Friday, April 10, 2009

Oops...Big Oops

5pm at Islands of Adventure

BJ and Brandon are done with the Hulk ride and we agree to meet up at the Spider man ride. Alex wanted to ride this from the beginning but the line was too long 125 minute wait. By evening it had dropped to 90. We really enjoyed it. The seat hardly moves but all the simulation makes you feel like you are towering over large buildings, falling, getting splashed, feeling heat, and all along Spider man is helping you out - pretty cool stuff! Alex is not happy; I glance at everyones glee, but Alex looks scared. He shares that he did not like that ride; I guess he took all that simulation seriously.

I apologize to him and offer that we all get on the Popeye ride to take that bad memory away, before we head out of the park. We had a short wait on it previously, but technical difficulties forced it to temporarily shut down. This time we got there in 5 minutes. The entire way Alex is begging me not to get on, he doesn't want to get wet. I am insisting that he go so he can have this great exeperience as a family. He is crying and asking me why I am forcing him to get on. He would like to sit in the waiting area. I think it would be dangerous to leave him alone, so I drag him with us. I tell him that not everyone gets wet. Well, guess who gets soaked in cold water, at the end of the day, when the sun has pretty much decreased in heat? Yup Alex and me. I am sorry the entire ride and he is wailing, because we keep getting sloshed.

We all agree that I should have just listened to Alex. His sweatshirt and hat are dry, so his shirt comes off so he can get warmed up again. I ask him to forgive me and express my ignorance-I forgot how wet we really get on this ride, I thought it was only at the end. I practically tortured him.

I wondered why I didn't just listen to my boy. A couple of days ago I started listening to a CD called why I can't say no. Being a fixer and codependent describes who I have been much of my life and where it all began. I am striving to recognize the tendencies and put an end to it. The Lord doesn't want me to be the Holy Spirit. He is the only rescuer and fixer that operates without an ulterior motive-when I do it, its to meet a need in me. Laura Petherbridge (speaker from this past weekends retreat) was right-on in her assessment. I wanted Alex to feel better, so I was trying to create a better experience. This was a classic way, for God to show me that when I think, How can I get so and so to do this or that, or stop this or that behavior, I am trying to rescue to fulfill my selfish needs.

I have learned that codependence actually delays or prolongs the porblem being fixed - I can't fix it! When I make a mistake and it hurts someone else, or if I see someone hurting themselves, I have to allow that person to experience the situation without trying to usher it through to a flowery end. I tried for a huge chunk of my previous marriage to Orlando. When I finally realized the sick pattern I was allowing to develop, I was more than eager to run.

I've learned that if I seek to enable, I am loving that person or situation more than I love God.

Praise God that he is now putting me in situations that is confronting this problem and He is fixing it in my life. I have moved leaps and bounds from the fear of avoiding conflict at all costs. He is currently urging me to be tougher with BJ who is failing Spanish. I may have to take everything away in order for him to get the message, work harder and pull up his grades. Matthew and Alex sometimes display these attitudes that I am not always consistent in correcting. At those times strong consecquences need to be experienced and sometimes I don't allow them. "Leniency is never loving." Sometimes having a false sense of acceptance and peace from my children meets my need to be accepted; yuck! The result of doing my job (which may need to be holding their feet to the fire), may result in anger and avoidance, but I will have the father's approval and support. I will always have HIs love.

Sometimes I walk through a false sense of peace in a friendship - I have to be brave to say what I am really feeling to make peace and not just try to keep the peace. It could mean an end in the friendship which God may have only allowed, for a season. My job would then be to just release it, and let it go. I may have to say no and limit my time with friends who are a bit toxic, who misrepresent who I am. I will be healthy and free. I desire freedom more than these chains.

The greatest thing I look forward to in all this is the growth in insight and wisdom, that only comes with obedience.

Set Me Free Deux - Self Consciousness

Day one at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure

Its mid day and our group of five has split up leaving me some alone time with Alex (my youngest). We are in Jurassic Park and BJ, Brandon and Matthew get on the themed ride that ends with a hefty drop, offering the tumble-over-the-waterfall experience; Alex was not even trying to experience that. We opted to wait a warned two hours to get on the flying prehistoric creature ride (can't spell the actual name). There are three sets of wings with two seats suspended in the air. It takes a total of about a minute to soar above a portion of the park - you go really high and feel like you are flying.

Waiting in line usuallly brings out feelings of frustration and anticipation. I made it a point to sit down with Alex and talk about school and whatever came to mind. There is plenty to see; what I like about the wait is the landscape and the music - beautiful waterfalls. landscaped gardens and island music. From time to time I try to get Alex to shimmy with me, but thats just too embarrising, for him. I can see why they call the engineers of this park Imagineers - you need quite an imagination to come up their ideas!

I observe the Latino mother and son in front of me - I wonder if they are from the states or foreign? What country are they from? Do they speak English? I don't open my mouth. They decide after half an hour that they don't want to wait anymore and exit the line. Next there is an Indian family in front of me. The heat and wind from a nearby fan intensifies the smell of mustard coming from a sandwich, a young boy is eating.

A gentleman (waiting with his family) behind strikes up some conversation with me. Is it really going to take two hours? I share how many vehicles are involved. The father in front of me asks how long we have to go - first time on this ride is my reply. Dad in back asks me where I'm from; he's from the Orlando area. We talk about Hurricane Charley, sports and he tries to get Alex to talk. We fall into a conversation about the biggest basketball players in the NBA. Lebron and Colby are the best technical players, but in this man's opinion Dwayne Wade has the best character overall and is his favorite. Hmm. He prefers College basketball - less whinig and drama and more team comraderie- I agree. Tim Tebow comes up. He says he is the only guy he would allow to marry his daughter. Hmm. I was initially worried about what I would say to this many, but he ends up being an encouragement to me, reminding me to open my mouth when I am prompted, when the questions are forming in my head, ask them. What to do you have to lose? I am quick to believe the lie that I have nothing interesting to say or offer when in this encounter every "little thing" I shared opened up more and more discussion. In just a few minutes I felt comfortable talking to a dad who i will one day meet in heaven.

Our conversation continued about Tebow; I didn't know he always wore Phil 4:13 on his face, during his regular season games and John 3:16 only for the final championship. When asked why he chose to do this, he said he knew the increased viewing audience needed to see this message more-a missionaries heart indeed! We both agreed that the reason he is respected and accepted by those who don't want a relationship with God is that he is the real deal. So many contradict who they are, but Tim is for real.

The president comes up, but not to take on a political turn - I tell him what I heard him say "We are no longer a Christian nation, but a Nation of Citizens." Certainly a time to show others who we are. In Tina's blog (that I follow) said it plainly - they will know we are Chrisians by our love, not our protests-Amen to that!

Yeah! We are next and we only waited one hour and 15 minutes. It was all worth the wait!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Set Me Free

Tonight we are finishing the final touches, for our spring break trip to Orlando. The boys have never been on a real vacation. They got a glimpse of the resort hotel experience during Christmas vacation - that the result of winning a ticket to ICE from my favorite radio station! BJ is much older and has been to Disney, and many other theme parks and attractions; however, as a family we've never gone away just, for fun!

As I check the tire pressure, fill up the gas tank, overwhelm the shopping cart full of groceries I try to ignore the nagging, sinking feeling I get whenever I do something that brings me pleasure. I feel guilty.

Freedom has been knocking on the door of a host of life long maladies. I've struggled with anxiety, fear, misplaced guilt and guilt by association of misplaced guilt. If that's not enough guilt, try the daughter-of-guilty-parents-that-were-probably-raised-to-feel-guilty-in-a-Haitian-Catholic-culture guilt.

Wait-there's more: I am the only daughter of the town mayor in the land of people pleasers. This distant town which my dear parent's belong, (though they surely have meant well), is all they've known. Perhaps they were raised this way–to be suspicious everytime I'd ever ask to sleep over Jana's house. She was only two doors down, on the same floor of our apartment complex! I always felt guilty, whenever I went. I would beg to go, but would always be sent off with a speech that made me feel as if I was doing something wrong, for trying to have some fun.
This never appeared to be unusual growing up until I find the same feelings creeping in my head. These foreigners that seek to suck out and control any joy that I know the Lord wants me to experience. For years this view that I have been trained to have, has spilled over into my view of who God is, and how he sees me.

If I stop to take those eroneous thoughts captive, I will be able to see that God delights in me. He wants to bless my life with good things. I can never out sin His love, for me.

How far do these chains take me? Gosh, I must have been four or five and James (little bro) was just one years old (but could walk). Family friends were over and I wanted to go to the park and play. Its what kids like to do; have a little fun. These kind relatives escorted me and James to the park in the nearby Projects. The swings back then were metal and someone was pushing their child on it. They didn't see James in the arms of the adult who was carrying him, past the swing, not prepared, for the crushing blow to his head as the seat came down with enough speed to form a gash. Blood is every where and we are running back home. No more play time, but I don't care about that. I wonder if James is going to die, if he does it would be my fault since I was the one who wanted to go. My mom confirmed my guilty conscience. She yelled at me as everyone fussed over James' cut. He did'nt have to go the hospital, didn't need stitches, but it was a huge deal. Maman said, "always want to go outside; can't stay home! If it wasn't for you, he wouldn't have been hurt." When I cried, I must have hid somewhere. I was alone and isolated, feeding on the lies and garbage satan began to form as early as the 70's.

Now I'm still feeling like fun may equal doom that's sure to come, but I am not giving into it anymore. I am going and I look forward to it. I know that God has given me the keys to break away from that brain-sucking feeling. I choose to let go of my parents who probably want me to have fun - I am letting go of the feeling that I am abandoning them; how weird, I don't live with them anymore, but I feel like I am neglecting them. Should I spend so much money? Uhh, I've earned the money, I've paid my bills, I'm a cheerful giver. There, that checklist should satisfy the intrusive Pharissee. Or Orlando (my exhusband). I feel so sorry for him sometimes. I hear the thoughts "you are going on vacation with the boys, he will surely feel bad that he can't do anything like that". In reality, I really don't care about it, but somehow co dependent leeches want to attach themselves to me. I know he wishes we were all a family again, but I know I have made the right decision as his insecurity kept me connected to my indentity-void roots. Speaking harsh words over me, words that robbed me of my value in Christ. My parents initiated it, and I allowed Orlando to magnify it, and thank God I no longer recieve it.

Just being able to be on alert, able to see it, gives me hope. It encourages me to know that God is actively working to produce the whole heart I have asked him for. Kids, reared in "normal" loving households know the feeling of shear delight, trust, and joy. So I'm about to have me some.