What do you do when you feel called to live your life differently than your family? Especially when both parties profess Jesus as Lord but the way we follow Jesus has manifested quite differently?
Coming from a traditional Haitian Christian family has been hard. Cultural customs, traditions, and ideals are woven into their Christian lifestyle. Somewhere along the line their customs and traditions have become just as sacred as the bible. It’s become so hard to unravel it all.
And over the years it’s unraveled to a point that everything I was taught was on the table. Reflecting, I think everything should be on the table. No tradition, customs, line of thinking should be too scared when compared to following Jesus.
But it comes to a point where you have to wrestle and make sense of what's on the table and when you put that to light next to God, some things will have to fall to the wayside. My family was part of that, along with things like monetary success or relationship statuses that seems more pertinent than submitting a life to Jesus’ lordship. I’ve had to have honest conversations with family that in this season of life Jesus isn’t calling me to those things. The truth is, I may never be led down that path.
How do I keep going? Plainly it's Jesus. Everything I've needed, he’s provided. When my parents cut me off, I found folks to take me in and they have become family. Not just a spiritual family, but a family in every sense of the word. When cousins gave me ultimatums on living with them, I found a open space in community with folks I've never met. When I didn't know what was next, I found a community of young believers asking the same questions and they still found a way serve in any capacity they could.
Nonetheless, it's been hard. I mean real hard. I have a huge family, like "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" big and we're close. To go from the kid that was highly praised to the black sheep, something tears inside of you. It's as if I'm no longer loyal to the family unit. I mentally had to realign my identity and the role of my family with Jesus. My identity no longer came from things that I excelled at. It was all stripped away when I chose to walk away from their way of doing things. I had to find solace in simply being a child of God.
This season, I’ve had some of my darkest nights. I had to wrestle with how God could still be good during this time because to be honest, He didn't feel all that good to me. And yet I remained. I remained at the feet of Jesus. I remained in community. I remained in Tampa.
I'm not sure if it was my stubbornness that kept me grounded or the same drive that causes me to fight to be seen as an equal despite my gender and race. But I was going to make it work. There was feeling in the pit of my stomach that Jesus had more to say about my life.
Although my family may never come around, I hope that my life inspires them to think about their own life and how Jesus wants them to live their life. Through it all, I’ve found joy and gained a steady heart and familiarity with the people of God who also give up their lives for the sake of the Gospel. I don't think I would have made it without my community. They are truly a gift from God and a reflection of God's grace.