Sonya Carson’s life motto is “Learn to do your best and God will do the rest.”  Her story is fascinating and worth knowing, especially because her son might be the next president of the United States.

Dr. Ben Carson, a respected neurosurgeon, has been rising in the polls. He has an amazing story, and credits his success in life to his mother. Dr. Carson said, “I not only saw and felt the difference my mother made in my life, I am still living out that difference as a man.” What was the difference that Sonya Carson made in the lives of her children?

Ben Carson’s mom grew up in a foster home and received only a third-grade education. She was thirteen years old when she met and married Robert Carson, a twenty-eight-year-old minister. The couple moved to Detroit and had two sons together. Later Sonya discovered that her husband was a bigamist with another secret family. Ben was eight years old and his brother, Curtis, was ten when their parents divorced.

Sonya moved her sons to Boston where she lived with her sister for a short time. Later, she returned to Detroit and worked as many as three jobs at a time to support herself and her boys. There were days when she left before the boys woke up and was unable to return home until late that night. When Ben was in the fifth grade and came home with an unsatisfactory report card, Sonya knew she needed to ask God for the wisdom she needed to help her boys.

A devout member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, Sonya believed in the power of God and knew that education was the road to success for her sons. Ben Carson was receiving an award when he quoted these words his mom often said to him: “Bennie, if you can read, honey, you can learn just about anything you want to know.” Sonya chose to limit her sons’ television viewing to two programs a week and took them to the public library. That choice changed their lives.

Each week the boys were required to check out and read two library books. Sonya required her boys to write a book report on one of those books each week and she would use a highlighter pen to grade those reports. Later both boys realized that their mom had not read those reports she had graded. Sonya was not able to read.

Ben Carson said it only took about one month before he was rushing home from school to read his latest book. His mom was right. Reading did change his life, but so did his faith in God. When Ben was fourteen he struggled with excessive anger issues and almost took the life of another boy. Carson said he prayed for God’s help and picked up a Bible, which opened to the Book of Proverbs and verses about anger. He believes God took his away temper and gave him the ability to become a surgeon. Dr. Carson still reads from Proverbs every day.

Ben Carson excelled in high school and went on to attend college at Yale University. He was accepted into the University of Michigan School of Medicine and did his residency at Johns Hopkins. That hospital would be his home for most of his career as a pediatric neurosurgeon. Now, Ben Carson is seeking election as the next president of the United States.

Sonya Carson prayed for God’s wisdom, Ben Carson sought God’s wisdom, and God responded by granting their prayers. I am not endorsing a candidate. I do, however, endorse the testimony and character of a strong Christian man and his mother.

During a recent political debate Ben Carson was asked about the racial tensions in our country. I appreciated his response when he said, “I’m a neurosurgeon. When I take someone to the operating room, I’m operating on the thing that makes them who they are. The skin doesn’t make them who they are.” I also found this quote, summarizing the lesson he had learned from his mom: “Through hard work, perseverance, and a faith in God, you can live your dreams.”  

I don’t know what God will do with Ben Carson’s life in the days ahead, but I will enjoy watching his journey. Sonya Carson knew that, with God, anything was possible, and she passed that strong faith on to her son. Do you need that same confidence today? I encourage you to read more online or in a book about Ben and Sonya Carson.

“Learn to do your best, and trust God to do the rest” is a pretty good life motto for all of us!

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