25th Birthday

Posted: August 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

I sit here on the eve of my birthday, not fully the man I desire to be, but completely satisfied with the man I am today.

There’s so much I could write. I could tell you about how I lost my mother to cancer, the relationships I’ve gained and the ones I no longer have, the spectacular changes in my body (from bodybuilding, not puberty), how my love for the Lord and His people has deepened exponentially, and the list literally could go on.

I would like to think I’d have amassed this great advice I could easily share with you, but I don’t. Only a few, simple, things; life doesn’t have to be perfect, the Lord is good no matter the situation, and if you so desire, you’ll get better regardless of what life throws your way.

So there it is. The manifesto of Adam Williams, albeit a short one, because 25 years isn’t that long. The things I’d love to say, I’ve realized are written on the hearts of the people I interact with and I would rather them tell you all the wonderful stories about us, because I hope there aren’t any bad ones.

Cheers to 25 and all that comes with it.

 

Adam

The Uniform and Power

Posted: April 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

You don’t care about the badge or the uniform, the police issued boots or the patches with the city’s name on them. The handcuffs and pepper spray have become blurs in your mind. There is typically one thing that you look for to distinguish a real police officer from the guy with a single flashing light on his car creeping through Wal-Mart’s parking lot. Same uniform (almost), same watch, same boots. But one thing is wildly different, the gun.

You will always look for the presence of power in someone’s life to validate who they truly are. For a large amount of people, the contrast between a real cop and the Top Flight Security employee, is the firearm. No matter the ideas present about what the officer with a gun is capable of or what someone with a uniform but no gun is lacking, the fact remains that there is a huge difference between the two.

Satan looks at Believers in the same manner. There are things that verify belief in a Christians life. Church attendance, daily prayer, meekness, Bible reading, etc…But if one lacks power, the type of power that causes the blind to see and the deaf to hear, then, to Satan, that person is no menace to his occasion. He is simply a guy with a badge and a cell phone, but no gun.

In a battle where the fight is for things unseen, credentials alone have never been enough.

One of the things I’ve learned over the last few weeks is that Coldplay has a song for every emotion known to man. I feel they should change their name to Psalms or some other creative name that involves the roller coaster ride of emotion displayed in the book of Psalms.

3 years ago I told my mentor and now very good friend that for whatever reason by the time I turned 25 I’d be a “bad” man. Bad in the sense of being the type of person that the world is going to have to pay a lot of attention to. As I think about the past 6 months I see this huge progression in my life toward becoming the man that I so rashly spoke about. My understanding of money and finance has grown, I have excelled at sharpening the gifts that I’ve been given (both tangible and intangible), my love for my family has grown especially for my brother, I’ve had the chance to become a more well-rounded individual through opportunities provided from new friends, and I most recently have become what is termed an orphan.

For those of you who don’t know I lost my father to a heart-attack when I was 13 and recently lost my mother to breast cancer. Some ask do I ever wish I had a father growing up and I reply that I didn’t really know what it was like to have one therefore it didn’t bother me either way. No matter the situation between my mother and father in regards to me having a dad the point I’m making is that I grew up without one. I don’t blame him or her for that, I just look at it as “that was the situation” and move on. I reference that because for me to had lost my father at 13 wasn’t something that carried much weight with me. He unfortunately was someone I didn’t know. I went to his funeral devoid of emotion, crying only because I saw my siblings (my fathers children) doing so. Picked up my stuff and went on. You might think that to be cold, but as far as I knew my father was Nina Williams and my mother was Nina Williams. No disrespect at all to my father, but I loosely liken the situation to the question, “how can you lose something you never had”?

Being 24 and having both of your parents gone isn’t easy as most of you could imagine, but I’ve been able to bear the weight very well because of reasons which I will address.

My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer about two years ago. I remember the meeting we had at her house with the whole family. Lots of tears were shed but I was already looking toward the next step, treatment and most importantly prayer for healing. I found myself not so heavily concerned with the cancer itself but rather how to make sure that my mom came out on the other side of this alive and well.

The last two years for my mom were very rough. She had a double mastectomy, lost all of her hair on 2 separate occasions, went through hell with chemotherapy and radiation, and to top it all off She had an 8 year old son at home who saw her go through every single day of it all.

It wasn’t all bad days though. There were plenty of moments filled with family at different outings, trips with close friends, meals with her children, opportunities to see her eldest son preach the Good News, and many, many other events that made her last years so very special. I want to give the deepest thanks for those of you who made those events possible for my mother.

Her last three weeks were very rough. She was taken to the hospital by my grandmother and sister complaining of headaches one evening. They kept her overnight to run some tests on her. Come to find out the cancer that was in my moms body had spread not only to her chest, but also to her liver and certain parts of her brain. It was recommended that she have surgery that would involve cutting a portion of her head open and dropping in a catheter of sorts so chemotherapy could be properly delivered to the affected areas. For me the two days after this surgery while she was in the hospital were the toughest. My mom was in ICU with 1/5 of her head shaved and stitches mending the incision. She wasn’t really able to speak very well or even stay awake much because of the pain medication and the surgery itself. I think sitting there watching her sleep in that quiet room was the moment which was most capable of drawing me to tears. It seemed as though every song that I listened to, in some sort of way, brought tears my my eyes and I begin to weep as I sang the words and thought about what was awaiting my mom.

The two weeks following showed great bursts of joy while she was in the hospital. She had to ask that only immediate family visit her room because so many people were coming to see her that hadn’t seen her for quite some time. I absolutely loved it. I thought it such a beautiful sight to that in the face of death, family and friends were literally lined up outside her door to visit with a woman who had unbeknownst to herself, touched so many lives in 41 short years.

After being released from the hospital my mother was at home with more family than I ever believed could fit into a 1800 sq. foot area. After her first day at home she became very weak, hardly able to eat or speak. Much assistance was needed for her to even get to the restroom. This continued up until her last two days in which she in a sense “slipped under”. To my knowledge my mom wasn’t in a coma, as she was fully aware of her surroundings and could hear everything you spoke to her, rather she just lost control of her body. She hadn’t gone to the restroom in a few days and had to have a foley catheter placed on her which pulled out mostly blood-mixed urine from her body and her stomach was also completely bloated from not having bowel movements. And while all of this was going on her hands were limp and her breathing became extremely labored. Her body slowed down to about 4 breathes a minute or one every 17 seconds. No food or water was given to her as it could have killed her as she wasn’t able to control the manner in which her body functioned.

In the midst of this, hope was brought to us all. She had opened her eyes! Although she still wasn’t able to move her hands or feet, she was able to answer questions via blinking. What a great relief this was. Where there had seemingly been no hope, we all were suddenly blessed with this gift! But, even though we were all excited about that event, she finally passed on October 27, 2012 at 4:44pm.

Coldplay famously say in their song “No, I don’t wanna battle from beginning to end…I don’t wanna follow death and all of his friends”. Regardless of the actual meaning of the song I have taken it to mean that he didn’t want to follow death to where it would lead him, to the end of life. Crazy huh? I mean its not like he actually said that in the song. Ha. I’m way too good at this. Chris Martin, get at ya boy, I can take Coldplay worldwide.

The thing that we all know but sometimes forget is that we will all follow death (unless your name is Enoch or Elijah). It comes for us all in one way or the other no matter our feelings about “him” or “all his friends”.

I believe that was where I started with my handling of the situation, that death would come. It was crazy to me and I still don’t know what it means if anything at all really, but weeks before all of this happened to my mom I found myself reading in the Bible and discovered that God’s last enemy to destroy before He takes the world back, is death itself. That’s odd to me because I never knew death to be an enemy of anyone, especially God. Regardless, I was reminded that all people die.

After that I sat down while my mom was still alive and thought about this whole process. I knew that beyond the hand of God moving to heal her, she was going to see Him very soon. So I asked myself what was I to do with that information? I figured I could continue to cry, which I had done at length, or I could find something else to invest myself in. I decided that my best shot at gaining anything positive out of this situation was to invest myself in what I knew I had with me all along, my faith in Christ.

My mother, long before this situation occurred, professed her belief in Christ as the son of God and what He had done for her, and to this, day that is one of the most comforting things that has ever crossed my mind.

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard from people how strong I am over the last month. To be honest, one of the major things I’ve learned through this is that there was a need in my life to be more vulnerable, but not with the traditional means in mind. We are all vulnerable in some way and whether we like it or not some of those vulnerabilities are going to stay with us until we die. My need for it though, was so that I could allow those who so desired to come close to me and I could tell them a story. A story about my strength. A story about the smile that Nina blessed me with which I was able to wear as I spoke at her viewing. A story about the great investment that Someone made in me and was hoping to gain even much more yield from, in such a seemingly unfruitful situation.  A story about Jesus and the joy that He so desires to see all of us have.

Being a C-h-r-i-s-t-i-a-n (see what I did there, home-schoolers?) isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. I’m a Christian and my mom just died. Unfortunate things happen to Christians every day all around the world. I am completely aware of this fact especially aware on a personal level. I just couldn’t help but to be reminded that after my mom died she would be in the presence of the Lord. I thought about it as I sat in her ICU room and everyday following, including at her funeral. But I realized that’s not where my main investment is. My main investment is in Christ. And in terms of death, I thought to myself, how could I be so heavily invested in something that is an enemy of the one I am already heavily invested in? I speak not against mourning in saying this. Jesus was deeply moved at the news of Lazarus’s death. The apostle Paul speaks about his thanks that one of his companions was not taken from him in death because he knew that it would greatly affect the work he set out to do in his ministry. What I point out is that in Christ we’ll have rainbows and unicorns and we’ll also have some very dark days. He never promises to take the bad days away, rather He promises to give you something to hold on to no matter the situation. (See Philippians 4:11-13)

As I stated before I’ve been told multiple times about the strength and poise that I possess in the midst of my mother passing. I’ve only been able to tell people that it’s Jesus in me and be it not for Him then I’d be just as “messed up” over it as you say you would be.

Nehemiah 8:10 says …”the joy of the Lord is your strength”. There you go. I have reminded myself of this daily. My secret in all of this wasn’t some idiotic sense of pride making myself not cry or seem vulnerable in front of others, because quite frankly I’ve been the opposite of that. If my investment was in death I feel I personally would have an exponentially harder time dealing with this. I think that’s because there isn’t anything for me to yield from death. I found/find myself rejoicing in the Lord and somehow waking up everyday ready to make incredible change in this world and give my mom and I something to talk about when I get to Heaven.

The wonderful thing about Jesus and His sacrifice is that it wasn’t just for me, it was also for you. So, there you are. The cookies are on the bottom shelf and any child could recognize when someone takes the best thing in life and sets it in his reach that he should probably take it. Who knows, maybe you’ll see that in the secret of having plenty and the secret of having nothing Christ was all my mom needed.

As for me, I rejoice in the world because I have joy, but when I invest in the Kingdom I realize that I have joy because I rejoice in Him. I hope you can read the smile on my face and the joy in my heart.

Thank you and may God truly bless you. I love you all.

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I chose this picture to show that even in her darkest hour my mother stood up to hug her “#1 son” I love her dearly…

I am unsure as to whether I can accurately articulate my words in lieu of the events that have recently transpired in my life. So, what follows, is my attempt at doing so. 

I love my little (10 yr old) brother to Heaven and back. I would do absolutely anything for him and for his well being. To me, part of that requires that I occasionally (actually always, ha) spend money on him, which I never tire of doing. Its really a great pleasure of mine because I love doing everything I can to make certain he needs or wants for nothing. So recently I told him that I would take him to Hurricane Harbor for some good brotherly bonding.

Fast forward to last night, I was at work and it was a fairly slow night. I saw some very good friends and lots of familiar faces. One table in particular that I waited on was a group of older white women that I had seen previously. (I make such a description about this particular table because in America and the American service industry of which I have been a part of for 2 years, there is unfortunately a lot of weight that is put on age, race, and gender. The older I get though, the better I understand that these factors have very little, if anything, to do with how people tip, act, speak, socialize, etc…) I had such a wonderful time waiting on these ladies before and this go-round I was greeted with more enthusiasm than I believed and group of people could muster! As I go through my “opening” to the table one lady asks how my family is doing. I can’t recall if we spoke about my family last time they were in or not, either way I responded saying they are doing well and that I would soon be taking my brother to Hurricane Harbor. They were all so happy to hear that my brother and I would be going on such an adventure. One of the ladies even told me about how later on in life her sibling (who is also 13 years her junior as is my brother to me) revealed to her that the times they spent with each other meant so much to her and that she, to this day, hadn’t forgotten all the occasions they enjoyed together when they were younger. I was filled with joy as I listened to her story, smiled, and continued working. We had a few laughs before the ladies all left (It was one of their birthdays.). But as they were leaving, one of the ladies stopped me and handed me a blue envelope and smiled. It had a scratched out name on it, which I presume was the B-Day girls name, my name written above it, and written below it all were three simple words that flooded my heart with great emotion.

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 As I said before I believe I can fully articulate what it means to me what these ladies have done together. I’m not rich, but I didn’t need the money nor did I ask for it and I believe these ladies were fully aware of that. I don’t think they were trying to meet some need. What took place was the abundance of love flowing from four women to me. It didn’t matter that they are older and I young, that they are white and I am black (most of my close friends think I’ll end up marrying a white woman so take that racism! Ha!), or even that they are female and I a male. What mattered was love. How could they have this love for me and my brother and barely know me? How is it possible that what society would call in such a demeaning manner “four old white women” invoke such joy in a young man’s heart who they’ve only met once? These questions I am not sure of the answers to. But what I do know is that I got to experience love on such a deep level with little to no qualification, and for that I am forever in awe of these beautiful women because of their audacity and of my amazing God for revealing such a small piece of Himself to me through them.

 

Untitled

Posted: December 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

I can’t seem to fit my thoughts into a 140 character Tweet so I have to explain myself. I believe we all go through important moments in life for whatever reason and some very long while others are very short, but no matter what we will all experience them. For me, this moment is a moment of revelation.

I’m sitting in my house watching a ESPN special on a 15 yr old who can’t be around other kids because of a kidney disorder he has that affects his immune system. But this post isn’t about how sick he is as much as it is about what I could see in his heart.

All of a sudden I find myself overwhelmed by tears. I see a kid who doesn’t have much in the way of social or socio-economic status but someone whose life has value. Lyndon has dialysis for 9 hours a night, takes 26 pills a day, has blood transfusions every 2 weeks but no matter his circumstances I see a child who has decided his life will have value. I don’t mean life in the physical living and breathing aspect, rather I’m referencing the intangible side of it. The fact that he enjoys life even though he goes through a very tough process to continue living it, has literally brought me to tears.

Not for one second am I fooled in to thinking that his current state of living is enjoyable but what I can see in his eyes is such a raw passion and desire to enjoy and have fun.

Now comes personal revelation, how good is God that amidst circumstance the ability to enjoy life at a deep passionate level is built in to all of us?

I’m not too sure what my point was in writing this other than the fact that I am extremely overwhelmed with joy as I see some of the brightest people inwardly continue to be so in a seemingly dark situation… #BlessGod

Simple Wisdom.

Posted: December 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

All I can think about lately is chasing after what you want in life and not letting other people or outlying circumstances stop you. As simple a thought it may be, most people always find reasons not do whatever “it” is but somehow, if it’s important to you you’ll find a way. So then ‘whats really important’, is the question you’ll be asking the man in the mirror. Simple but true.

Bottom line, if there is a rich amount of focus applied toward any given goal there’s no way to stop a person from reaching it.

“Discipline not desire, determines destiny.”

Friends and Cheerleaders

Posted: October 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

Life is a lot of things. Hard, exciting, draining, fun, beautiful, etc… If you were honest you’d admit that you would never want to experience any of that alone because sometimes it can be too much but wouldn’t life be easier if you had your own personal cheerleader?

Cheerleaders are the ones at the football game that get the crowd hype, they start the chants and dance around among other things, but most importantly they cheer on the home team. A real cheerleader would never leave her side go to the other team and begin cheering for them and neither would a friend.
Your friends should be your biggest cheerleaders. Standing on the sideline cheering you on when you do well, there to lift you up when the tough times hit, and wearing your team colors all the while. The beauty of having friends is that the real ones double as cheerleaders and no matter what, they are there to enjoy life with you. Be the greatest friend you can be and make sure you bring your cheerleading uniform. “Your friends should be your biggest cheerleaders but your biggest cheerleaders shouldn’t always be your friends.”