Celebrating Black History Month with Family Christian
February is the month during which many Americans celebrate the achievements and contributions of African Americans to the history, and current fabric of our country. It would take longer than the number of days in this month, or even in 20 years, to tell of all of the notable persons of our history. Thanks to my partnership with Family Christian, I have selected 2 incredible, educational topics to highlight. This week, I am honoring Pastor Andraé Crouch.
Who was Andraé Crouch?
He was not just a pastor, musician, composer, singer, arranger, or producer. He was an innovator, a genius. Crouch didn’t just sell music to church artists, but he was well-respected, and sought after throughout the entertainment industry. He earned 9 Grammy Awards, an Oscar nomination, 6 GMA Dove Awards, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences’ Inaugural Salute to Gospel Music Lifetime Achievement Award, was inducted into the GMA Hall of Fame, and given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Defying Color & Culture
If you aren’t familiar with Christian music, then you may not fully understand the significance of his accomplishments. Church music often brought comfort and inspiration to church members, but it did not always reach outside of the faith community. Andraé Crouch created songs that connected people of all backgrounds. This isn’t uncommon in 2015; however, in the 1970’s, when America was still trying to figure out how to operate after the major movements of the Civil Rights era of the 1960’s, not all Christians worshiped together. Crouch’s music, and his willingness to share genuine love, completely changed the face of Christian music. “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power”, “Through It All”, “Bless His Holy Name”, “Soon and Very Soon”, “Jesus is the Answer”, and “My Tribute” are just a few of the songs that made their way into congregations and homes of all colors around the world. Many of his most popular tunes were covered by artists from Elvis Presley and Paul Simon, to Bill Gaither. His talent was heard on such incredible projects as the Lion King, and the Color Purple. He was also invited to work with, and minister to, everyone from Michael Jackson and Michael W. Smith, to Stevie Wonder and Take 6. You name the popular or historic artist, and you will more than likely find that they were influenced by Andraé Crouch. You name the ethnicity, and you more than likely would find them singing along to his songs in the audience.
If I had to introduce the essence of Andraé Crouch to someone, and could only pick a handful of selections from his extensive discography, I would suggest the following releases:
Visit your local Family Christian store, or online, to find these, and other products by Andraé Crouch.
The following footage came from 2 of my favorite appearances by Pastor Crouch. In the first, he boldly took the Grammy Awards stage, and without condemnation or preaching, simply proclaimed that Jesus is Lord. The 2nd was a recent moment with Bill Gaither.
Andraé Crouch used the universal languages of love and music to bring many races together, not only in the Christian music community, but around the world.
This post was written in partnership with Family Christian. FC Bloggers may receive product and/or compensation for facilitating reviews, or writing articles. All opinions, unless otherwise indicated, are always my own, and are never influenced by any other factors.
Well, this first week of back to school mayhem started off a bit rocky. Superkiddo was sick after his first day, and spent yesterday at home. What did that mean for me? Lots of snuggles, fetching liquids and stuffed animals, as well as missing meetings, rescheduling calls, and getting absolutely no writing done. I could complain, but I didn’t.
Something happened to me a few years ago. I like to blame it on becoming a woman of a certain age bracket, but perhaps we could attribute it also to growing wiser, and becoming truly comfortable in my own skin. What happened? I stopped caring. Yep, I did. I stopped caring about what people thought, or how they felt about my choices. I adapted the mantra of if you didn’t die for my sins, and you aren’t paying my property taxes (I do accept credit cards & paypal, if you’re offering), then your opinions about what happens in my life are irrelevant. It sounds callous at first, doesn’t it? But trust me: it isn’t. It is the most liberating stance that you can ever make in your life.
Be free from people.
We all have paths to take. We all make mistakes along the way. We have the choices to grow or remain stagnant; succeed or fail; love or hate; learn or remain blissfully ignorant. Whatever choices we make, they are 100% our own. Yes, there are consequences for every action, but we ultimately only answer to our Creator and ourselves. Inlaws, outlaws, family, friends, enemies, saints, sinners, neighbors, and foreign entities will all always have opinions. The challenge is to decide if their opinions will rule our lives, or if we will live in the freedom of being who we truly are.
Be free from people.
This doesn’t mean that you should only surround yourself with “yes men.” There’s a difference between sound counsel, and words from a Negative Nelly. You ARE NOT defined by the opinions of others! Surround yourself with people who will tell you the truth, support you in your faith, and love you through the process. Distance yourself from those who only want to criticize, or only accept things that are done their way. As you do this, you will find that your journey is truly your own, and some people are best loved from afar.
Be free from people!
In my household, 2015 (& every year) is the year of freedom from people. I hope that you will embrace freedom in your life as well.
I don’t know about you, but there are times when parenting can be a frustrating, confusing, embarrassing, and mysterious puzzle. I find myself staring at what I call the pinterest perfect parents, and “asking are you real, or are you faking it for us?” I am not one of the “mom bloggers” who will only post about the rosy days, and all of the accomplishments. Hopefully, you have grown to know me as an authentic, “this is real stuff”, kind of writer. If not, and if you are expecting perfection from me, brace yourself.
Anyone who is worth their salt will tell you that parenting is challenging. Well, what all of the experts fail to explain to the rest of us is how to master the art of parenting. Sure, there are books with theories about discipline, bedtime, menu planning et al, but none of them break down the nuances of parenting your individual child. They can’t because no two children are exactly alike; God made each of us in a beautiful, precise, purpose-filled package. Our work as parents is to support our children as they figure out the packaging, understand the arrangement of each intricate piece, and find how the design fits into the grand scheme of the plans for their lives. It sounds philosophical, and easy, but I assure you that it is not even remotely close to simple.
Superkiddo recently shattered my perception of my standard parenting practices. He’s a gifted student. This isn’t a bragging session; this is just the truth. Standardized testing & IQ scores have left me questioning if he isn’t part alien robot. He’s the child of a genius. Again, we aren’t bragging, but if you have ever met my husband, the Bald Genius, then you will also know this as truth. Given the academic success of the majority of his family, we have similar expectations for Superkiddo. However, we have apparently placed too much emphasis upon this one area of his life, and neglected others. My specific words to him came back to bite me in the rear. I often said “you’re too smart for that,” or “an average kid can get away with making such choices, but you aren’t average.” His response to me? “I would rather be average, and have fun, than constantly pressured to be perfect.” OUCH! Pardon me while I pull this knife out of my heart.
I never intended to pressure him. The Bald Genius and I never used the word perfection per se, but Superkiddo perceived that was what we demanded. I was crushed. He’s 7. SEVEN! He shouldn’t feel stressed, or as though he isn’t measuring up to his parents’ standards. We have never felt this way, and certainly never intended for him to believe this, but we created this situation. We had to take a step back, and reevaluate how we were parenting, and which words were filtering through to his SEVEN year old heart. His vocabulary is bizarrely beyond his years, but his emotions are only 7. Again, SEVEN! So, what did we do? The adults in this equation had to change.
That was painful and awkward for me. My pride immediately yelled, “I’m a woman with an education, effective habits, and I just happen to be of a certain age. I typically can confidently rely upon what I know.” In this instance, I was wrong, DEAD WRONG, and I had to repent to my child. I had to admit to him that I didn’t know how my responses made him feel, and I was absolutely wrong to make him feel this way. Do we desire the absolute best for him? Definitely. Will we ever allow him to coast through life without giving his best? Never. Will we only focus on his academic strengths, and forget about the rest of the pieces of his puzzle? Hopefully, never again. Will we strive to demonstrate God’s love, and desire for him to fulfill the purpose for his life? Absolutely!
I am thankful for this conversation with my son. Many parents and children go an entire lifetime without feeling enough safety to share how they really feel. This was uncomfortable, but it was for the best — not just for Superkiddo, but for me. It offered another opportunity for me to grow as a godly parent, and to put into practice what I believe. Many parents, like myself, are driven to make sure that their children are afforded the best opportunities. My mistake was praising and promoting only one aspect of my son’s life. I had to remember…well, Superkiddo forced me to remember that God already has a plan for his life. My job isn’t to mold him into the image that I want for him, but to nurture him as he grows into the person that God desires him to be.
What I know for sure
There is a plan for all of our lives. Our children were created for great things. Our job isn’t to create the greatness for them, but to love and nurture them as they pursue the ultimate design for their lives.
It is easy to fall into the trap of competitive parenting. I didn’t even realize that I was going along that road. I had to make a u-turn, and change my focus. I don’t want my child to only care about rewards, and outpacing his friends; I want him to care about extending love and grace to others, and his personal growth. I want him to have fun, and ENJOY BEING A KID! Will there be bumps along the way of my parenting journey? I am sure of it, but I have a renewed commitment to focusing on what really matters, and continuing to have an open line of communication for our household.
I don’t know what bumps in the parenting road that you are experiencing, but I do know that grace is available to heal any hurt, and guide your next steps. Parenting is never easy, and sadly, no one ever warned most of us of that fact. Many of your friends and family may respond with “but we have always done it this way,” and it may appear to work for them. However, I believe that since we were all created differently, then we might need to forgo cookie cutter approaches to parenting.
Have you been challenged to change your approach to parenting? Do your methods match how you were parented? As you look at your life as an adult, what do wish that your young child self could have said to your parents? If your child expressed a concern to you, would you be able to reevaluate your methods? I would love to know your thoughts.