Spiritual Walk

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.

I see how it is

DISCLAIMER: There is a purpose to sharing this personal experience of mine and if you read until the end, you’ll understand.

You know how something catches your attention, and in that moment it really bothers you, but you choose not to allow it to dwell in your mind. Then it occurs repeatedly and becomes more difficult to shrug off. Maybe I’m the only one, but I choose to be honest with myself:

It doesn’t just bother me, it hurts.

Here’s the deal: I have a friend that I truly love wholeheartedly. We have been physically distanced due to my relocation after graduating, emotionally distanced due to my hiatus in interactions with anyone/thing that wasn’t directly connected to developing my relationship with God. I have made advances to reconnect and catch up with her as I have with others, but it has gone absolutely nowhere. I have reached out, and the times she has responded has been to tell me that she’ll get back to me. Which I totally understand. I mean living the college life is time consuming and hectic. However, if someone reached out to you, you don’t respond, and you post twice on Instagram, then maybe the person you’re neglecting isn’t that important.

I realized that the friendship I cherish so dearly, isn’t as cherished on the other end.

I finally decided to get it out and talk to God. As I opened up to him about how I was feeling in that moment, I had an epiphany. The Holy Spirit checked me rather than comforted me, and I am so grateful. As I talked to God, my plea for comfort and clarity changed to forgiveness. I couldn’t believe that this was the way I made Him feel all the time. He wants to hear from His child and have her listen to Him. He desires a connection, my affection and confessions. He longs to commune with me, but I tend to neglect Him.

I see how it is…

It isn’t just about reading His Word, it’s about totally engulfing yourself in His Presence. Losing yourself in worship.
Just in awe of who He is.
Being reminiscent of all He’s done.
Laying your burdens down.
Receiving His gifts of grace and peace.

I MEAN it’s so much more than making sure you’ve completed the checklist that consists of Bible study and church service. It’s about really being connected to Him; experiencing His Glory in everything you do. Of course Bible study and church service is vital, but do you truly fellowship with His people? Do you truly enjoy nature, His creation? Do you truly rejoice in what He has given you?

Our lives are so much more than Bible study and church. It’s the ultimate test of trusting the One who intricately designed you and this world. See the beauty in everything around you regardless of the circumstances. There is so much to be grateful for and to enjoy.

This post just went to a totally different dimension than I expected! It’s amazing though. I’m challenging myself and I hope that you challenge yourself.

#TransparencyBringsAboutIntimacy

Go ahead, give it your BEST shot…

I am FIRED UP right now.

Why? What’s going on?

The devil is on a mission. [Tell you something you don’t know, right?]

I have been in a period of transition as mentioned in my previous post. So lately I have been really pressed about getting a job. I’ve been fighting feelings of frustration and confusion; feelings of incompetence and shame. Just fear.

Frustrated because of my confusion; confused because I know that it isn’t God’s Will for man to not work, and He has a job for me already. (He told my mom this before I graduated and spoke to me right before Easter) Feelings of incompetence because [being that I’m still a month shy of legal age] I feel I lack experience for someone who has a Bachelor’s degree. My tenure in undergrad consisted of just extracurricular activities and classes. I completed my program 3 semesters before time, so because I planned to work full-time on my music after graduation [with no intentions of attending grad school or really working for that matter] I didn’t really think about internships. Sometimes I think that maybe I should have used the remainder of my 3 semesters interning and traveling to gain new experiences. Nonetheless, I am where I am and God knew my path before I took a step. Naturally, shame attempts to rear its ugly head.

According to 2 Timothy  1:7, God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and a sound mind. This means that frustration, confusion, feelings of incompetence, and shame are NOT of God. So, I have to fight them off because that’s just the enemy trying to discourage me.

Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but  against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

In the words of Mali Music:

I’m on an airplane
And the destination of this flight is to the other side
Guess I have to go there
Guess I have to come here yeah
I know where I’m from but now
I’m headed where I’m going right

But there are powers, in the air, you can’t see them
And they have rockets and machine guns
And they’re firing on my plane

But I say fire, fire oh
Ready, aim, fire, you can’t shoot me down, no
Fffff fire! Fire
Ready, aim, fire, you can’t stop me now, no

THEY ARE FIRING ON MY PLANE. Literally. It’s ridiculous. I recently got into my 6th car accident amongst other shots taken at not only me, but my family alike. Yes, 6… that is not a typo. I’ve never been at fault, so there’s that.

I’ve written all of this to say, FIRE devil, FIRE. Give it your best shot. I know that God is FOR me and greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world. I’m going to remain focused on God. I refuse to stay stuck on the enemy’s stupidity. What is for me will be for me. There is absolutely no maneuver of any evil forces and spirits that can overcome me.

BTW, I have an opportunity on the table for me to begin working… God is working all things for my good and I will trust Him.

where is she

If you would have asked me, “Where do you think you’ll be after graduation?”, I would have told you that I would be in Atlanta, working on a project (music).

It’s funny how God works, you know.

Here I am 4 months after graduation:
Not in Atlanta.
Not working on a ‘project’.

[My life] took a detour. Nothing permanent. Just for a while. No biggie!
The place I said that I would never return – but to visit – is the place I am now.

Home.
South Florida…
…with my mother.

That sounds awful. I know, but you couldn’t understand why I felt this way unless you knew some history. Unfortunately, today’s lesson isn’t in history. (I’ll save that for another post.) Long story short: mom and I didn’t have the best relationship. I wasn’t interested in sharing my thoughts, or what was going on with me to her. So, every time she called, I couldn’t wait to CLICK. End Call. (This was everyday btw; sometimes multiple times a day) My mom is such a sweet person, though. Anyway,

my first month back was T E R R I B L E.
My mother and I have conflicting views on clothes, makeup, jewelry, music, and so it goes. Anytime she saw me with pants on or lips painted, with earrings in or listening to Andy Mineo, she had a PROBLEM. She wouldn’t hold her tongue about how she didn’t raise me this way, etc, etc.

I went from freedom to captivity. I know that’s a bit dramatic, but that’s how I really felt. I was frustrated and depressed. It hit me even harder after the break was over and my dear friend had to return to Tallahassee, leaving me to face my reality without any distractions. I was alone in a familiar, yet unfamiliar place.

Before I graduated I told myself that I would take some time to just focus on my relationship with God and nothing else. So, I was at the point where there was literally nothing in the way of me accomplishing that. No extracurricular activities. No friends to hang out with. No class. Literally nothing. No excuses…

January 14, 2016 was the beginning of this journey to knowing God. I started with the book of Ephesians. I read and digested the passages via writing in a dedicated notebook. I made an effort to do this daily. That, my friend, is when I realized how much God loved me and I longed to love him in return. It wasn’t easy. I realized that I had a surrender issue which is ironic being that my favorite hymn as a child was ‘I Surrender All’. Nonetheless, God has been doing some major surgery. Hurts and pain that I buried deep inside, he brought to surface. Things that I thought I was over.

He needed me isolated and vulnerable. He wanted my undivided attention. He longed to heal my deep, emotional wounds, to shower me with his unfailing love.

But I had a choice.

I could spend time developing as an artist and working on a project, strategically planning its release.

OR

I could put my plans on hold and give all of that time to God for a while.

I chose the latter.

Words cannot express what an amazing journey it has been thus far. My life can’t ever be the same. Am I where I thought I would be? No, I’m in an even better place. I am a graduate student at the University of Miami and I’m still writing [music], but I’m also in a relationship with El Shaddai and I couldn’t be more satisfied. I have days when I am uncertain of what’s next for me or what I should be doing, but I trust Him who created me. He uniquely designed me and has a plan already set out.

Lord, thank you…

I was scrolling down my news feed on Facebook and came across a meme. The meme read, “If video games have taught me anything, it’s that if you encounter enemies, then you’re going the right way.” I don’t even play video games, but as soon as I read that, it spoke to my spirit.

On Friday, December 11, 2015, I graduated from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University with a Bachelors of Science in Music Industry. For those of you who may not understand what my studies were about, allow me to clarify. I studied music and the business of music. I am a student of the Music Industry. [SN: I know that in my Haitian culture unless you study to be a doctor, lawyer, nurse or something along those lines then your degree isn’t really worth anything. Despite this, I strongly believe that God has given me talents in the areas of Music & Business. Because of this, I am not worried about the future.] I acquired this degree in 2 1/2 years when it takes 4 years to complete. I also graduated as the top Honors student of all of my fellow music colleagues.

The course to this accomplishment was strenuous and difficult. Along the way I encountered roommates who were out to get me and peers who despised my mere existence. I encountered limiting financial situations and moral dilemma. I experienced mental, physical and emotional fatigue. I identified a void within me caused by the absence of feeling secure in the love of my earthly father. I was fighting a serious spiritual war within that I had yet to recognize. Though very short, my undergraduate collegiate tenure possessed a plethora of hardships.

“If you’re under attack, it’s because your blessing is close. Thieves only come to loaded vaults. Stay encouraged.” I saw this post on Instagram and immediately tagged a dear friend of mine, so that she too could read it. She has witnessed some of the hardships I speak of and understood the magnitude of this post. In spite of it all, God allowed this time of my life to birth the most important actualization in my life. Spiritual breakthrough took place. A relationship with Jesus was conceived. A true desire to get to know who he is soon overcame. I had the privilege of experiencing a taste of peace from God. I grew up in the church and always heard of people speak of the peace God gave them. A peace that they couldn’t find elsewhere. I not only felt that peace, I lived it. My faith grew exponentially. A baby was born. That baby is called Conviction. My conviction to live for God was born, and just as babies grow into toddlers who in turn grow into adolescents and so forth, my conviction is growing. I must be sure to feed it spiritual nutrition and stay true to my King.