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Brothers and sisters it’s been a difficult time along my journey recently. I won’t burden you with my struggles because I know and understand we all have struggles, pitfalls and obstacles that line our paths. So, my thoughts for penning this morning is not to add to what you may be struggling with, but to, hopefully, encourage you by sharing the light which the Father is shining on me today.

I allowed a feeling of unworthiness to enter my spirit that discouraged me. I, for a brief moment, bought into what others say about me and who they think I should be. In other words, I climbed into their box of limits and boundaries and just sat there, enclosed and stifled, waddling in their environment, chained to their labeled corner they had allocated for me.

But, while I was there, I was blessed with a flashback of a sermon by Dr. Jeremiah Wright. He delivered this sermon a few years ago at our church service here in Dallas, TX. (I thank the Father for allowing this sermon to penetrate my spirit, so much so, that I was able to recall it when I most needed it.)

Dr. Wright painted this picture so vividly in my mind, that I can see it as if I am a part of it. He told us, whenever you get discouraged (and it will happen to all who chooses to walk with the Father), just envision yourself in a race against time, your enemies and yourself. Yes, you are tired and you want to give up…but, just look up and listen. In the stands of this coliseum are your cheerleaders, encouraging you not to give up, but to keep on going. What a beautiful vision.

So, while I was in this discouraging place along my path. I called on my cheerleaders, the ones who have passed this life, but their spirits live in me. I can hear my earthly mother and father cheering me on, saying, “there goes my daughter, I’m so proud of you…keep on going baby”.

I can hear my heroes, Maya Angelou, Dr. King, Malcolm, James Baldwin, Harriett Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and Marcus Garvey saying to me, “no one said the work would be easy, but, it is necessary….keep on going”.

I can hear the thousands of nameless brothers and sisters who sacrificed their bodies and laid their dignity on the line for my right to equality, encouraging me saying, “it’s your turn now to carry the baton….you can do it…keep on going”.

Mostly, I can hear my Father, Creator of the Universe, saying, “I’m right here with you and I’m proud of you…daughter, get up there’s work to do…keep on going”.

So, knowing and believing I’m not alone in this journey; I’m up and back in the race against time, my enemies and me; unchained, unboxed, unbought…free.

If you find yourself in need of encouragement this day, I hope you can envision your own coliseum, with your own cheerleaders, cheering you on to stand and get back in the race.

I would like to leave you with my poem of encouragement, “Free to Rise Up”.

Once I was shook up

My mind finally woke up

I learned to walk with my head up

Now when faced with tough times, I will never again give up

Assured by His presence I will forever look up

With every step I take I will send His praises up

I am eternally grateful to Him for lifting me up

Through this journey I’ve learned,

I have no need to hide behind society’s make-up

Or to live a life of an animal, systematically tamed and caged up

Since I’ve let go of the “social bondage” crutch, I will stand up

I will shout, my voice can no longer be muted or trained to shut up

Without a doubt, I know that I am spiritually hooked-up

And although I may get tripped up

I may stumble and slip up

I may even fall down…

But, through His grace I am forever free to Rise up

Peace and Many Blessings,

La Royce

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