I am so honored to post this podcast! Listen in as Greg Hoyte shares his story with us. (Greg is next to his sister in the above picture.)
You will be fascinated by Greg’s story. He shares his journey from his childhood in Guyana, South America to Brooklyn, New York. He moved to New York when he was 14 years old after his parents worked in the US for years to earn enough money for the kids to join them. Initially excited and feeling like a dream came true, he found himself caught up in the violence of the Brooklyn streets as a teenager, filled with fear and rage and thinking there was no way out. But God showed up and provided a way. Looking back Greg can see that God never left him. This is a story of family, immigration, violence, fear, grace and hope. This is an American story.
As he talked, I just sat listening, fascinated. He “puts skin on” so many things we talk about today – immigration, violence, public education in American cities, gangs, family, friendship, God, faith, race, respect, discipline, the American dream, fear, hope.
Greg lives in Wisconsin now with his beautiful wife Amy and their three amazing kids.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. -Psalm 23:4
Friends, great Big YES on Instagram and Facebook will be running stories of hope and optimism. Please share yours!! Tag with #unleashoptimism and @greatbigyes and I will repost on Great Big YES! I know there are MANY amazing stories. They don’t have to be long or perfect just real. Why do you have hope? Let’s talk about the good stuff! There is so much good in the world! We can share stories of hope and possibility and faith and optimism. Please join me! (If you want to just share a story in the comments or email me, I will format and share on social media (mom 🙂 ) also if you don’t understand what I’m talking about let me know and I’ll help you. All you need is the story.
Where do you find hope? What lessons have you learned from your parents? What do you dream and hope for your kids? What are your favorite parts of this beautiful country? Did you have military family? Are you military? Who was your favorite teacher? What’s your greatest lesson learned? Why are you powerful? Where do you find God? What brings you joy? What creative pursuits do you love? Why do you fly the flag? What’s your favorite poem? Who is your favorite American author? What American stories do you love? Where do you vacation in America? What do you remember about history and government being taught in school? What lights you up about our freedoms? What makes you happy? What are you grateful for? Who has helped you in your life?
I posted one of mine today on Instagram and Facebook:
Claim your freedom. Celebrate! Feeling so grateful for parents who told me I can do anything I want, be anything I want…no limits. And then they showed me what hard work looks like. They taught me manners and discipline and kindness. More than once it was said, “There’s no free lunch” and “be part of the solution” and “be grateful” and “be kind”. We laughed and celebrated and enjoyed each other. Because life is good and God is good and America is the best country on earth. My dad fought in World War 2 and he didn’t have time or patience for disrespect of flag or country. He was an intelligent, kind man who loved God and loved me completely. When I told him that I wanted to marry someone like him because he knew everything, he said “No, you want someone to marry you because YOU know everything.” I never felt limits or fear or anger. Just joy and humility and gratitude and possibility. I had a voice in my family. They believe(d) in me. This will never leave me. I will choose it every day. Darkness has no hold on me. I am the daughter of the King of Kings and the daughter of an earthly father who loved me well. I am free. #unleashoptimism @greatbigyes
Love you people of light and goodness. I believe in us. And in the US.
I don’t know anymore.
I hear them say the country is going to hell in a hand basket. And I think but God…
I listen to reports of protesting and fear and anger. People imagining a particular outcome is certain doom. And I think but God….
I hear of church corruption and abuse and people hurt by those they trusted for guidance. And I think but God…
I learn about sex trafficking and horrible dark crimes happening on the sunny streets near me. And I think but God…
We can wrap ourselves in anxiety and agree to be victims. We can get worked up and forget that we belong to each other. We can dehumanize others so we can easily hate and call it just. But God…
God says we are victorious. He says we are beloved. He assures us we are enough. He implores us to not be afraid. He tells us to be bold and courageous and kind.
Jesus teaches us to love our neighbor as ourself.
So first, love yourself. Call yourself worthy. Look in the mirror. Take a good long look and get right with that person. Hurt people hurt people. Heal your hurt. Invite the Lord in to minister to your heart. Get free.
Listen to the soft whisper of grace and dance in the cool breeze of freedom. Then don’t forget it. Return to the well for Living Water. Every day. Every minute. You will need it. Drench yourself in the Spirit of God. Stay free.
Remember that every single soul on earth needs that same mirror moment. Trump. Sanders. Clinton. Cruz. Rubio. Kasich. Just like you. And the supporters of all of them. They are not the devil. They are human. They need God. They long for Hope. They hunger for peace. Offer peace. And kindness and grace. Offer to others what you have been so freely given.
We can’t see God’s actual hand of protection and love and provision in these political discussions but we can see and hear YOU. How are you representing that soft whisper of grace and that cool breeze of freedom?
Don’t just talk about what you want. Be what you want. Show others what’s possible. No fear. Just love. We need you. Go ahead…Lead.
©2016 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes ™ All Rights Reserved