Friday, May 08, 2015

Dr. Ben Carson's Mother: "Never Give Up"

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World renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson has formally announced he wants to be President of the United States.

He has also said his mother is significantly responsible for his success, teaching him that faith in God and an education would change his life.

She was right.

Success Magazine says, "As a boy, Ben Carson watched his father walk out on his family, closing the door on a life the 8 year old would never know again. Through periods of heartbreak, fear and financial struggle, his mother, Sonya Carson, provided for Ben and his brother. A determined woman with only a third grade education, she insisted her sons see their potential and that they never let circumstances get them down."

She recalls, "Ben was lost... hopelessly behind in his school work... kids picked on him and called him 'dummy'... Ben lashed back with his fists."

Ben had resigned himself "to thinking he was stupid."

His mother never gave up.

She took away the television and replaced it with library cards. She required both sons to read two books per week and turn in book reports. The boys left the reports on the table at night, when they got up in the morning they found red checks on them indicating her approval.

The miracle happened over time, through the perseverance of a mom and the grace of God.

Only after they had become adults did the boys realize their mother could not read.

Years later when President George W. Bush bestowed the Medal of Freedom on her son, he said of Sonya, "Even in the toughest times she always encouraged her children's dreams. She never allowed them to see themselves as victims. She never, ever gave up."

Dr. Carson says, "If my mother had not been such a positive influence in my life, and had not stressed education as much as she did, I would definitely not have made it into medicine. I probably would not have even found my way to college."

Ben Carson earned a scholarship to Yale, followed by medical school at University of Michigan. At 33, he became the youngest physician to head a major division at Johns Hopkins.

He concentrated on traumatic brain injuries, brain and spinal cord tumors, and neurological disorders. In 1987, he led a team of 69 medical professionals in achieving a first: successfully separating conjoined twins who were attached at the back of their heads.

A few days ago, Religion News Service published an article, "5 Faith Facts About Ben Carson: Retired Neurosurgeon, Seventh Day Adventist."

1. He's a twice baptized Seventh Day Adventist. He says he didn't really understand what his first baptism meant at age 12, so in later life he was baptized again with understanding of his personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

2. He prayed before every surgery. He says, "Even when I don't operate I pray because I feel that God is the ultimate source of all wisdom." He has said publicly, "Quite frankly, as a neurosurgeon, there's a lot of emphasis on technical ability, but I believe that that's something that can be taught, but wisdom comes from God and I think that is something you have to seek."

3. The nation became aware of him following his remarks at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast. He was highly critical of Obamacare, with the president sitting at the head table, and blasted political correctness. He said, "The PC police are out in force at all times. People are afraid to say 'Merry Christmas' at Christmastime...We've got to get over this sensitivity. You know it keeps people from saying what they really believe."

4. At a National Press Club event he was asked how he would govern should he be president. Would he include Jews and non-Christians? He said, "The same way that we always have. Everybody's free to do whatever they want. To try to impose one's religious beliefs on someone else is absolutely what we should not be doing."

"But," he said, "That goes in both directions. Someone who is an atheist doesn't have a right to tell someone who isn't an atheist what they can or cannot do or what they can or cannot say."

Recently he spoke strongly in favor of the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Religion News makes their 5th thing you should know about Carson the fact that he signed books at a Southern Baptist Convention, but agreed "to drop a speaking engagement at this year's SBC pastors' conference after weeks of criticism from younger pastors who did not want to engage in overt partisanship."

Sunday is Mother's Day.

A pastor friend of mine sent this to me yesterday:

"Your mother is always with you. She's the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street. She's the smell of certain foods you remember, flowers you pick, the fragrance of life itself. She's the cool hand on your brow when you're not feeling well. She's your breath in the air on a cold winter's day. She is the sound of the rain that lulls you to sleep, the colors of a rainbow; she is Christmas morning. Your mother lives inside your laughter. She's the place you came from, your first home and she's the map you follow with every step you take. She's your first love, your first friend, even your first enemy, but nothing on earth can separate you, not time not space... not even death." 
(author unknown)

If your mother is still living, you will tell her you love and appreciate her. If not you will rightly remember her.

Both my mother and my wife's mother are with the Lord. But their godly presence continues in our lives.

A personal note:

I want to wish my wife Marjorie, my children's mother, "Happy Mother's Day."

You have given yourself to our family and to raising our children. You were with them when I was in the darkest corners and jungles of the world preaching, teaching, building and starting Christian churches--often virtually unreachable from the US. There were no cell phones, nor Internet, as you well know.

You were with them while I was reaching out to other kids in youth ministry from Seattle to North Hollywood.

Today they are committed Christians, married to committed Christians, each raising their children to be committed Christians.

This is a result of your love for them and God's grace. They and I love and appreciate you.

God bless each Mother.


  1. This verse came to mind:

    Prov 22:6.

  2. Prov 25:5
    Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness.

    During the last presidential election I saw a sign that said, "Vote them out."
    Now we are seeing people that I believe are very worthy to be voted in.

  3. Really beautiful commentary Gary, especially the ending tribute to your wife. You have both done well, serving God. May we all bless others as much and you and Marjorie have.


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