Growing up we did not have the best. My mom, sisters and I actually grew up pretty poor. I remember many days sleeping without heat or going to bed hungry not knowing where our next meal was going to come from. I can also remember my mom and I sleeping in the car in the middle of winter due to not having any place to go. I remember being afraid and crying and my mom would turn the car on to heat up the car and turn it off to observe the gas. We were not in the safest neighborhood.
I was teased a lot and oftentimes bullied due to not having nice clothes & shoes. I can even remember wearing the same outfit three times a week to school. Kids were cruel even back then.
What got us through those difficult times was laughter. My sisters and I would rehearse The Color Purple and act out the characters. We definitely were too young to watch The Color Purple, Harlem Nights and Coming to America. But we knew every single line of those movies. Even today when we get together, we sit and recite those movies line by line. It is the funniest and happiest times I have with them.
I remember one day being in the grocery store as a kid. I had to be around 8 or 9 years old. This was during the time we were struggling financially. I told my mother that one day I would be able to buy any box of cold cereal I wanted. Anyone who knows me knows I love cold cereal. Fast forward to 2004, I had to be about 27 years old at the time. My partner was rushing me so we could get home. I said, “I need to go grab a box of cereal!” As I walked down the cereal aisle, I could not make up my mind. All of a sudden God brought me back to that very moment when I was a kid and I said one day I would be able to buy any box of cereal I wanted. At that moment, I literally began to cry. I said to myself, “I can purchase any box of cereal I want and actually one box per brand if I wanted to!”
Too often we forget about the small things God has brought us through. Who would have known a box of cereal would change my life? That box of cereal made me appreciate where God had brought me from. At that time in my life, I was bitter towards the church due to the treatment I received because of being gay. How they treated my mother because she decided to love her son instead of turning her back on me. I realized that day it was not God’s fault because He loves me and created me in His own image. “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” (Psalm 139:13-14 NKJV)
So, from that point on I started to appreciate every little thing God did in my life big or small. Of course, I had moments where I would forget and needed a reminder but one thing, I truly know is God loves me flaws and all. As a kid I used to write in a journal and ask God why He forgot about my family and me. Why did He allow us to struggle so badly? Why did He allow us to live in roach infested motels when we had family members who refused to help? Today, I realize He did not forget about me. It was the box of cereal that reminded me that He heard what I said as a child and He honored my request years later.
A lot of my childhood memories I have blocked out of my mind due to the trauma and not wanting to remember. I wish I could remember because it’s those difficult times that make you appreciate the sunshine. I encourage you to think of something small that you might have asked God for that to you it may seem small but in reality, it’s big. Nothing God does is small.
Last Christmas I went out with one of my best friends and we met with some of the homeless people in our area. One of the people we met was a lady who asked us why were we giving away money? What was the purpose? I told her it was because I experienced exactly where she is, and I have a heart for the homeless. What touched me and brought tears to my eyes was she explained that the reason she was homeless was due to having cancer and could not afford all of the medical bills and ended up homeless. She had such a positive attitude and a beautiful spirit. What touched me even more was she was happy to get the money to purchase batteries so she can listen to her radio. We hugged and cried. I think about her quite often. She touched me more than she will ever know. It was the batteries that brought her happiness like it was the box of cereal that brought me happiness. Before we departed, she looked at me and said, “No weapon formed against you shall prosper and every tongue which rises against you in judgement you shall condemn.” (Isaiah 54:17 NKJV)
Whether it’s a box of cereal or batteries for a radio think of something God has done for you that you might consider small and after you meditate on it, you will see it’s really big. God truly does answer prayers. It might not be on our timetable, but God has His own timetable. As my grandmother always says prayer changes things. Sometimes we have to look back at God’s track record and know and remember that we might not see Him moving today but that does not mean He’s not moving in the background. Next time you are in the grocery store, a clothing store or a situation and you see something you might want and are unable to see it happening, say to yourself, “one day I will be able to have that very thing!” Just remember we walk by faith and not by sight.