A Dad

A Dad

Donna Cox for her husband of 28 + years,  Cox, Jr.


Being a father is a relatively easy task

All it takes is the passing of appropriate body fluids at the opportune time

Being a father doesn’t necessarily mean responsibility

Nor does it automatically bestow certain privileges

But being a Dad – ah, that’s an entirely different matter

Being a Dad isn’t easy

It requires everything a man has to give – and then some

A Dad sacrifices personal desires and plans so he can be available to his child

A Dad wipes runny noses, dirty behinds, and dries salty tears

A Dad plays silly games and sings goofy songs

And makes up outlandish stories – for the price of a smile

A Dad will dress in a boa and frilly hat for a tea party with his girl

A Dad will shoot bad guys, scale mountains and leap tall buildings with his boy

A Dad will take three hours doing a one-hour job so his child can ‘help’

A Dad will kneel by his child’s bed and pray while she sleeps

or gives birth to her own child

A Dad will slip $20 into his adult son’s hand before he heads out the door

A Dad doesn’t have to give birth to a child to love him or her

So his grandson can put big shoes on small feet and call him ‘Dad’

A niece can sidle up to her uncle and, in her heart, call him ‘Dad’

A Dad seeks intimate relationships with his children

He knows he can’t expect them to give what he isn’t willing to provide

So he shares his mistakes and struggles in the hope his child will share hers

A Dad can be a father with ease

BUT a father has a long road to walk before he can be a dad.

Happy Father’s Day to a Real Dad!


What’s Your Filter?

I was listening to Marvin Sapp sing The Best In Me. I’ve loved this song since the first time I heard it:

He saw the best in me,
when everyone else around me,
could only see the worst in me

He’s mine and I’m his,
it doesn’t matter what I did.
He only sees me for who I am

And every time I listen I raise my hands in praise that my God, the creator of the universe, looked at me and saw the best! There were and continue to be so many other things God could see. Though I often pretend they don’t exist, in my unguarded moments I can see those things in myself yet to be totally surrendered to God. Yet, despite all of it, God saw and always sees, the best in me.

Today, I went through my normal ritual of praising God for looking beyond my faults when the Holy Spirit began to work. For the first time I really pondered those words and acknowledged the reason God sees my best and not my mess. God sees me through the prism of the blood of Jesus! That’s reason enough to shout. Of course, I already knew that but sometimes I take it for granted. Still, this was not what the Holy Spirit wanted me to consider.

Jesus loves us enough to cover our sinfulness so that God offers grace instead of the justice we so rightly deserve. Jesus does this knowing our every fault. He covers us despite the times we reject him or hurt him.

Today, I invite you to consider two things the Holy Spirit showed me.

1. Jesus covers us so that God sees the good in us. Jesus is to be our example of righteousness. Yet, too often we are unwilling to cover our brothers and sisters. Instead, in our words and actions, we seem to find joy in exposing their brokenness for all to see. If truth is told, we do this much more often with the people we are supposed to love the most: our children, our spouses, our parents. Friends, decide today to cover the people you love with prayer, grace, mercy.

2. God looks through Jesus Christ and sees our best! Number one will be easier to do if we begin to see people through the filter of Jesus Christ. When we look through our own pain, through our own limited understanding, through our own experiences, even through the prism of the wrong others have done to us, we will always see the worst in people. But when we view them through Jesus, we see people made in the image of God.

Marvin Sapp’s song is a wonderful reminder that, even as we celebrate the blessed privilege of knowing God sees our best, we must extend grace to others. Imagine how families would be transformed if husbands and wives made a conscious decision to see the other as God sees him or her. Imagine the confidence children would have if every adult in their lives would stop concentrating on their flaws and see them as gifts from God. We have the power to change our worlds if we simply take off our blinders and put on the filter of Jesus Christ.

What filter are you wearing?

Happy Father’s Day

This is the day we set aside to honor the Fathers in our lives. In a Godly world, we would honor the people in our lives who love us and care for us on a daily basis and I believe this is what God calls us to do.  But, as it would be, today is that one day a year that we make a special effort to bless fathers. [I recommend that you read the origin of Father’s Day at this website: http://www.ideafinder.com/guest/calendar/fathersday.htm

You may remember some of this from last year. I saw no reason to rewrite what remains true in my heart.

To ‘Daddy,’ my uncle Robert Gray West, who allowed me to stay in his home after my birth mother died and my Grandmother decided that she would raise me. Daddy allowed his home to be an open door for Mama and me as we moved in and out from the time as far back as I can remember to when we moved to Richmond before my 8th grade year.

Uncle Sandy

To Daddy-Uncle Sandy, the hero of my young life. In my eyes he was bigger than the stars and could do no wrong. He is still my hero because he stayed! My brothers, Danny, Sam & Christopher, grew up with Dad in the home because he stayed when so many others walked away from their responsibilities! He modeled a life of service to the kingdom!

DSC02105To Dad Cox, my father of nearly 29 years. Dad is a model example of a Father who prays daily for his children. Every father would do good to emulate him. Dad has the gift of encouragement and uses it without reservation! When I was ordained, Dad Cox made his way across the country even though he had been ill. He had prayed so long for my ministry that he was determined not to let this moment pass without his presence. I was humbled by his sacrifice. That’s what a Father does. I have been so blessed by Dad and I can never express my gratefulness! Thanks, Dad.


To my brothers Danny, Sam, Deione, Derrick, Phillip, and Walter, Jr., brothers who love their children and are not afraid to show it. These are Godly men who understand that loving their families start with loving God. Things have not been easy for all of them and some have struggled more than others. Yet they continue to stay the course, to seek the best for their families. Their children will know what a Godly man looks like! Thank you for staying! Thank you for seeking God as you raise your children.


and of course,

To Gerald, my husband of nearly 29 years. I have a storehouse of memories of him with our children, pouring into them: reading with them, bathing them, taking them to the park, wresting on the living room floor, tossing them high in the air and catching them with a flourish, correcting them when they fell and skinned their knees while doing something goofy (Mom did the kissing). I see him kneeling beside our daughter’s bed, praying, while she lay in pain waiting for our grandson to be born. I see him standing in the driveway crying as we watched Jonathan drive the car to Hampton for the first time. I see him holding little hands as we walked down the street, holding Jamie steady while she learned to ride her bike, dressing as Santa and holding excited children on his lap. These and so many memories from the past 25+ years are treasured memories.

Even today, with adult children I see Gerald praying for them, worrying about them, and encouraging them to be all that God created them to be. Our children know what a real Dad looks like. They know what it means to have a full-time, Godly father.  Because of Gerald, our grandson will never have to wonder what it would be like to have a strong male figure in his life. He will always have, not just the memories, but the confidence that comes from the times he ‘helps’  Gerald do yard work or the times the two of them sit on the sofa doing ‘man’ stuff like watching sports and eating snacks.

You’re a prince of a Dad, Gerald and I will always wish I had had a Dad just like you!


I’m not sure who wrote this so I can’t give proper credit. However, the message is very deep! Please take time to read and reflect!

Be blessed.

Rev. Donna

A few years ago a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago. They had assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night’s dinner. In their rush, with tickets and briefcases, one of these salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table which held a display of apples. Apples flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their nearly missed boarding.

ALL BUT ONE!!! He paused, took a deep breath, and experienced a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned. He told his buddies to go on without him, waved good-bye, told one of them to call his wife when they arrived at their home destination and explain his taking a later flight. Then he returned to the terminal where the apples were all over the terminal floor.
He was glad he did.

The 16 year old girl was totally blind! She was softly crying, tears running down her cheeks in frustration, and at the same time helplessly groping for her spilled produce as the crowd swirled about her, no one stopping and no one to care for her plight.

The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, put them back on the table and helped organize her display. As he did this, he noticed that many of them had become battered and bruised; these he set aside in another basket. When he had finished, he pulled out his wallet and said to the girl, ‘Here, please take this $40 for the damage we did. Are you okay?’ She nodded through her tears. He continued on with, ‘I hope we didn’t spoil your day too badly.’

As the salesman started to walk away, the bewildered blind girl called out to him, ‘Mister….’ He paused and turned to look back into those blind eyes. She continued,

‘Are you Jesus?’

He stopped in mid-stride, and he wondered. Then slowly he made his way to catch the later flight with that question burning and bouncing about in his soul: ‘Are you Jesus?’

Do people mistake you for Jesus? That’s our Destiny, is it not? To be so much like Jesus that people cannot tell the difference as we live and interact with a world that is blind to His love, life and grace. If we claim to know Him, we should live, walk and act as He would.

Knowing Him is more than simply quoting Scripture and going to church. It’s actually living the Word as life unfolds day to day. You are the apple of His eye even though we, too, have been bruised by a fall. He stopped what He was doing and picked you and me up on a hill called Calvary and paid in full for our damaged fruit.

Please share this….. Sometimes we just take things for granted, when we really need to be sharing what we know…Thanks


Which are you???

Handouts from AMTA, NCORE & Kansas Sessions

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedules to attend these sessions. I hope you will find these handouts helpful as you do your work. Please let me know if you have questions or comments.

Be blessed,


Transitioning From the HBCU to Graduate Study at PWIs – Jonathan/Donna Cox

NCORE: UD Gospel Choir/Gospel Music Workshop as models for Cross-cultural understanding

Kansas Symposium: Her Story Her Song Presentation

Six Months: Don’t Waste Them

In 2007 I went to the hospital to visit a wonderful young man, 21 years old and in the psych ward.  As I sat there with him, trying to keep it light and praying for him and his parents, I thought of my own son. Then, I thought about my family and felt moved to write them. As I wrote, I felt the Spirit take over and direct my words. It’s interesting that I found the letter I had written almost exactly 3 years ago. I felt compelled to post much of what was written on that day and  pray God will bless you.  I’m not sure what happened to this great young man, a person with great gifts, such talent but I know that Satan is a liar!!!   As I think about our family, as I think of the people I teach, counsel, coach and mentor,  I see wasteland instead of places that are rich and vibrant.  In so many of us- yes, I intentionally said US- there have been spirits of defeat, melancholy, depression, apathy, fear and anxiety working – sometimes manifest in a variety of addictive behaviors.  We have let our circumstances speak in our lives instead of letting the spirit of God speak!  More than ever I believe it is incumbent upon all of us to be fully released and on guard against the subtle attack of the enemy!
For years, satan has told us that our situations- lost jobs, broken marriages, no marriages, low finances – whatever- we’ve let satan tell us they were TRUTH.  But Satan is a liar!! From the pit of hell he tells his lies and we accept them- if not outright, we internally accept them as truth and then act on that. Satan is an expert at showing us things that are FACT and making us think they are TRUTH.  Satan doesn’t know zip about truth!   If he understood truth he’d remember that he is already defeated and leave us alone!  But our God is the God of truth!   In the case of this young man, it is fact that he is in a hospital and having problems but it is NOT truth. The truth is that he was already healed even while he sat in the hospital! Since then he’s graduated from undergraduate and grad school!! It doesn’t matter what things look like.   And that’s the truth for all of us.  For years many of us have listened to lies that Satan whispered in our ears about our situations.  I’m telling you that we’ve got to first stop letting him get close enough to whisper to us!!!   And we’ve got to know the truth of God’s word – we are more than conquerors- not just winners, we are MORE than conquerors!!   If we accepted that as FACT we could be released from being less.  We are not supposed to be depressed and oppressed. We’ve got the mind of Christ available for and to us. We are royalty! If the cattle on a thousand (and more) hills belong to God and we are God’s children, doesn’t it stand to reason that the cattle also belong to us?

I hear the clock ticking and see the calendar sweeping past the days of the year!  Please, I beseech you, let this be the year that you lay full claim to all that God has ALREADY prepared for you!  Let this be the year that we tell Satan what he can do with his facts as we tell him the truth of God’s word!  Let this be the year that we stand up and walk boldly in the giftings that God has put on our lives.  I don’t know about you but I have often been guilty of letting fear rob me of the greatness and the excellence to which God has called me.  No more!

Will you join me in making the rest of 2010 a pathway to the FULLNESS of God’s revelation in our lives?  Will you join me in the birthing room as we deliver the dreams that we’ve often kept hidden- even from ourselves?  There is still time!  As long as we have breath, we have hope. And our hope is not empty. We hope in the God of hope, of peace, of joy, of love, of prosperity!  There are nearly six months left in this year, nearly six months to really live the abundant lives that God desires for us to live.  Don’t give the enemy any more of your time, your energy.  Don’t waste another day to depression, to fear, to anxiety, to laziness, to frustration!  I see businesses, books, healed families, healed bodies, financial blessings overflowing, new ministries, healed relationships among siblings and cousins, new attitudes and new altitudes!

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