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One of our most important jobs as parents is to instill in our children humbleness, not teaching them to degrade themselves or to think low of themselves, but rather to remember in moments where pride could swell and self-righteousness seems imminent, that ALL that they have, EVERY opportunity presented, and EACH talent they possess is not anything they have earned in and of themselves but instead God has so graciously granted them.

A little backstory of myself, I am the second of five children born to two {{poor, addict, alocholic}} loving parents. I grew up in {{all over Selma, Valley Grande, Tyler, Prattville, and even moved to Ohio but I don’t remember that move as I was only 18mo.}} Central Alabama. We moved often due to my dad’s ever-changing professions {{he got fired from every job due to his substance and alcohol abuse.}} and housing complications {{don’t pay your rent you’re evicted}} I grew up relatively happy; considering my circumstances. My parents tried their best, but the insatiable appetite for the “party life” possessed them, they couldn’t appease it and the influential group that seemingly surrounded our family like a dense fog  wasn’t very positive, especially not towards the idea of a white picket fence kinda lifestyle. No, for me it was old broken down single wide trailers or eerily irreparable 1800s era homes that were in the “bad” part of town. Growing up though I remember many times thinking that this was not how life was supposed to be. Not that I really had examples from anywhere else since I didn’t start staying the night over at friends until 2nd grade or so, but from what I saw on T.V., families were all smiles, and so much affection, big houses, nice cars, church goers, pure bred dogs, the works. My family paled in comparison to T.V. families. My siblings and I basically raised ourselves as far as moral standards, not that our parents didn’t try; I can still see my father’s red eyes and sunken look about him, shoulders slumped due to another lost daily battle against the bottle, I smell the sickenly sweet aroma of alcohol mixed with the musk of his latest joint, “Don’t be like me.” He pleaded with us. We didn’t want to be, none of us did, we all wanted out and we yearned for escape moment by moment. Momma was present but she either sat quietly drowning herself in her bottle or was shouting disapprovingly at Daddy for the exact same thing she was doing herself, it was a vicious, finger-pointing cycle closely resembling a scene where two people are in a sinking boat, both rocking and flailing about causing the boat to sink faster, unfortunately there were no bystanders to throw a life-preserver.

Fast forward to high school and years of anguish at home turned me bitter, anxious, and angry and it was as if I wanted to inflict those same emotions on any authority that I faced. {{Thank you to all my teachers and principles for not throwing me in juvi}} I never tied up with any other students but every adult was my target. Future seems grim for children such as my siblings and I, we should have followed our parents examples, statistically speaking. But ONLY by the grace of God we didn’t. Yes, I’ve had my fair share of stumbling but overall I think I turned out ok. I’m actually a teen mom, got pregnant at the ripe age of 17 and had her right before I turned 18, {{we were just doing what everyone else was, we just got caught.}} my husband and I later married and have had 3 more littles, that shouldn’t have happened, I should’ve been left to single-parentdom, statistically speaking. I dropped out of high school and got my GED and was graduating from the community college at the same time my high school classmates were graduating from high school. I should’ve been struggling to make ends meet with a minimum wage job while pooling resources from the government to supply where my pay fell short, statistically speaking. My husband had summer school every summer because he struggled in school due to ADHD and dyslexia, he has no college education, he should not be a successful business owner, statistically speaking. But God is merciful and graciously blessed us with a supportive family and church family, God presented a wonderful opportunity to purchase a ready mix company, and God placed a drive in us to overcome what the world has deemed nearly impossible. We recognize this and give all glory to God. I am no longer bitter because of my childhood, I’m thankful for it, I see every child as precious, regardless of who their parents are, and when I meet a bitter person I cannot help but wonder what has caused them to be so and I want to share the joy that can be found in Christ with them. If I hadn’t struggled, if I hadn’t hit that rocky bottom, I don’t think I ever would have looked up to God.  Alot of people prayed hard for my parents and I am so delighted to announce that God has given them victory over addiction and now they can enjoy their Grandbabies in ways which they couldn’t their own littles. God is good.

I make it a point to show the “ugly” in the world to my children, to show them that what they have is nothing short of a miracle from God. You see, you did not choose what family you were born into, what financial status you have obtained, you did not have any say in what opportunities have been awarded to you, EVERYTHING that makes you, you is bestowed upon you from God. So before you get high-minded and start patting yourself on the back, remember that God withheld that same determination or drive, opportunity, family, finances from another, and He also has stripped those blessings from others {{Daniel 4:28-37}}. So be humble, praise God, and do things for others, even if it doesn’t seem like it will matter in the grand scheme of things, because if you’re waiting for a moment to do everything for everybody, you miss doing anything for anybody, resulting in doing nothing for nobody. Leave each place you come into contact with better than the way you found it.