It Takes A Village…

Posted: June 7, 2013 in Uncategorized
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My childhood was a true testament to the old adage “it takes a village to raise a child”.  My village primarily consisted of 5 people I fondly would call “the Committee”.  They consisted of my maternal grandmother, my biological mother, my biological father, as well as my aunt and my uncle who raised me.  No  decision regarding me would go unnoticed or could be made without the conferring, analysis and blessings of the committee.  Needless to say growing up it was a little annoying! Yet honestly,  I would not be where I am today without the love, support and sacrifice of these precious people that have shaped my life.  I am so thankful for how God has used them to help me.  It seems to be a rare thing, but I am further blessed in that I have very solid maternal and paternal extended family networks as well. No family is perfect and every family has their issues, but for the blessing of my family and the unity  among us I am grateful.

Now Jamaican people and Caribbean people in general don’t play when it comes to education.  I came from a typical stern Jamaican household.  Phrases like “your book come first” and ” go study your lessons” were commonly said  to us children.  The type of family where instead of a brand new Atari for your birthday, you might get a shiny Webster’s dictionary.   We were probably  the last on the block to get cable television (and I am not exaggerating)  and it would be a treat before then to just  glimpse cable at a friend’s house.  We had the  kind of house where you would be nervous about singing a song from the radio because you knew undoubtedly something to the effect of “I hope you know your lessons like how you know that song” was soon to be coming your way.  To say education was important is an understatement. Do you know what I’m talking about? Somewhat strict and I would dare so many times over the top. But you knew you were loved, the best was done for you and we  had a safe, joyous, carefree childhood.

So this week a core part of  my family are here visiting.    As always, despite the chaos and confusion that comes with family and large groups, I am elated they are here.  Food, laughter, love, the freedom and joy of just being you, being loved in spite of yourself—these are just some of the blessings of my family to me.  But how many know especially in a family where everyone has not accepted salvation through Christ,  you as the lone Christian,  may make  it easy to become lax and slip into some old ways.  I know I am guilty of that. I have to be cognizant of it constantly.  Now these are the folks who have seen me at my absolute worst.  They have gotten the worst of my temper flare-ups, the sting of my tongue and my impatience.   Have I gotten better?  Absolutely—glory to God.  But there is still pruning and work to be done.  I can admit that there are still some habits that have to be broken and stripped away. I certainly  am a work in progress.

But beyond having fun and spending time with my family, God from beforehand began showing me that this is a time to be a witness to my family; to be a reflection of his glory; to continue to plant and water seeds that will draw them to salvation. It’s not enough just to pray for salvation for our family members  and loved ones.  We have to be a visible billboard of what it is to receive and live salvation in Jesus Christ.   We have to speak Christ, live Christ and literally transform into Christ to draw others to the kingdom. Even when they tap on your nerves or you don’t want to be bothered from time to time.  This never became more clear than when my grandmother took sick late December  2012.  The family was meeting up in Atlanta for the Christmas holiday and the Lord had been talking to me intensely about salvation for my family, something I pray for regularly.   But in particular her.  I knew my grandmother, based on what I understood, knew the Lord and had some relationship with him.  But there was a question as to whether she accepted salvation.  Don’t get me wrong, my grandmother was a great woman.  She was such a giving and selfless person to all. It was primarily from her I saw the importance of serving others.  She never had a chance to complete school or have many opportunities that we so easily take for granted, but she sacrificed tirelessly so that the next generations could progress.  She was constantly helping others, even those outside the family, in need.  Yet I can’t say I grew up seeing her walk closely with the Lord.   I went down for the holidays and in the excitement and bustle, I almost forgot to talk to my grandmother about accepting the Lord as her  savior.  I will never forget that morning in December 2012, the day I was leaving.  I went to greet her as I normally do.  Ordinarily, if she’s in the bed  I will jump in beside her.  That day she was sitting in a chair.  I turned to her and said “May May are you saved”?  She shook her head no.  I asked her if she wanted to accept the Lord Jesus as her personal savior and she said yes!  Now it’s not like I hadn’t talked to my grandmother before about Jesus.  But in the past there was always some resistance and somewhat of a theological debate regarding scripture and what has to be done to be saved.  This time there was no resistance.  I lead her in the prayer of salvation and she accepted Christ.  I got on the plane to fly back to NY a few hours after.  I would not know how monumental that moment was until some time later.  Why?  Because 2 days after that happened my grandmother got sick and was admitted to the hospital. She became severely ill and after a valiant fight, my beloved May May passed 3/14/2013.

When they say God is good all the time it is not just empty rhetoric.  This experience with  May May was just an indisputable example of God’s goodness and mercy.  He knew he was calling my grandmother home soon, but He was merciful to give her the chance to get her soul right with him and gave her the grace to receive eternal life in the kingdom of God.  I am honored he would use me to lead her.  Truly to God be all glory.

So you see, being a witness of Christ is not just spitting out bible verses or always necessarily talking to others all the time about being saved.  Yes directly talking about salvation is important. But every move is significant–every gesture, every action, your tone, your words, your emails, anything you do can be used to reflect God’s glory and draw others to the kingdom.

The great apostle Paul said in I Corinthians 3:6, ” I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.”  As servants of God, working to bring people to the Lord you don’t know whether you are planting (putting the initial foundation or idea about Jesus Christ into someone’s heart or mind) or watering (i.e. building on the foundation already laid out by others).  But really it doesn’t matter.   Live like Christ, be that effective example that exemplifies who Jesus is and whether you are planting or watering, God is sure to do His part and draw an abundance of people to His kingdom with your help and efforts.

I would say to you as well as to myself, what good is rising if you are not lifting others with you?   May you continue to rise always.

Peace and blessings,

stillirise323

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Comments
  1. Amen! Glory be to God! It definitely takes a village. It’s great to be guided by people you know without a shadow of a doubt, have your best interest at heart. Another soul for the Kingdom! Praise God!

  2. Franklin says:

    I thought you said blogging might be hard for you…………now i would have to suggest that you write a book 🙂
    Good material. Can identify with your experience.
    My condolence to your family on the passing of your beloved May May.
    If we follow what Jesus way (meeting the people where they were, addressing their needs first) it sure would be our recipe for success in being a productive witness

    • Oh here goes Franklin lol. But maybe the Lord is speaking through you–I would not say it impossible or out of the question. It has crossed my mind but let’s see what God says. Thank you for your condelensces. May may is very special to us. And as always Thank you for your encouragement and support. I truly appreciate you. God bless

    • Sammy says:

      Yes I agree with the above comment. You will be a good story teller and the foundation of a book already in progress. God bless you

      • Thank you so much Sammy. That’s means a lot coming from you. I really enjoy your blog and you have a wonderful gift in writing as well. God bless

  3. Thank you for sharing this wonderful testament of of faith all around. What a beauty when we can be reminiscent of the people and experiences that help to form the people we become. Hailing from a West Indian family myself, I truly understand the value that is placed on education. (My mom got cable because I ordered it for her three years ago so I understand) But, your fond memory of May May also speaks to the power of our God, and his loving kindness. “He knows the thoughts and plans he has for us.” May May was always counted among his own. He knew He would use YOU his daughter, May Mays’ granddaughter to witness and lead her to the Shepherd. Witnessing is not only for the Pastor, and Sundays at church. Thank you for reminding us that we are to use every opportunity we have to witness. Our lives are to speak for itself. Wonderful how you can give back to those who have poured into you.

    • Thank you so much sis. God is faithful and a true divine orchestrator of all things. He knows what we have need of. Thank you for your encouragement. God bless you

  4. shirley lakeman says:

    Thank you for those words of wisdom and inspiration I certainly enjoyed it, may God continue to bless and keep you.

  5. Terri-Ann says:

    What a touching story! It was so heartfelt. Thank you for sharing it. I was reminded of how powerfully we impact each other in the simplest interactions and how careful we must be to always keep it simple and genuine when trying to positively influence people.Thanks again!

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