It’s been 3 years since I started this journey. Before Blissfully Bianca, for the longest time, various friends and peers have always told me how positive I am and how I should write about it. Though I was flattered by the compliments, I never really thought what I said was that important. I live quite a mundane life. I have always thought that there were enough critics in the world bringing negativity; I just wanted to be different.
But God knew what He was doing: He was giving me a platform and stage. He put this desire in me to encourage and share my testimony. My story went beyond my FB friends. My message has reached international audiences (WHOA!). Only God knew what would be.
God was saying my journey was not mundane but worthy of sharing. In three years, I have learned so much about myself. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your comments, likes, and following. Thank you for reading and inspiring me. There is more room to grow but join me for that.
My back to basics lesson is:“Your journey is not for you.” You are inspiring someone else. Your experiences are meant for someone else out there. People are watching how you are and look to you whether you believe it or not.
I stepped out in faith starting a blog about my journey and living as a blissfully, God-centered version of me. That’s not easy but God knew I had a spiritual gift of encouragement and this is a way to be a light on a hill.
So allow yourself and your journey to be used by God. It made the difference and here we are.
Life has a way of twisting and turning your focus, direction, and perspective on life. I was convicted in a sermon message about my own bitterness in my life. The pastor was talking from the LOVE Chapter (e.g. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5) about how “love keeps no record of wrongs.” He used that passage to highlight about how love does not have bitterness.
Bitterness is defined as exhibiting intense animosity or marked by cynicism and rancor.
The pastor talked about how bitterness can transform and alter your outcome. Bitterness turns into complaining, complaining turns into doubt, and doubt turns into a lack of focus on your future/destiny.
As I sat in my chair listening, I really thought to myself, “Am I bitter?” The truth is I was and did not realize it. I was bitter. I was complaining. I was doubting too. As I have written before, I was living at home, second failed attempt at the Bar, and just stuck. I was trying to function but still had this dark bitterness that made me feel helpless, like the world was laughing at me. I was a failure and a fool.
After church, I confessed to mom that I was bitter about everything going on. My mom and sister agreed that I would sulk in that bitterness and carry it with me. TALK ABOUT A WAKEUP CALL.
I really let it go too far.
But you know what? The pastor stated that God can take that bitterness and turn it into something sweet. He will give us His sweet presence, His peace. But the thing is: I had to keep the past in the past. It happened but I cannot dwell and live there. I need to move forward.Yes, life does not go as planned but God has something sweeter ahead.
I truly wrestled with that. I had to look into my heart and let go of what happened to me. Yes, I failed the Bar twice. Yes, life did not go as planned. Yes, I am living at home, trying to find work, and helping around more. BUT, God does not discount what I have been through. Actually, He is using it for something sweeter.
The Bible says “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”- Psalm 34:8
God is good all the time. The Enemy is working overtime but God works ALL the time.
God is working it out but you and I cannot live in the bitterness of the past. Easier said than done but it’s true. You cannot move forward with bitterness. Yes, life can derail you but you cannot give into it. You can acknowledge your past but DON’T LIVE IN IT.
It takes God’s daily strength and power to wake me up in the morning. I can’t do it by my own power. Ask God for that power to move forward. Ask every day, every minute, every hour of the day. Bitterness eats you up alive. You can’t let it steal your joy.
I am less than 48 hours away from my birthday. GAH!! I am feeling all kinds of excitement, sadness, anxiousness, nostalgia, and pride.
I wanted to share blissful, wise lessons I learned and continue to learn about myself. To paraphrase a great quote, it’s just fine being a masterpiece and a work of progress. And that is what I am. I am on this journey. I’m not perfect this side of heaven but I will be one day.
So let’s get started…
Serving is bigger than my personal comfort zone.
It is one of those lessons where self is not in serving. If I truly am serving for Christ, that means I have to be second. I have had to learn serving depends on your heart. I try to pray and check my heart because ultimately God called me to a particular assignment. Sometimes I do not want to serve because I don’t feel like it or it’s not the way I would do things, . But ultimately I know God would not put something in my path if He did not think I couldn’t do it. God has definitely been using my mom for “serving assignments.” It feels like my mom has an assignment cause she was talking to someone and they need help. My mom does tell the person, “I will ask my daughter.” But we all know this mommy’s girl will do it. But I truly believe God is teaching me what serving truly is and He continues to show me.
Unconventional moments are God’s preparation for something greater.
Still don’t have three letters behind my name YET. But 28 did still show me that I have knowledge to share and benefit others. I still have a Juris Doctor and my interest is in Immigration Law. I have experience to educate and help as a person with an advanced degree. With any individual I encounter with an immigration question, I try to educate them and myself by researching (but not practicing law…nothing illegal just answering questions). I am still keeping my skills up. I know I will be a licensed attorney but I also know that now is preparation for what is to come. No season is wasted even Year 28.
You have to work towards contentment if you are discontent.
Though my heart was broken that God closed a door after Bar Try #2, I really prayed and sought out why I am so discontent that where I want to be is not where God wants me to be. And God revealed that I am just going through the motions and not truly blooming where He wanted me to. So I started blogging more, started running (going on 2 months now), made a list of goals to enjoy myself this summer, and just started putting myself out there. You can’t complain and expect change. You have to go outside of yourself and really act.Like do something. If you’re bored, do something. If you’re not happy, make a change. It is a daily decision to act in contentment. Some days I did/still do not want to try because I thought “What’s the point!?!” But it was the Enemy and myself lying for me to go back to complaining and sulking in defeat. But like I said, it is a daily decision to try, to act no matter how small it is.
Sometimes you have to be still.
With conflict, with disappointment, with trouble, with difficulty, even with happiness. I have to take a step back, take a deep breath, and be still. My mom always tells me in any strife God will either change the situation or remove the situation. I have had to realize that sometimes it is not time to speak but let the situation play out. God’s got it.
Do not be ashamed of your journey.
Yup…learning that a lot. Yes, life is very different than what I expected. I wanted to be a licensed attorney living my best life in Florida. But God changed that plan and said not yet. But also He says, “I am not done with you yet. I have something for you. Wait on me.” I have had to pick my head up and say I am still worthy and I will get there. But sometimes people’s questions on my life makes me want to crawl in a hole because I belong there. It’s like I am joke and a failure to world because I am not there yet. Thankful for my family and true friends who combat my comments at how I am a failure with words of truth and encouragement. It is a struggle but I am growing and owning my story. God will and is using this narrative for someone or something down the line.
So, thanks 28 for the lessons. I will keep at it at 29 and beyond.
Did you know that June is National Caribbean American Heritage Month? Neither did I until now. This year marks the 14th celebration of National Caribbean American Heritage Month.
This idea came originated from Dr. Claire Nelson, Founder and President of the Institute of Caribbean Studies. This campaign caught the attention of Congress. In June 2005, the House of Representatives adopted H.Con. Res. 71 sponsored by Congresswoman Barbara Lee recognizing the Caribbean people and their contribution to the United States. The resolution passed in the Senate and the Proclamation was issued by President George W. Bush on June 6, 2006.
My Caribbean Roots
I am the proud daughter of Haitian immigrants. Haiti Cherie!
The Rough Truth
To be honest, I was not about that Caribbean life growing up. I wanted to be as American as possible. I knew my parents spoke a different language. We had different food. We had different traditions. I wanted to eat McDonalds and American like food. I just wanted to be like my white friends who had the “right american” traditions. I stopped speaking Haitian Creole for a very long time. I had this mentality to be as “normal” as possible.
In my senior year in high school, for our Christmas concert, my choral director wanted us to sing this choral piece called “A Haitian Noel.” Really!?! Singing Haitian Creole!?! I tried to keep quiet about my cultural background quiet but when some students were mispronouncing words I just had to correct them.
“Wait, Bianca you know this language!?!”
“Uhhh..yes. My parents are Haitian.”
The truth is out!
Then my choir director asked me to ask my parents to help us and teach the class this song. My parents were shocked and elated when asked; they made a cassette tape of the lyrics for them (I know I’m old). I was even teaching the class too. What I thought made me odd made me special. We practiced so hard till it was perfected…for a high school chamber choir.
My dad’s work schedule made him miss my choral performances but he took the night off for this concert. I was SO nervous because we would be performing this in front of my parents. But we did it! My parents said they loved it and it meant the world to them to hear their culture represented. My dad actually has the song on his iPhone and still listens it today. I had the chance to thank my choir director for the opportunity to showcase my culture and light the spark.
The Trip of A Lifetime
Only God could have orchestrated my mission trip to Haiti.
In January 12, 2010, our family, along with the world, was in shock over the earthquake that destroyed and killed thousands. We were calling family wondering if everyone was ok. For the most part, everyone was ok but there was damage. My mom already left in March 2010 for a medical missions trip. But there was still a hurt for a country I had never been to.
I finished my sophomore year of college. I was planning on summer school and being home for summer for a little. My campus pastor told me about a last minute short-term mission trip to Haiti. It was paid for by SendMeNow Missions through the Georgia Baptist Convention. All I had to do was get my vaccinations and say yes. My parents had told me for most of my life it’s too dangerous for me to go and when I am older I can go. So I made a deal with God that if He wants me to go, I need to have my parents’ blessing and support. And they gave me their blessing and support.
I went with a great group of people to do vacation bible school and sports camps for the kids. Still friends with them to this day.
It was eye-opening seeing everything. My parents’ stories of Haiti hit me like a ton of bricks. The marketplace, school children walking miles to school, tap taps (their version of transit), dust, smoke, poverty, destruction from the earthquake, no sewer system, women carrying crops on their heads, churches with walls and tarp, and more.
It was then where I understood where my parents were coming from. They grew up with little but survived it. They came to the states with dreams and for their children to have access to everything from an education to clean water.
I had a renewed sense of pride to be a representation of a Haitian American.
I’m proud of my Haiti. No matter what the media or society believes, Haiti is a resilient group of people. We were the first black republic and first independent Caribbean country. Yup…Haiti Cherie!
I love my rice and beans, fried plantains, pate (Haitian patties), Diri ak djon don (black mushroom rice), soup joumou (squash soup eaten New Year’s Day), Legim (like a stir-fry of vegetables), Pikliz (like a spicy coleslaw), and many more.
I love my flavorful spices. I am allergic to bland food. I have been too blessed and spoiled.
And God still dwells in the Haitian people. Christian Haitians have such a light and love for the Word. If you think you will “save” them, you will be blessed by them. And no, not all Haitian people practice voodoo…just sayin.
Caribbean Contribution to America
Just to name a few Caribbean people and their value to the American experience…
Jean Baptiste du Sable (Haiti), the “Founder of Chicago”
Sidney Poitier (Bahama descent), first African-American actor recipient of an Oscar for Best Actor
James Weldon Johnson (Bahama descent), Author of the Black National Anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing)
Oscar de La Renta (Dominican Republic), fashion designer
Malcolm X (mother from Grenada)
Harry Belafonte (Jamaica/Martinique), civil rights activist and singer
Colin Powell (Jamaica), first black U.S. Secretary of State
John Russwurm (Jamaica), first black editor of a U.S. newspaper and one of the first three blacks to graduate from a U.S. college
Alexander Hamilton (St. Kitts & Nevis), first Secretary of the U.S. Treasury
Dr. William Thornton (Virgin Islands), physician and architect who designed the U.S. Capitol
And the list goes on…
The Pride Is Real
No matter what Caribbean country a person is from, WE MATTER! We are part of the construction and greatness of America.
We are beautiful, smart, resourceful, and diverse. I love meeting and relating with my other Caribbean brothers and sisters. We have similar stories, struggles, stereotypes, concerns, and passions.
In the great words of God, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14).
This quote speaks more volumes in my life now than before. Even through the valleys, there is a lesson, a testimony, and guidebook for someone else down the road. Survival makes strength.
I know the feeling where each day is a struggle to wake up, get out of bed, and face the world. The tribulation can be so much to handle. You feel and can almost hear people’s opinions and criticisms of your situation. You almost feel ashamed about your situation.
But you have to face it head on no matter how embarrassed, sad, depressed, and down you feel. Pretty much, my situation. But I know I have survived a lot. I am just climbing. I am learning and growing. Climbing to my mountaintop.
If you are still climbing to your goals, you are building your strength, endurance, and perseverance if you do not give up.
Keep brushing yourself off. Keep your head up. Fight each day no matter how it is. Learn to climb. And then you will see how far you’ve come.
On the grand stage of media, current events, and social media, I feel the frustration, anger, discrimination, and marginalization of being an African American and being a woman.
Having police called on African Americans who are living their own lives .
Women of color gone missing and no one is making a big deal about it.
Victims of sexual assault being ostracized for speaking their truth.
The lack of criminal justice for minorities.–particularily unarmed African Americans shot by police officers.
The gender pay gap between men and women
The list goes on and on.
If you think that I am just complaining with violins and making excuses, I’m not. I am speaking from my perspective and based on the shoes I walk in every day. If you think I am lying, then you are part of the problem and in denial. Rub your eyes, clean your glasses, and look into the world we live in.
Some days I am so powerless of because the world’s rhetoric and attitude. It does give me anxiety. It makes me feel worthless. The words people say, post, and act on is so unbecoming…especially “Christians.” It’s like I am a walking target wherever I go. I am not safe in my skin as a woman and as an African American.
God says “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14) So even though I may feel worthless or powerless, God reminds me who I am and whose I am. God made me uniquely as an African American woman “for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14)
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.-Isaiah 43:11
God called me to be Bianca. Though the world may say all it says, God calls me redeemed, wanted, and valued.That goes to every person on this Earth. You are redeemed in Christ. It does not matter if the world does not like you. God makes you worthy.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.-Ephesians 2:10
God did not create me to be nothing.God created me for His purpose. I am skilled with gifts and talents for good. Though man may disqualify me, God established me, Bianca, to work, to provide input to humanity, to serve others, and to have a voice. All the things God creates in me, He uniquely made you for the same reason and purpose. You are somebody.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.-1 Peter 2:9
God never said white people are God’s chosen people. God does not say anything about a race being superior to anyone. No race has dominion over an entire people…that’s God arena. When I accepted Christ into my heart, I became His. God said, “You are chosen. You are mine.” With that, there is an eternal victory I have. Jesus paid that price to cover my faults and failures. Thus, I have a place in heaven with Him.
So I empowered by my physical features and gender because God made me uniquely. I am the Princess of a King. I have a voice. God did not create me to be silent but to work and hustle for His glory. I am not perfect but I am redeemed by the Savior of the Universe.
No man can cut down who God promotes.
There is no door God opens that man can shut.
So I use my God-created self to be awesome. Yes, I still get weird looks for being an outspoken woman or for being black, or being too ethnic. But it’s whatever. If God likes it, then imma be Bianca. I am empowered black girl magic.