All posts by Froswa' Booker-Drew

FAITHFUL UTTERANCES: Casting Your Cares

Casting Your Cares

As a child, I remember growing up with so much love. We weren’t rich but I was secure in knowing I was provided for. As a teenager, things were challenging in our home. There were times we had abundance and other times when we struggled. When things were really hard, I remember feeling as if God abandoned me, abandoned us. It was so painful to go through such difficulty.

As an adult, those memories are with me. It’s easy to become fearful because there are situations that happen when I’m not in control. Life happens and there are things that come up that no matter how much I prepare, they don’t always turn out the way I want or even expect. As a child, I didn’t have much control and the expectation as an adult is that I can make things happen.

We are taught that we have control. There is a term called “locus of control”. “Locus of control is the degree to which people believe that they, as opposed to external forces (beyond their influence), have control over the outcome of events in their lives.” There are two types of loci of control—internal and external. “People who develop an internal locus of control believe that they are responsible for their own success. Those with an external locus of control believe that external forces, like luck, determine their outcomes.”

The reality is that as much as we’d like to believe we have control no matter if it’s external or internal, we don’t always have the ability to manipulate the variables in our favor. It can be exhausting in trying to make things always happen. Many of us are burned out, filled with anxiety and worry, because we are trying so desperately to make things happen.

Maybe you are like me—in your life there were times of instability and as a result, your go to mode of operation is either to make things happen or to become overcome with frustration and caution. What I have learned to rely upon is that God is in control no matter what is going on or how I feel.

1 Peter 5:7 says “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for us.” When times were rough as a child, I knew that I couldn’t do it alone. As an adult, I realize that even more. Life is hard. It’s important to know–that the God who made you and I–is there even when it doesn’t feel, look or seem like it. Don’t shut God out because things are not going your way. “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (Matthew 6:34 MSG)

We live in a time that we are so driven by our needs and wants. We believe that we can just make things happen. The problem is that when we depend solely upon ourselves to do everything, the weight of the responsibilities can be overwhelming. It also means that we are edging God out (EGO) when we think we are in control.

Often, we make life more difficult because we choose to be the master of our destiny when we move God out. Jesus reminds us that there is a better way: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) To do this requires us to let go and let God.

Worry and anxiety happens, but it doesn’t have to dominate your life. Trust God instead of believing in the havoc and hopelessness that may appear. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew is the CEO of Soulstice Consultancy and the founder of the Reconciliation and Restoration Foundation (r2fdn.org). She is also the author of four books including Empowering Charity: A New Narrative of Philanthropy and the host of the Tapestry podcast.

FAITHFUL UTTERANCES: It’s Not Your Stuff

It’s Not Your Stuff

I was having lunch with a friend who was sharing war stories of her industry. She revealed the egos that so many individuals have—seeking fame and fortune, often jealous of the success of others believing that they should have the exact same opportunities. As I listened, I wanted to be surprised but it’s a reality. There is a narrative in our society that we are entitled to have everything, do everything and be everything. The challenge with this thinking is that it centers us solely. Our focus is more on how we outperform the next person instead of focusing on the purpose that God has for our lives.

Many are burnt out, frustrated, and tired because we have accepted the idea of living life on a treadmill. We see others that are doing things and we compare ourselves to what they are doing. Expressions like “I’ll sleep when I die” are lies. If you don’t get enough rest, you will die. It’s imperative to understand that work is essential. Yet are you striving based on your needs or seeking God to anoint and appoint your footsteps, work, and relationships?

The more YOU are centered, the less room there is for God to operate and make things work for you. Life would be so much easier if you yield to God’s will instead of your own. God wants us to work but when work becomes our God, we’ve made it an idol. Why we do what we do must have its purpose in something greater than ourselves. Paul wrote, “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31) As we enter a new year, examine if your work glorifies God or are you seeking all the glory?

Instead of feeling jealous about the success of others, it’s understanding if their success is rooted in them, which is not sustainable or rooted in God’s purpose and plan for their lives. “For this purpose, also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.” (Colossians 1:29)

God blesses us not only during work and the subsequent money or opportunities we receive. Yet, we can be even more blessed when we honor God with what we have and with our time. God wants us to rest in Him. “One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind.” (Ecclesiastes 4:6)

Renowned Christian theologian Charles Spurgeon said, ““Rest is a weapon given to us by God. The enemy hates it because he wants you to be stressed and occupied. Rest! When we rest, we synchronize with God. When we rest, we walk in God’s nature. When we rest, we will experience God’s movement and His miracles.” Want success? Rest in God.

King David is an example of an individual who was very wealthy due to God’s anointing on his life. He recognized that his work and wealth were a direct result of his obedience and willingness to put God first. David realized quickly that all of his stuff was a gift from God. It was never his and God honored it :

“Then, in front of everyone, David sang praises to the Lord: I praise you forever, Lord! You are the God our ancestor Jacob worshiped. Your power is great, and your glory is seen everywhere in heaven and on earth. You are king of the entire world, and you rule with strength and power. You make people rich and powerful and famous. We thank you, our God, and praise you. But why should we be happy that we have given you these gifts? They belong to you, and we have only given back what is already yours. We are only foreigners living here on earth for a while, just as our ancestors were. And we will soon be gone, like a shadow that suddenly disappears.” (Read 1 Chronicles 29:1-20)

Remember the 3 R’s:

  • Recognize who God is first. God must be first in your life.
  • Rest in God. Stop striving for the world’s definition of success.
  • Realize that everything you have is a gift from God.

Understand, it’s not your stuff anyway.

Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew is the CEO of Soulstice Consultancy and the founder of the Reconciliation and Restoration Foundation (r2fdn.org). She is also the author of four books including Empowering Charity: A New Narrative of Philanthropy and the host of the Tapestry podcast.

Lamenting is Necessary for Preservation

Necessary for Preservation
Necessary for Preservation

That week was unprecedented. If you weren’t directly impacted by the lack of electricity in your homes, you probably had relatives and friends over. If that wasn’t your scenario, you witnessed or heard stories of despair and hopelessness through the consistent coverage in the news and social media.

It was a lot to experience and process. My irritation goes beyond the experience. I am frustrated to see how so many of us went back to work Monday morning as if nothing happened and we continue to stay on the hamster wheel of non-stop motion—never taking the time to pause or even stop.

There were limited conversations or check-ins, just work as usual because we have fallen into the trap that profit and productivity rule over people.

In addition to last week’s debacle, over 500,000 people have died from COVID or COVID related complications.

So many family members and friends have experienced loss. The institutional knowledge as well as the potential that we will never realize and know is now gone.

And yet, we continue to move on without taking the time to stop and realize the devastation of this unseen enemy that is taking a toll on life as we know it.

Our lives have radically changed. For many of us, we have been in our homes since March 2020 with limited human contact that is usually restricted to immediate family.

Hugs and opportunities to experience the presence of others is almost non-existent except for Zoom calls and Grocery store runs. Dallas Morning News (February 4, 2021) headlines read, “With 1 of every 5 high schoolers not attending classes with regularity, Dallas ISD launches reconnection effort.”

As much as we tell ourselves that our children are resilient, obviously, they are not adjusting well, either. We keep running, moving faster as if it will suddenly go away and things will go back to normal.

In our quest, to keep up this busyness and desire to move forward, we are neglecting to pause, stop, and lament.

It’s interesting that in grammar, the comma represents a pause, and the period is designed to stop before moving to another thought.

Why is it that we understand that in language but have failed to see the correlation in our lives? Right now, we need to really sit back, reflect, and listen.

God is speaking and we are missing it big time by covering it up with more stuff to do that has yet to alleviate our pain and suffering. The book of Lamentations is credited to Jeremiah.

It is a Biblical book of poems that illustrate the pain of a people whose city had been destroyed and who had lost many loved ones.

It is a book that ponders on the suffering of man caused by the decisions and actions of men. The city of Babylon had been invaded and destroyed.

There was a need for food and people were desperate. Lamentations 3:17-26 states, “Peace has been stripped away, and I have forgotten what prosperity is. 20 I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. 21 Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: 22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. 23 Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. 24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” 25 The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. 26 So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.”

Maybe it is time for us to pause, stop, cry, reflect and wait quietly to hear from God. Our very lives depend upon it.

Dr. Froswa Booker-Drew is the CEO of Soulstice Consultancy and the founder of the R2 Foundation. She is the author of four books and the host of the Tapestry Podcast.

FAITHFUL UTTERANCES: New Wineskins in 2023

Wineskins in 2023

As we enter 2023, it’s important to spend time focusing and reflecting on the goodness of God. Despite how many challenges we’ve faced, every one of us can identify our many blessings. The mistake that many of us make is that we spend so much time thinking about the things we’ve lost including the pain, and the discouraging situations. Allow gratefulness to guide you into a new year. “I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works. Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, and I will declare Your greatness. They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness, and shall sing of Your righteousness.” (Psalm 145:5-7)

Do not allow the problems of the past, rob you of a beautiful new year of possibilities and potential. There is so much that God wants to do in each of our lives. Often, we blame God for our deferred dreams. We blame the enemy for our troubles. We seldom see the decisions we make that create barriers and obstacles for our destiny. God gives us the ability to feel, think and choose. If we don’t like the way our lives look, it’s time for some evaluation of our hearts and minds. “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” (Mark 7:21-23)

Just as we can make a decisionmn to do what we want–we also can make the choice to something different. We’ve all heard the cliché, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over expecting different results.” In 2023, let’s make a decision to live our lives for God. We desire the blessings and benefits of God but in order to see the miracles and manifestation of God to fully show up in our lives, we must do our part.

If we want God to do something new in our lives in 2023, we must be willing to do something different. The Pharisees and Sad-ducees were a group of religious leaders who focused so much on the interpretation of the law that they failed to recognize the new thing that God was doing. We can get so caught up in religious traditions that we miss God in our presence. “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst ; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved” (Matthew 9:16-17).

Bibleref.com states “… that the Pharisees lived lives like old wineskins. When new wine was poured in, the wineskins would break apart and the wine wasted. Jesus however, brought freedom in grace. His grace could not be held in legalistic rules that the Pharisees enforced over others. We cannot alter Jesus to fit our mold of religion, we have to remember that we are the jars, and He is the Potter. He will shape us to learn.”

Do not miss what God is doing. “See, I am doing a new thing!

Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19) Allow God in 2023 to do a new thing in your life without being restricted to old ways of doing and thinking. This year, focus on relationship versus settling solely for religious traditions that have no significance or ability to transform our lives. Commit to building a relationship with God that goes beyond just going to church on Sundays. It must be a lifestyle that is a part of who we are and what we do. Don’t just ask what would Jesus do…be committed to live a life that reflects who Jesus is.

Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew is the CEO of Soulstice Consultancy and the founder of the Reconciliation and Restoration Foundation (r2fdn.org). She is also the author of four books including Empowering Charity: A New Narrative of Philanthropy and the host of the Tapestry podcast.

FAITHFUL UTTERANCES: The Cycles We Experience

Experience

It’s the holiday season, a time of happiness, family and sharing time with those we love. Yet, there is such a dichotomy going on at the same time. I had a few minutes to scroll through Facebook to witness this occurring: I saw graduations, births of babies, and celebrations. I also saw the announcement of deaths, hospitalizations, and illnesses as well. How can both of these realities exist at the same time?

The reality is that life is filled with polar opposites existing at the same time. It can be disorienting to balance between moments of happiness and sadness.

We accept these differences in relationships of people being diametrically opposite but it’s often hard for us to see this in our existence. It’s important that when we endure these experiences that we are grounded. Otherwise, we can become off balanced. When we fail to remain centered, our balance is skewed and it can be easy to get hurt or hurt others because we have lost our footing.

Sometimes in life, we are hit with moments that knock us off of our feet. It’s important to realize that if we keep moving, we can hurt ourselves. It’s okay to stop, acknowledge the pain and take a break, if necessary, to recuperate.

For many of us, we continue to fall, remain off-balance and lose our center because we don’t ask for help. You don’t have to do this life alone. Life isn’t’ fair or easy. God never said it would be. Good times and tough times co-exist. The Bible says, “For he makes his sun shine on good and bad people alike, and he sends rain to the righteous and the unrighteous alike.” (Matthew 5:45 CSB)

The Bible reminds us that life has cycles that we must pay attention to:

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

Recognizing this doesn’t make it easier but it does help us to center our hope not in ourselves but in an all-knowing Father who is there throughout every season. God knew from the beginning of time that these experiences would be a part of our journey. It is our hope, our faith, and love that will keep us afloat when the storms hit us and rest assured, they will. We hold on to these scriptures to guide us through, to center us and help our balance even when we are shaky:

  • “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)
  • “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)
  • “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 62:5-6)

It’s inevitable that we will experience change in our lives from joy to grief. It’s important to know what is anchoring you through those moments. No matter the season, take God with you so that you can stand even when the storm is strong.

Remember, that despite the joy that the holidays bring for many are also a time of pain for others. Be kind, patient, consistent in checking in, offer love and support. Many need this right now.

Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew is the CEO of Soulstice Consultancy and the founder of the Reconciliation and Restoration Foundation (r2fdn.org). She is also the author of four books including Empowering Charity: A New Narrative of Philanthropy and the host of the Tapestry podcast.

FAITHFUL UTTERANCES: Secrets that are not Safe

Secrets

This summer, a childhood friend called me to inform me about the death of a mutual friend. I was stunned. Although I hadn’t seen her in years, I was saddened by the loss. She was known in her community for being so kind, a prayer warrior and so generous with her time and resources. She was so young—I wondered if something was wrong, if she had been ill—there had to be a reason someone so young passed away.

It was days ago that I discovered that her death was due to suicide. Someone who had been helping others, making sure that everyone was good and was always happy, encouraging and supportive to others felt that she could not go on any further. It was easier for her to take her life than to go through whatever she was experiencing.

The pain and loneliness that one must go through to even con-template taking their life must be agonizing. It’s easy to talk about why someone shouldn’t do this and that it is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Yet, in the midst of the pain, sometimes people need more than our lip service and our prayers. Sometimes people need to know that we see them, that they are loved and that there are safe spaces for them to be vulnerable and open about what they are going through.

If the church is a hospital for our souls, then there is a disconnect in many congregations across the country. We are not treating people with the care and concern that they need to live life abundantly. It’s like going to the grocery store to purchase food to go home with tires. It might be something worthy and useful, but it isn’t what I need.

We must create the space to check-in with others. It’s more than the small talk but being intentional about listening deeply. It’s allowing spaces that support and sustain instead of offering judgement and condemnation because their issues are not yours.

A recent article in USA Today discusses another secret that many churches will not address either—HIV and AIDS. The article states there were 7,000 women diagnosed with HIV in 2018 and Black women made up more than 4,000 cases, the CDC says. Overall, 1 in 9 women are unaware they have the virus. For many women, when they discover they have the virus, they are embarrassed and ashamed because of the stigma that goes along with being diagnosed.

Hiding secrets and not having a place to release one’s pain is killing us on so many levels. What would happen if we created spaces for transparency in our homes, relationships, churches and communities? What would happen if people could open up and share what they are feeling, are going through and feel safe in being honest about their struggles? What if we could offer the help that people needed in our congregations and communities instead of ignoring their cries with replies of “just pray about it.”

Secrets keep us in the dark. “No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.” (Luke 8:16 ESV) Are our congregations contributing to the darkness? Is it possible that we are not sharing the light of love with others that they would rather suffer in silence?

We have a real opportunity to love others well so that there are not more situations like the ones I’ve witnessed and experienced.

We can embrace others in love so that they don’t feel the need to hide their pain. They can feel heard, get help, and trust that their secrets are safe with us. “A gossip reveals a secret, but a trustworthy person keeps a confidence.” (Proverbs 11:13)

Check on those you love, especially the strong ones. Sometimes the weight is too heavy in carrying everyone else’s secrets.

Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew is the CEO of Soulstice Consultancy and the founder of the Reconciliation and Restoration Foundation (r2fdn.org). She is the author of 4 books including Empowering Charity: A New Narrative of Philanthropy (Baylor University Press) and the host of the Tapestry podcast.

Faithful Utterances : Gratitude is an entire Attitude

Attitude

As I’ve gotten older, Thanksgiving is different for me. Our gatherings are much smaller but more meaningful. When I was a kid, we would go to my grandparent’s house or visit my family in Houston. The memories of being surrounded by so much family, lots of food and laughter is something that I will always cherish. Times have changed. Many familiar faces are no longer with us and it’s bittersweet. I have many memories that I share with my daughter but it’s not the same. I miss those times of the past, but it’s made me more intentional about creating new memories.

Thanksgiving is more than a few days of rest, a great meal and some leftovers, it’s actually a time of reflection for me. It’s an opportunity to recognize God’s goodness and grace. No matter what we go through, there is something to always be grateful for. There are benefits to expressing gratitude. Harvard Health Publishing states, “gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” Gratitude is a choice that has significant implications for our lives.

The last 15 months of my life have been filled with enormous change and transition. It’s been difficult and yet, I see the hand of God all over my journey. It’s been something to witness both goodness and hardship exist at the same time. I’ve learned that to endure these difficult seasons of life, we must learn to practice gratitude. Gratitude is an important part of our faith.

No matter what I go through, God is there.

  • “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)

I am thankful for my friends and family. I am blessed to have the love and support from them. They accept my imperfections and love me in spite of me.

  • I thank God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy. (Philippians 1:3-4, NIV)

I am thankful for the provisions that God has blessed me with. I don’t focus on what I don’t have but I am keenly aware of what I do have:

  • When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. (Deuteronomy 8:10, NIV)

I am grateful for my health. As my mother says, ‘getting older isn’t for suckers’. The changes our bodies endure are not easy and yet, I am blessed to witness the gift of my body—the resilience, the ability and resolve!

  • “Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!” (Psalm 103:1-5, NLT)

I recognize my blessings are no accident. Being grateful is essential in recognizing the work of God in my life.

  • Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. (James 1:17)

I’ve made the choice to see the good, to be grateful, acknowledge the grief and loss and create new memories that honor the past, center the present and cast a vision for future possibilities.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew is the CEO of Soulstice Consultancy, founder of the Reconciliation and Restoration Foundation (r2fdn.org) and the author of 4 books including the recently released, Empowering Charity: A New Narrative of Philanthropy. She is also the host of the Tapestry podcast.

Faithful Utterances : Fateful Frenemies

Fateful Frenemies

I saw the video. It was difficult to watch Shanquella Robinson, 25, of Charlotte, beaten severely– allegedly by one of her travel companions. Robinson traveled on Oct. 28 with six friends to the resort city of San José del Cabo. Initially, her mother was called by the friends and told that her death was the result of alcohol poisoning.

The death certificate instead revealed that the cause was a “severe spinal cord injury and atlas luxation,” an instability of the first two neck vertebrae, WSOC reported. Alcohol was not mentioned in the report on the death certificate, and lists the time between injury and death as about 15 minutes and notes that Shanquella was found unconscious in the living room.

The video circulating shows Shanquella was being hit repeatedly in her head. She was not fighting back. Someone can be heard on the video asking if she “could at least fight back.” The mother said she recognizes the people on the video as the friends Shanquella traveled with to Mexico and believes the video was shot during the trip. It was disturbing to see others in the video do absolutely nothing to break it up.

Although the investigation continues on this case, my heart aches for the family. As a mother of an adult daughter, you hope that the people who are around your child, who profess to be their friends are actually people who will look out for your child. It’s sad that you must caution your children about the people that they are around and that the world isn’t safe. Despite no matter how much you try to protect your child from stranger danger, it’s often those who are the closest that can cause harm.

I don’t know exactly what happened in this young woman’s assault and death but I do know that we live in a world with those who camouflage who they are. The lyrics of the famous O’jays song states—“They smilin’ in your face, All the time, they want to take your place, The back stabbers.” The Bible affirms this: “For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of G o d …” (2 Timothy 3:2-4)

As much as we’d like to believe in the good in everyone, the reality is that everyone doesn’t have the same moral code, ethics or integrity. Shanquella must have trusted these individuals to travel out of the country with them. They obviously gained her trust only to betray it.

We’ve all experienced believing that someone cared for us, had our best interests at heart only to discover otherwise. Betrayal isn’t new. Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, Potiphar’s wife, and the Pharaoh’s chief cup holder (Genesis 37:23-24, 28, Genesis 39:16-18, Genesis 40:23 NLT) King Saul rewarded David for taking Goliath down. Even after bringing David into Saul’s family and kingdom, Saul was determined to murder David. (1 Samuel 18-and 1 Samuel 19) Even Jesus experienced betrayal. Jesus was betrayed by someone close to him. “And even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests and elders of the people.” (Matthew 17:22 NLT)

Betrayal is devastating. It is not only a violation of trust but the consequences can impact our mental, emotional, spiritual and in some instances, physical well-being. We don’t always know who will betray us. The Bible reminds us to be careful: “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)

I know that justice will be served for Shanquella Robinson. “Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.” (Galatians 6:7)

Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew is the CEO of Soulstice Consultancy, founder of the Reconciliation and Restoration Foundation (r2fdn.org) and the author of 4 books including the recently released, Empowering Charity: A New Narrative of Philanthropy. She is also the host of the Tapestry podcast.

Faithful Utterance : The Dash is Very Important

Petrina Gay Jenkins
Petrina Gay Jenkins
Petrina Gay Jenkins

I will never forget that unique voice that was so soft, but you could always hear her joy. She was consistently kind, generous, and a fighter. Our grandmothers were best friends. Our grandfathers were on the deacon board together. We were both in youth ministry as kids at First Baptist Church on Henderson Avenue in Shreveport, Louisiana. Although our lives moved in different directions after high school, she went on to become a fierce warrior in the domestic violence space advocating for women. She was well known and respected for the ways in which she served others. Despite the media attention she received for being a change agent, she was still down to earth and a true lover of people. It was painful to find out that she had become ill and that on Sunday, she passed away. It was a blessing to grow up with such a beautiful person who was always a light. The legacy she has left behind for her mother, two sons, family, friends, and those she served is monumental.

Death is something that we will ALL face. It is inevitable. The day will come when each of us will leave this body. We will leave behind our possessions, our jobs, our relationships. My friend is the epitome of a life well lived. Her Facebook page is filled with tributes of the kindness she displayed to others. I am sure this weekend at her services, the tributes of her character and compassion will continue to be shared.

Some of us get so fixated on the wrong things as we strive for success. We can get so focused on the end result that we don’t think much about the process or the people. People don’t remember when you are gone what you wore, how much you made, or the titles you had throughout your career. People remember how you made them feel. They remember what you said, how you treated them, your traits and the impact you had on their existence.

What will people say about you when you are no longer here?

Are you too busy building a life of success or one of significance?

The impact of my childhood friend’s life will reverberate for years beyond her time on earth. I am comforted in knowing that she lived a wonderful life but more so that because of her belief in God and strong faith, I know where she is. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” (John 14:1-4)

God has prepared a place for her. I am saddened by the loss of such a wonderful human, but my grief is different. “Now we do not want you to be uninformed, believers, about those who are asleep [in death], so that you will not grieve [for them] as the others do who have no hope [beyond this present life]. (1 Thessalonians 4:13, AMP)

Although the dates of January 14, 1972 — November 6, 2022 only share her birth and death, it doesn’t offer any indicator what happened in the dash. Her dash was one that was transformative. In her dash, she made those around her better. Her dash made a difference. What is happening with your dash?

Live a life that matters.

Live a life that blesses others.

Most importantly, live a life of accepting, believing unconditionally, knowing intimately, and walking daily with God.

Rest well, my friend. Your legacy of love lives on!

Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew is the CEO of Soulstice Consultancy and the Founder of R2Foundation (r2fdn. org). She is the author of 4 books including the recently published, Empowering Charity: A New Narrative of Philanthropy and the host of The Tapestry podcast.

FAITHFUL UTTERANCES: Will it ever end?

never

The problem is getting worse and debating over guns hasn’t made a difference. 21-year-old Asia Womack was murdered by a male friend in Dallas because she beat him in a basketball game. “But this is so senseless,” said Pastor John Delley. “You become embarrassed basically because a female beat you in basketball.” According to the family, the shooter took his kids and brother home and came back to the park, shooting Asia five times.

30-year-old Nestor Hernandez was in Dallas Methodist Hospital’s labor and delivery area about 10:20 a.m. on Saturday, October 22. That’s when Hernandez entered the hospital room where his girlfriend had given birth the day before. While in the room with his girlfriend and newborn child, Hernandez began to act strangely and accused his girlfriend of cheating on him, according to documents. Two hospital employees were shot and killed by Hernandez as they entered the room to do their job.

Both of these men are not the exception. There are countless incidents that we can all reference that point to the increase of mass shootings and domestic abuse. Much of this is steeped in a warped view of manhood. I must admit that I’m blessed to know some amazing men who defy what we see in the news. Yet, we must acknowledge that there is a problem and quite often, it starts in the home.

It’s how we are taught to think about what makes one masculine and often, it’s a view that includes power, violence, and dominance. According to the New York Times, “toxic masculinity,” or “traditional masculinity ideology,” is defined it, in part, as a set of behaviors and beliefs that include the following:

  • Suppressing emotions or masking distress
  • Maintaining an appearance of hardness
  • Violence as an indicator of power (think: “tough-guy” behavior)

Please know that it doesn’t mean that all men are inherently toxic. I want to make sure that we also understand that there are women with anger issues who attack and fight men—all of it is a problem.

I’ve discovered that many of us are struggling because we do not have an emotional vocabulary. We go from 0 to 100 because we don’t understand our feelings. We often mistaken anger for betrayal, disappointment or neglect. We don’t take the time to process how we feel and move from feelings to reacting often negatively, ignoring the consequences of our behavior. It’s critical that we normalize therapy. People need help!

It’s important that we understand the magnitude of this issue. Our views of both women and men are limiting. This perspective is a matter of life and death. PlanStreetInc states, “More than 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced either physical violence, rape, or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Victims are commonly abused by those who are closest to them.” We’ve become desensitized and accepting of this behavior.

Something must change and soon.

It’s important to establish God views both men AND women as important :

  • “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27 ESV) It’s also important that we recognize the value in one another:
  • “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3 ESV)

When we value others, we will treat others well. Unresolved anger is dangerous.

  • “For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” (James 1:20 ESV)

It’s also important to realize that the way we see others is tied to how we feel about ourselves. When we don’t see our own value and the way God sees us, it’s easier to dismiss and even hurt those closest to us.

The Bible gives us the knowledge on doing things differently:

  • “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19 ESV)

The solution can’t be legislated. It requires a change in our thinking and in our behavior.

Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew is the CEO of Soulstice Consultancy and the Founder of R2Foundation (r2fdn.org). She is the author of 4 books including the recently published, Empowering Charity: A New Narrative of Philanthropy and the host of The Tapestry podcast.
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