I originally shared this as a Facebook post, but I thought about it this morning and figured it was also worth posting here. I’m sooooooooooooo thankful for my life and I’m proud to say I am from Laurinburg.
When I was younger, I didn’t understand the hurt, pain, and challenges I went through. I used to cry because I was ashamed/embarrassed– now tears fall because I see, EVERYDAY, how God is using my story to help today’s youth.
Yesterday, after bible study, one of my youth came up to me and said, “Miss Fran, I didn’t know we had all that in common” and I replied (with a smile on my face), “Yes, we do. And all those negative things don’t matter when God has His hand on your life. He WILL use it ALL for your GOOD!”
Like Joseph, God has taken me from what felt like the “pit” of my life, to the “palace” and HE can do the same for you. If you’ll let Him.
Isaiah 61:3 To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.
My original Facebook post:
I was pretty silent on the whole mediatakeout thing and Laurinburg being named, “The most ratchet city in the country” but, believe it or not, I’ll be talking to my youth about it tonight during bible study.
Many already know my testimony of my hometown, family, and many of the obstacles I’ve overcome to be where I am today, but I think this is another opportunity to be completely transparent with them. To show them (as age appropriate) that I’m not making this up. I came from a situation that most of them are living in RIGHT NOW– and I am where I am now because I decided that I wanted something different for my life. I now live a life that is beyond anything I could have imagined. When I tell them that Matthews 6:33, Ephesians 3:20, and Proverbs 16:3 are REAL it’s because I am living proof!
To tell the truth, I wasn’t even mad about the article. I was taken aback because I realize THAT COULD HAVE BEEN ME; BUT GOD.
I will never be ashamed to say, “I am from Laurinburg, NC,” because it was there that God put people in my life to show me that there was a better way. There WAS opportunity and things to be experienced, but it would take hard work, determination, and having a VISION for my life, beyond what I could currently see.
There are MANY of us who “made it out” and if we were all REALLY honest about it, we’d admit that with one wrong decision it could ALL be different.
Laurinburg is a small town, with less than 20,000 people, and while it may not be perfect and I may not live there anymore, there were so many people who made it a better place and who continue to invest in making it better. For that, I am thankful.
Zechariah 4:10 NLT
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.
My Graduation in 2011
I completed a dual degree program and received an MPA and MSW from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
After receiving my degrees, I was one of 5 graduates from across the US chosen for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ State Fiscal Policy Fellowship.
I now serve as a Program Coordinator/Mentor for the Girls of Destine’ Mentorship Program in New Orleans, LA/Houston Texas. Here’s a photo of myself and one of my mentees feeding the Homeless with Girls of Destine’ in 2014.
Feeding the Homeless in 2013 with Girls of Destine’
Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for GOOD to accomplish what is NOW being done, the saving of many lives.