The great exchange

During this week’s article, I have the tremendous privilege of honoring two great women in my life. My mother, Gayle Snyder and my wife Norma Davis. My mother was a single mother who moved my sister and I here to the great community of Mt. Pleasant in 1991. She was an active member of her church and was able to give back to her church and community by volunteering in many ways.

Her laugh and joy was so recognizable and she deeply cared and loved people in an authentic way. She passed away at the end of 2016 but the Godly foundation she laid will last from generation to generation as her children and grandchildren and ultimately great grandchildren will be men and women who seek God with all of their heart.

I grew up in a fatherless home, but my mom taught me from the time I can remember what it meant to have a Heavenly Father. I have the blessing of having a deep relationship with Jesus from the time I can remember because of the foundation my mother laid. Although there really rough moments in my childhood and life, moments of dysfunction and chaos, I always had a peace because I knew Jesus loved me, and I love Him, and that’s all that mattered.

Fatherless children represent 70 percent of the juveniles in state institutions, 71 percent of high school dropouts, 75 percent of children in chemical abuse centers, 85 percent of youths in prison and 90 percent of homeless and runaway children.

My sister and I could have likely been a statistic, but I was taught from an early age that I could exchange my bitterness and anger toward not having a natural dad in the picture, and growing up in the midst of prevalent racism, I could exchange for His joy. I could exchange doubt, fear, anxiety and confusion for His peace. Even though later in life when I would struggle with alcohol and marijuana addiction, I knew I could exchange those addictions for dependence and reliance on God. That’s just what I did.

There is no doubt we live in a hurting world. A lot of decisions made in this “anything goes” society can likely be connected to hurt and pain. If you are in that place of hurt, pain, fear, rejection understand that there is a God who loves you and has a plan for your life. There are great churches in this community that would love to surround you, and demonstrate what it means to live for Jesus and disciple you.

Jesus says this in Matthew 11:28-30:

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR OUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

There is no doubt there are hurting people, hurting single mothers, hurting married mothers and hurting children, wherever you are, know that you can exchange your hurt for God’s peace and joy.

My wife Norma does everything around the house. With my schedule being as busy as it is, I am pretty sure the house would fall if it weren’t for my wife and the support she provides. Women are strong, sometimes I question whether the strength of a woman is greater than that of a man. Maybe you are a mother who is married but feel undervalued, underappreciated, disrespected. Please understand that God loves you. You are never undervalued in the eyes of God. Proverbs describes the worth of a Godly woman.

Proverbs 31:27-30 says this:

“She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her, saying: ‘Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all.’ Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”

To mothers all over Mount Pleasant and Henry County. Happy Mother’s Day. And again, please know if you are in that place of frustration as a mother, know that there is a great exchange waiting for you … His name is Jesus and He wants to take your burden and replace it with His peace. Have a great Mother’s Day weekend.