Traditions

Traditions are those beliefs and/or customs that have been passed down from generation to generation. One of the best examples is our celebration of Christmas. We celebrate Christmas on December 25th, as the day that Jesus was born, but historically it has been agreed that he was born closer to the month of April. You can hear people say that you can’t celebrate Christmas without a tree or decorations; the truth is those are merely distractions, there were no trees or decorations at the manger when Jesus was born.

 Traditions have colored the way we do things and have distracted us from the real meaning. In terms of holidays, I boycotted traditional Christmas last year and don’t get me started on Easter. All my readers have five minutes to explain to me the relationship between eggs, bunnies and the resurrection… Go ahead, I can wait!

 There are people who have chosen careers because it’s a tradition in their family for everyone to be a doctor, a teacher, a lawyer, or a policeman.  Some people go to a certain college because that’s where their family members went, not because it has the best program for their interests.

God made us unique. He took his time to form each and every one of us, and every one of us has See full size imagea different purpose in the body of Christ. Following traditions, in my humble opinion, are not either good or bad, unless of course the tradition harms the person or others; but it’s not necessary in the implementation of God’s plan for us. We need to ask ourselves what opportunities we have wasted because that’s not what we usually do, the way we usually do it, or the way the people around us did it?

How about when our blessing comes in a different package than what we are used to or expecting, and because we’re not familiar with it we pass it right by? Can you believe that the greatest lesson of marital love I learned from a homeless man? I was part of a ministry that was feeding the homeless. This man came to our line and grabbed his portion of food; something in him caught my attention. All the others sat in front of where we were and ate, he ran with his food to hide. Another person from the ministry and I followed him at a distance, his wife was under some boxes sleeping, probably after heavy drug use. She was very weak, he told her that he had brought her something and lifts her head up with his arms and started feeding her his food. We told them that we had enough for him to eat too. He thanked us but told us that he had come to the line just to make sure that she would get something to eat.  When I think about how a husband should love his wife, I think of them. It was not wrapped up in the prettiest package, but it blessed me. How many lessons or blessings have we missed because of our pre-conceived notions and traditions?

Evidence of Real Love

Evidence of Real Love

I was able to witness and experience one of the most beautiful days in the life of my dear friends Richard and Carrie Rice. They have been married for three and half years and have a great testimony to share on how God has not only developed their relationship, but how they have grown in their faith and in their obedience to God.  

When they originally got married they felt that it was God’s time to do it and without bells and whistles, they got united in the commitment of marriage. God has been growing and using them as they have been obedient to his will. Carrie, even though happy with her groom, felt that she had missed on having a celebration of that special day.

This year, she submitted a letter to the local Christian radio station “The Fish”. They were running a Valentine’s contest where they would choose 50 couples and do a wedding for them to renew their vows. This radio station does this contest every year and Carrie had submitted a letter of participation each time. This year she won. She was very excited. God had provided the wedding of her dreams. This wedding was not only going to provide her with a ceremony, but a wedding cake, flowers, catered lunch, pictures, video and gifts. This time more than the commitment to each other, they were celebrating their covenant with God and with each other.

The event was cancelled in February due to inclement weather and the activity was performed today.  Carrie and Richard had thought of the traditional wedding attires when they originally won, but then they realized that it’s not a white ball wedding dress and a tuxedo that makes them tick. It’s not a tiara, a veil and a tie that made them fall in love. So they decided that they wanted to get married in their tennis shoes and “skinny jeans” like Richard said.

They were the only couple in jeans, so they did get various looks from the other participants. Even there were comments in the bathroom about how “diverse” the chosen attires had been, not knowing that Carrie was in the stall. She came out and laughed about it and said, “Yes that would be me!” Beyond their looks they were very well noticed amongst the crowd. They received compliments for showing passion in the way they kissed and looked at each other during the ceremony. To them it was not about looking pretty, it was about their true love for each other.

During the ceremony, Carrie surprised Richard with his wedding ring. His ring had broken some time ago. She had it fixed to give it to him today. He was blown out of the water, but was also a little disappointed that he didn’t have a gift for her. Brandon Heath was singing and Richard felt in his heart a prayer. He prayed that God would bless his wife with the grand prize, so that this day would be even more special than it already had been for her. At the end of the event, the hostess presented the grand prize, a $2,000 diamond necklace. “And the winner of our grand prize is” as the hostess and Richard said at the same time “Carrie Rice”. At the table there was confusion for a second, none of us could believe that Carrie had been the winner. There were screams and praises from Richard’s mouth. Hours after the event had ended we were all still in awe on how God had answer his prayer, blessed his wife and made this day perfect. They were able to share their story with some of the people present, including Brandon Heath, who was very impressed.

Of course winning the prize it’s awesome, and the answered prayer it’s a testimony of God’s love, but what is greater for me is the evidence of true love without the masks of society and how he wants us to be real. He wants us to be us, and as we obey and become real with ourselves, our connection with our Creator will definitely be closer.

Hidden in a dream

I had a dream last night that I’m trying to decipher. I know some dreams are just that; dreams. But I really think this one was trying to speak to my heart.

Before I moved to this state, I had built my house “from scratch” (bear with the baking reference, I don’t know the first thing about construction, but talk to me about cakes and we are in business) I had the property, in a way, and I sat with the contractor and designed what was my dream house within my budget and space. Within a few months that house was built. I was able to choose every window, every tile, every appliance, and every color.

In my dream I was back at that house, but it looked very different from the real house that I lived in. It looked like I had just moved in, had a lot of boxes spreaded out and a few pieces of furniture.  I was happy in there because it was a canvas of many things I could do with the house. Looking out the window, I saw a neighbor, who is actually someone who was my neighbor at the real house, who told me she wanted to buy the house. I told her that I needed to consult with my mother ( just like in the real house, my house was built inside her property, so even though the house was mine, the land wasn’t ) My mother was hesitant to the idea, but we agreed to at least let her see the inside of the house.

As we walked through the house with her, I found perks that I had not seen before. I saw an old piano that just needed some painting, a collection of very cute elephants in gold, the house that in the real life had only two bedrooms keep growing on the inside, and all the sudden had four bedrooms and five bathrooms. The real house had only one. It had this huge kitchen. As I kept walking through the house showing my neighbor the selling points, I started discovering that I may not want to get rid of this house, that there was a lot in it that I had not seen that was of value in there and that I could do so much in that house; yes, with some money, patience and tender loving care.

In these last few days I had toyed with the idea of selling my current house, but I don’t think that this is what this dream was about at all.  I think this dream is speaking to me and the things that are going in my life at this moment. God is showing me how he’s cleaning my house, my spiritual house, and how many hidden gifts are there that I have not seen, not because their hidden, but because I have not taken the opportunity to look. That I should tour my house and see how many valuable things are there. That I’m in the right spot of being a brand new canvas, where HE can build a new life for me, a beautiful one. I thought I only had two rooms, he showed me all the other ones. To me that spoke about how much more love he can accommodate in me if I allow him. It speaks to how many more people can be accommodated in my heart to shelter. Just like in the dream, to get that house in shape is going to take money, patience and tender loving care; who better than God to provide it all if I just let him do his job and allow myself to shut up.

At the end of the dream I had a little boy  filled with dirt. I grabbed him by the hand and entered him into the shower to be cleansed. To me that’s a promise, that I will be holding in my heart.

God keeps reminding me to be still and know that he is God. I think at this point I know that he has a lot of things that he’s going to do with me, in this new canvas of my life. He has cleared my past and made me new. I need to learn how to crawl before I start running and I tend to forget that even when every time I run I end up hitting my head against the wall. Yes, I can be slow.

So I guess my thought about that dream is that I need to sit down, shut up and enjoy the journey of where God is trying to take me. He has promised to have a great future for me and I trust that, therefore no matter how hard things can look now, there’s nowhere to go from here but up.

A day of snow

Looking out the window today I was able to experience something that is not usual for me; we had some snow.  I grew in the Caribbean and I now live in the South.  Yes, we get a little here and there, but it’s not usually enough to stick on the ground. Today apparently we’re going to have more than enough. Many people are scared of the weather conditions, for me it’s a beautiful day. Everything is in the eye of the beholder, like all the events in lives. Yes it is cold, but cozy, it reminds me of how cold life can be out there and how blessed I am of having a warm place inside.  It makes me grateful for God’s provision of a roof over my head and warm clothes to wear in this weather. It reminds me to pray for those less fortunate that are suffering for whatever reason out in this weather.

Driving home through the snow showers was a beautiful thing to see. It was like being inside a capsule and looking at a postcard. It rarely seemed real. I kept thinking of this majestic scenery and all it represented. Once the snow it’s deposited on the ground it remains white until something alters it. It also reminds me of how our lives are in God until we allow sin to interrupt our lives.

A day like today is a reminder that even when we least expected things can change; sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, but that regardless of the direction, our Maker is with us.  It reminds me that when we are in the middle of the unknown it’s time to drive through life slowly and careful to avoid slipping and crashing in the arms of danger.  It is the perfect time to see that no matter what’s going on in our lives, live itself is still breathtaking and amazing as we have the opportunity to see another one of God’s wonders and enjoy another day of life.

Be safe

Naty