown skin.
Lastly, I prayed for myself to TRUST my 12 year old son.
Tanya Barnett was teaching her brothers to read at 7 years old. She is the founder of Forever Free Books, a mobile nonprofit that delivers FREE books to children in need. She's the creator of Books, Boys n'Cuts, an initiative that brings story time and FREE books to boys in African American barbershops. She wants all children to have access to books regardless of the background, so her motto is "Take books to where the kids are". She is an avid reader, aspiring author and loves to garden. She and her husband have 3 children and a dog.