You can’t escape your “Why”…
(A Blog by Gary and Lisa Black, last one on these sites)
We have tried to run; we have tried to hide… We have curled into fetal positions, and we have shaken our fists at God. We have fought for our family, we have clung to our marriage, and we have fought for our faith. Through it all we have never stopped fighting for the next generation.
Before we became “Gary and Lisa Black” we were called to reach the broken and hurting, and the day we committed our lives to each other, everything we knew separately suddenly made sense. We took the pain from our two, separate broken lives… and we became one, along with our 5 babies. We shared the same belief in living beyond the status quo, and living for others, not ourselves. Every morning we taught the kids, every night we would gather at the table to break bread and we reiterated these truths again. We formed our own mission statement, we posted it on our doors, and we recited it every day; who we were, and why we existed on this earth. When the call to Africa came, we were all scared, we were all excited, and we all knew we had to go, no matter what the cost.
The cost was not just high, it almost killed us!
Africa was hard but coming home to the USA was the beginning of the hardest season we have ever known. We came home lost, sick, confused and disillusioned. Without taking a breath we dove headfirst into the American lifestyle. The cell phones, the sports, the endless activities, after over a year of being together without any distraction… we were in deeper than ever. And now, 4 of our children were teenagers, dealing with much more than we could even begin to understand. None of us knew how to deal with our pain, none of us knew how to deal with our hurt, so we separated… physically all 8 of us lived under the same roof, but the walls went up, the hearts got hard and we struggled to grasp who we were and what we were here for. The Blacks forgot their purpose. The Blacks tried to run from our “Why” because the cost was SO high.
The years have passed, and we are still here, in many ways we know less, but we understand more. We never stopped trying, we have traveled the world to teach and mentor other people’s children, while leaving our own six children behind. Other people’s children took over our lives and filled our home and slept on our floors. Our hearts were in the right place, but somehow it never worked, it never flowed, we could never get back to who we were in Africa; we were doing our thing, and our kids were doing theirs. Resentment grew, hearts grew harder and our once deeply bonded tribe was no longer fighting the same fight. We were all fighting alone, and fighting each other. Isolation is what kills marriages, what kills families and what ultimately kills souls.
Living under the same roof is not enough! Your family will not survive in separate rooms without connecting, without looking each other in the eyes, without loving each other with your lives, not just your existence.
We knew our family was hurting, but we were unsure of exactly what we could do. And then April 17th, 2013 hit. Every parent’s worst fear! Our beautiful, talented, brilliant 19 year old son had taken his own life while alone in his dorm room. Our home and our lives were flooded with love and support… Many people flocked to us, not just because they loved us, but because they knew this could be their story, their family, and their child. Still, life was giving us more questions, and it seemed even less answers.
But the call never left us. We had taught, preached, mentored and loved so many…and we had no idea what it was all for, let alone what to do with all the pain and the loss.
Clearly something is going on in this generation; they are extremely privileged, but also struggling with depression, anxiety, and dark thoughts.
As much as we were rocked by every text, Facebook message and phone call from the hurting kids in this younger generation, it was the parents that left us feeling especially breathless. Looking into the eyes of a mom or dad who knew they were months, or days away from possibly losing their child to hopelessness pierced our very beings. We felt their pain, we could relate to their despair. They were looking to us for answers, and all we could do was empathize and cry with them.
I (Gary) was working from home one morning before the sun came up and I decided to go for a run in the neighborhood instead of the gym. It was then that I began to hear this phrase over and over again in my mind, and in my spirit, “M456, M456, M456…” but I had no idea what that meant. As I was walking back into the house from this walk, my phone rang. “Gary, it’s Dr. Eric, your biopsy came back and you have cancer in the tissue of your stomach, we need to do surgery very soon”.
My cancer is not serious, and they are 90% sure they can get all of it, but, it does mess with you mentally and physically. It does, as much as our life has done these past years, make you realize that life is short, people are important and the “Call” or “Why” of your life has to be priority. God will walk you thru just about anything to get you ready to serve your family and others the way you were created to serve them! AND, if you let Him, he will get you to your “Why”.
As soon as I hung up the phone with my doctor, I knew what “M456” was, at least part of it – He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents.” Life circumstances and raising 6 children together, we have always been called to young people. Now, we understand what it means to help them honor the older generation and help the “Parents” to understand, honor and serve them. The “Call” has never really changed, but we have.
Lisa was widowed at 25 with two babies; I lost my first marriage to mental illness at 33 and had to fight for my three boys. Divorce, adultery, loss of reputation, bankruptcy, success and failure in business and ministry; living in Africa, traveling the world, discipleship and training thousands, preaching to even more, losing our 19 year old son, sickness and now cancer. Watching our children fight thru all of the above, has all lead us to this place; a place of total dependency, a place of total trust, a place of freedom. Nothing much matters now except what we were placed on this earth to do.
We are prepared, we are humbled, and we are confident. Suddenly, it all makes sense…
Our “Why” – “Turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents.” answers, solutions and help for both generations… it is our calling and passion.
The “How” – Lisa has two books ready to be edited (need a good editor). One on The Kitchen-Table (get back to the kitchen; the best conversations and connections for family happens around the table – we will give tips on how to communicate, connect and thrive as family, go to www.facebook.com/thektable for highlights from the book)!
Also, we have helped launch a website, www.belay.co where anyone, young or old, can go to ask anonymous questions about anything; divorce, anger, suicide, eating disorders, depression, etc., and have professionals answer your questions and direct you to immediate help when needed.
Lastly, get our entire “Premium” content at www.garyandlisablack.com for $10 a year. For less than $1 a month, you can come along side of us to reach the generations. Get our new blogs, our books, Lisa’s recipes, daily encouragement, guides on family discussions and bible studies, how to talk to your kids about sex, suicidal thoughts, spiritual attacks, bullying, etc., how to talk to your parents about sex, anger, divorce, dating, marriage, future etc. If you go there right now you will find a blog on how to pray for your marriage in a powerful life changing way! Amazing way for single people to pray for their future spouse…
We have to get back to the basics; we have to get back to family and giving ourselves to an answer…
It’s really very simple, and none of us can escape it.