A Moment in Time – June 27th, 2019
June 27, 2019
Crossing borders is hard. Crossing borders is tiring. As enthusiastic and
inspirational as I am known to be, it is important for you to know that I
have moments when I struggle as well. Living with purpose is a fight.
Staying encouraged is an intentional choice. For some of us, we have
been fighting for a long time and the fight can take its toll on our
energy, relationships and peace.
In truth, I have been fighting from the womb.
My mother got pregnant with me as a 19-year-old freshman at
Oakwood College. The pressures of disappointing her family and giving
up her dream of earning her degree led her to an abortion clinic in
Huntsville, Alabama. Amazingly, while at the abortion clinic, my mother
felt a flutter in her stomach for the very first time and knew she
couldn’t do it. That’s right! I was moments away from being eliminated
from my mother’s womb…never to exist, much less write books or live
a life of purpose!
My mother would choose to keep me and face the scorn and
disappointment of family and friends back on the island of Bermuda.
Instead of returning home with a college degree, she would return
home with me; succeeding as a parent became her degree. Mom was
disfellowshipped by her church and scorned by some of those who had
supposedly hoped for so much more for her life. Feeling alone and
abandoned, she did the only thing she knew to do as she gave birth to
me: she lifted me up to God and dedicated my life to Him. And if I’m
honest, how I have come to know Christ and embrace manhood cannot
be separated from how I came into this world.
Looking back now as a man, I felt that tension during my journey from
the womb to what felt like the wilderness of manhood. I’ve always felt
like I’ve been fighting! Fighting to survive! Fighting to be given a
chance! Fighting to be accepted and valued! Nothing has come easy.
And for many years I sought the wholeness and healing I needed from
other sources besides Christ! At various times during my journey, I
sought to exchange the insecurities that began in my mother’s womb
with the fleeting pleasures of life. At times, I hid behind academic or
professional success, and when all else failed, I tried to stay busy with
stuff! These methods never resulted in peace.
My family’s honesty with me helped to connect some dots that were
vital in developing a relationship with Christ. They were always pretty
transparent with me about their journeys and mine. When my mom
told me about the near-abortion experience, it helped to ground a
larger sense of purpose and explain my insatiable propensity for
While I have mastered how to move—since movement is what helped
preserve me in my mother’s womb; resting and being still are more
challenging for me, and remain areas of intentional prayer.
You can’t intentionally pray about something you have never been
positioned to know. And knowing requires someone to be honest with
us. Being honest with others requires that we are honest with ourselves
and with God.
I once preached a sermon urging parents and grandparents to ask a
very serious question. I had been impressed by the Holy Spirit that
some of the seasoned members of the church would stand over graves
of their children or grandchildren and be unsure of children’s salvation.
I invited the parents and grandparents to ask the following question: “is
there anything I have done or has my witness negatively affected your
relationship with Christ?” True to form, at the end of the service while
greeting members at the church door, my mother met me there to ask
for forgiveness and to inquire if she had been guilty in anyway of
misrepresenting Christ. Though her question—for me—wasn’t
necessary, her willingness to ask the question was exactly why she
didn’t need to ask the question. She had always kept it real with me
and she never played church! This was in stark contrast to another
seasoned member who wanted to assure me at the church door that
the sermon was not for her—though her children and
grandchildren—who want nothing to do with church—would say
differently. Sadly, soon thereafter, this same member would stand over
the casket of her grandchild—unsure of her grandchild’s salvation.
What am I saying? Moments and movement matter! There are certain
moments when you need to move! My mom has always been sensitive
to my “movement.” Additionally, her honesty from my time in the
womb has allowed me to do the necessary “womb work” of reflecting
on how my beginnings impact who I am and where I am going.
I want to invite you to consider if there are honest
conversations—“womb work” conversations—that need to be had in
your family. If your parents are deceased or unwilling to engage, take
some time to consider for yourself how your introduction into this
world may be impacting how you have experienced this world. If you’re
a parent or grandparent, ask your children or grandchildren if there is
anything in your life that has stood in their way of seeing Christ.
No parent is perfect, but the process of honesty and honestly
considering how our family experiences have affected our faith
journeys—and those of our families—is necessary. It may just help you
and yours to cross some borders!
This is Dr. Ty Douglas, author of Border Crossing Brothas, and I want to
invite you to experience SALT—So Amazing Life Today; it’s available to
each of us, in Christ.
You can reach Dr. Ty at www.DrTyDouglas.org and follow him at @DrTyDouglas.
Link to purchase Border Crossing Brothas: https://www.amazon.com/Border-Crossing-«Brothas»-Navigating-Critical/dp/1433135388