haitian

love + honor

As time seems to pass with increased speed lately, my desire for a civil relationship with my family increases. Now my use of the word ‘civil’ may, in your mind, paint a picture of a hostile family culture as the current state of my family, which isn’t exactly accurate. Of course this all depends on your distinct perspective. So allow me to make this clear: our home flows with so much love and that love is expressed intensely; especially in the case of disagreements.

No, we do not put our hands on each other, but words will be exchanged and tone of voice can be, well, nasty. We understand each other’s ways, but should that be used as an excuse for disrespect?

The Bible says that we should obey and honor our parents, and to be honest with you I have struggled with the obedience part a lot which has had a domino effect on the honor part.

My father is not in the picture, so that leaves my mother. I love my mother to pieces, but my tolerance level had become nearly nonexistent for her. It was as if I was the landmine and her words were the foot setting me off. I didn’t want to hear what she had to say about anything. I was tired of her attempts to make me go her way. I wanted her to accept me for who I am, understand that I won’t always agree with her, allow me to be free of what I felt like was manipulation. It was as if I was the landmine and her words were the foot setting me off.

The thing is: am I accepting her for who she is? Have I loved her unconditionally the way God does? Am I honoring her?

Yes, I am at an age where I can make decisions for myself. No, I do not need to have decisions made for me. But I still need my mother. Her words are what let me know that she’s there and that she deeply cares. We do have boundary issues to resolve, but that does not negate the honor she deserves.

So it has been one of my most urgent prayers that God heals my relationship with my mother. I know that this means that a work must be done in me.

James 1:19 says, “…be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”

I have been slow to listen, quick to speak, and quick to get angry. That is opposite of the word of God. That is not of God whatsoever, and I am so glad that God placed someone in my life who wasn’t afraid to lovingly check me on this and actually lives this out.

There are a plethora of other principals laid out in the Bible that I must work on, and I dedicate myself to God’s work in me and through me. With that being said, I am learning how to love my mother the way I should and honor her the way she should be honored.

 

#TransparencyBringsAboutIntimacy

stumbling block

I grabbed my notebook, found my black and blue pen, pulled up today’s Daughter of the King devotional, and opened my YouVersion Bible app. As I began to stare at the words on my phone screen, I knew that I couldn’t read my devotional this morning. Something in my spirit wasn’t right, and I knew what it was: I offended my mom two days ago and the vibe between us had been off ever since. I needed to go reconcile with her before I could really spend some time reflecting on God’s word and speaking to Him.

Matthew 5:23, 24 NLT
23 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.

I sat there for a minute just thinking. I knew that my mom was probably reading her Bible and for a second I thought, “Maybe I shouldn’t interrupt her. I’ll just wait for a little bit.” But honestly, I couldn’t. So I went upstairs and cracked her door open, and as I suspected she was reading her Bible. She told me to come in and asked me what was up. We talked and then sung a song and prayed together. Then I was free to engage in my devotional.

The thing about all of this is at the time that I offended her, I felt like she was being completely inconsiderate. I had come home from work; I was tired and hungry. Instead of letting me get myself together, she was asking me to do things for an event she has coming up that is an extremely significant milestone in her life. It doesn’t matter if I felt like she was being inconsiderate or not, I should not have responded to her the way I did. I made her feel like her requests for my help were an annoyance and that I viewed this milestone as insignificant in my sight. So naturally she felt as though she couldn’t depend on me as her daughter to aid her with preparations. That is not what I intended to do, but that was the result of my response, nonetheless.

God has pulled me a mighty long way from how I used to respond to my emotions, but I still have a ways to go. So my prayer this morning consisted of not only confessing and asking for forgiveness, but asking God to work in me this sense.

Despite any circumstance, my emotions do not warrant a reaction.

Emotional intelligence is crucial. I find it easier for me to exercise emotional intelligence with those who are not a part of my household than those who are, and this is just an indication of what I need to work on. By work on I mean studying what God’s word has to say about emotions and dealing with relationships, meditating on it, and having an increased sensitivity to this area in my life. I believe that this is a significant part of my spiritual journey at this time.

With all of that being said, transparency brings about intimacy. Our journeys are all different, but we can learn from one another and encourage one another throughout it.

social misfit

Friends. What are THOSE? Social gatherings. What are THOSE?

According to Google search results,

  • social means related to or designed for activities in which people meet each other for pleasure.
  • misfit means something that does not fit or fits badly.

These past couple of weeks I’ve been coming to terms with the fact that I may have been operating under a social misfit mindset. Allow me to explain.

Home. School. Church. This was my life growing up – eventually work became a part of this cycle as I got older. Anytime one of us children would say “my friend…”, my wonderful Haitian parents would say, “Nan ki bagay friend, m’te ye ave-w?” [TRANSLATION: Of what friend stuff was I with you?] In other words, there are no such things as friends. So you can imagine the backlash we would get if we asked to go out with one of those friends or to go to their birthday parties. Eventually, the invitations just stopped coming. We were even told to be careful with kids at our church. We weren’t allowed to talk on the phone unless it was about school work.

That was the foundation of my social life. It became more difficult to be socially normal.I managed to stick with a group of friends in high school because we all pretty much had the same background growing up with Haitian parents. We understood each other and were able to make life a bit less humdrum. Fast forward a bit to college. I was so used to not really going anywhere that I didn’t do much. I joined a fraternity the spring of  my “freshman” year (I was about to be a junior according to my credits) and that wasn’t the most pleasant experience being that I’m socially awkward. I was a part of other organizations as well as a band at one point, but I didn’t really begin to enjoy college life until my last semester. I know. It’s actually really sad, but that was my reality. I found something that I loved doing right and then I had to leave.

I have now been in a period of transition for about 6 months now, and I have finally realized my lack of social interaction. However, my greatest realization as far as this is concerned is how much this has hindered me and will prevent my future success if I don’t do anything about it. The thought of that is intimidating at the least.

I do a crappy job of keeping up with people, and it can be extremely uncomfortable for me to talk to people outside of my comfort zone.

Nonetheless, I have made a decision to be the victor instead of the victim. I have chosen to do whatever I can to overcome this obstacle of social intimidation. Heck, I’m 21 now. Time is ticking. The other thing is: God didn’t create us to be lonely. We were created to be in fellowship with others just as He wants to be in fellowship with us. We don’t exist simply to roam the earth. So, instead of dwelling on the negatives, I’m going to dwell on the positives as those negatives change into positives.

I do genuinely love people and am naturally nurturing. I have the need to express myself and the need to help people. I also love to be in the company of those I love.

All in all, I wrote this to encourage myself and others who face the same difficulty, but I also wrote this to be vulnerable and open about my journey.

#TransparencyBringsAboutIntimacy