Jala, Wade & Their Quiver of 8, So Far

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Jala Ridgard doesn’t look a day over 26 years or so. She is warm, youthful, practical, and generous, with a beautiful, easy smile befitting her personality. Maybe it is the love of her adoring, easy-going husband, Wade Ridgard, and the birth of her 8 biological children that keep the 36-year-old looking so young. Family and Faith Magazine was eager to get to know Jala, Wade, and the bounteous Ridgard clan,  so we took the trek up the cool, misty hills of Irish Town, St. Andrew to sit, sup, and share in their lives on a beautiful Sunday afternoon after church.

Jala and Wade have been married for 10 ½ years and during that time they have been blessed with not 1, not 2, not 4, but 8 beautiful children: Isa, aged 9; Hannah, 8; Seth, 7; Luke, 6; Grace, 4;Nailah, 3; Samuel, 20 months; and 2-month-old daughter, Hope. Today’s modern family oftentimes wouldn’t willingly have more than 2 or 3 children, much more 8, but the Ridgards maintain that their lives are ‘not their own’ but rather are submitted and surrendered to Christ, even as it concerns the very personal and sensitive subject of reproduction.

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Jala, who is from Kingston, and Wade, from St. Ann, met in 2003 through a shared passion for outreach and volunteerism. Through a conspiring of Wade’s father and a suggestion from Jala’s mother, the two eventually had the opportunity to interact. They were increasingly drawn to each other and became solid friends before ultimately tying the knot in 2004.

“I found that in spite of the fact that at the time I had this commitment to the Lord (to be alone for 2 years) I felt drawn to her instinctively,” shared Wade. Continuing, he explained that “we started seeing each other randomly. (For example) my brother was getting ready for his best friend’s wedding and he would just say ‘Wade let’s go to town.’In the middle of the week, I would go to Boulevard Shopping Centre and Jala would be there, or we are coming for a conference at the (then) Hilton Hotel and Jala shows up there.”  With Wade living in St. Ann and Jala in Kingston,all of these interactions were unplanned. “I became convinced that God was setting us up and creating opportunities for us to talk and to get to know each other,” expressed the doting husband and father.

Surrendering Her Reproductive Capabilities

Coming from families with siblings, both Wade and Jala expected to have children and to build a happy home together. Before they wed,Wade joked with Jala about having as many as 12 children, but the two eventually settled on 4. However, it seems that God had bigger plans for the young lovers. In the early days of their marriage they embarked on a 40-day fast with family friends. Jala shared that during that time the Lord spoke to her about reproduction.

“After we had devotions with them, I heard the Lord say that I want you to surrender your reproductive capabilities to me,”explained the mother of 8 children. “I didn’t know that it would lead us here, but my answer was yes,” she declared.

Her apparent obedience notwithstanding, Jala didn’t immediately stop taking oral contraception, the birth control method she used at the time. It was after learning more about how the pill workedand its negative effects that she eventually stopped taking it.

Asked if she is going to stop at 8 or continue having more children, Jala says she hopes she has the courage to continue to obey. “You commit to living a lifetime as a Christian, you commit to doing whatever the Lord asks you to do, but daily you still have to walk it out. It is like every day you have to make that decision again and again. I guess my answer is that I hope I have the courage to obey Him all the days of my life,” she said humbly.

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Her husband is also committed to their chosen path even though at first he questioned if Jala had really heard from the Lord. “At first when she said it to me,I actually doubted that she had heard from the Lord…Yes I wanted children but I wanted to ensure that when the children started coming our relationship was solid and we were prepared in other ways, as well financially and stuff,” he told Family and Faith Magazine.

Wade truly struggled with giving up complete control to God but eventually rested in God’s will. Theoretically, he says, he always knew he didn’t belong to himself but to God and therefore had to obey what he believes the Lord had called him and Jala to do. Ultimately Wade started to learn that living what you believe takes real courage.

“Walking this out was revealing to me how little I really believed it and practiced it.So every time I would be tempted to gripe or complain about how things were working out, how quickly the children were coming, having to deal with the criticisms, the cynical remarks and stuff, every time I try to argue with God about it, or try to get some scheme to regain control, I would hit up on this brick wall, that basically I am a servant and I don’t have the right to my own will,” he confessed.

‘Happy is the man who has his quiver full’

Asked how he feels about having his 8thchild in January 2015, Wade says, “Great! My only concern was that Jala would be ok and once I saw that she is ok, I’m fine.” The courageous couple welcomed each of their 8 children through normal,uncomplicated births with typical labour pains.They are now reaping the fruit of a bounteous family.

Of course, this is not how some view the idea of having more than 2 or 3 children. The family has endured criticism for their choices but they maintain that children are a blessing from the Lord.

“For a non-believer, I get it; my life doesn’t need to make sense to you and it shouldn’t because this walk is with someone they don’t know,” shared Jala. “But for the believer, for me, it is ‘Whose report will you believe?’From Genesis to Revelation, He is saying again and again, children are a blessing, children are the heritage of the Lord. The person is happy who has many, happy is the man who has his quiver full. So He is constantly saying having children is a good thing.So for me, everything points to the fact that children are a blessing and if we really truly believe that, how then can we limit it, because we don’t limit it with anything else that we call a blessing?” she reasoned.

God has shown His ability to provide in so many ways

Raising children in any economy these days can be a serious challenge but the Ridgards declare that God has proven Himself to be their provider again and again. A project manager at Fusion West Indies (a youth outreach ministry), Wade testifies that “God has shown His ability to provide in so many ways.” For instance, while living in Moneague the family was struggling, but after much prayer, Wade says “the Lord spoke to me and said I am going to send you back to Kingston because that is where I have provided support for you.” A few weeks later, he received an unexpected job offer and the family moved to Kingston.

In terms of education, the couple decided to homeschool their happy bunch. Wade, being the more philosophical one, was very attracted to the idea of homeschooling from the get-go, while Jala, the pragmatist, was more focused on the economics.

Initially,“I didn’t want to homeschool,” she admitted. “They go to school, I wave goodbye and I have my day free. I have enough to think about when they come back home. But by that time we had started to feel the financial pinch in 2007 with the financial crisis, so from an economic side it made sense,” explained the practical mother who has the awesome responsibility of planning lessons and teaching the school-aged children. After teaching for quite a while, Jala is now completely passionate about it. “I’m passionate about the results and the good things that come out of doing it myself,” said the university graduate. Jala says she will continue homeschooling for as long as she is successful at it.

Empowerment is making choices with Godly wisdom

Family and Faith Magazine wanted to glean from Jala what she believes empowerment means for today’s woman: “Empowerment is the freedom to be weak, when we really are. We can’t do it all, it is a lie.You can’t do the super career woman, the super mom, super wife and still be sane; it is not possible. I think wehave to make choices and I think empowerment is the ability to make those choices with godly wisdom and stand by it with every breath that you have.”Asked whether each woman should surrender her reproductive capabilities to God, Jala says, “I think we are called to surrender every part of our being to Him; I think we are called to surrender our whole being to Him, bar none.” SAH

Send comments to familyandfaithmagazine@gmail.com

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How Junior and Trudy Tucker navigate Starting a Church, Raising a Family and Loss

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Several years ago Jamaica came to know Junior Tucker as the sensational reggae crooner turned Christian artiste. Few however know that he is now an ordained Pastor who has served for over 15 years in various ministry capacities in churches in the United States and in November 2015 launched True Word and Worship Church in Kingston, Jamaica. The anointed preacher, pastor and worship leader is married to his lovely wife Trudy and the two have been blessed with 5 beautiful children – Chyna, Zoe, Paige, Laila and Judah. Family and Faith Magazine caught up with effervescent Tuckers to talk church and family life.  Although they have countless joyous testimonies to share about the goodness of God, they have also had to weather excruciating experiences that have led them to put their trust fully in God’s sovereignty and His grace.

Foot-Stomping, Easygoing Church on a Friday

A typical Friday evening at True Word and Worship Church in New Kingston is always easygoing, energizing and relaxing all at the same time. With worship led by Pastor Tucker who is normally donned in jeans, sneakers and a long sleeve shirt, attendees can be seen on their feet singing and dancing in praise and eventually enthralled in heartfelt anointed worship. The worship session is followed by a practical sometimes hilarious sermon, prayer and oftentimes prophetic words for individuals who go to the altar for prayer. Parents can take their children along with them to church and experience a little break since in an adjacent room, all the kids are hosted by Trudy, a trained teacher by profession and her daughter Paige, a gentle mentor for the younger children. It’s certainly not typical to go to a full church service on a Friday night but the fun, fellowship and freedom are certainly what more and more people are searching for at the end of the work week. But how did the idea of planting a church come about?

Prior to returning to Jamaica, Pastor Tucker studied Theology and Psychology in the United States of America and served as Pastor, Preacher and Worship Leader in several churches. Through a series of prophetic words and his own sensing of God’s call on his life, Pastor Tucker was lead to return to his homeland to plant a church. Still, he admits that becoming a Pastor was never his plan. “If 13 or 14 years ago, you told me that I was going to be a pastor, I’d laugh… but the bible says that every step of a righteous man is ordered,” Tucker shared.

Explaining the meaning of the church’s motto No Perfect People Allowed, Pastor Tucker said, “One of the mistakes that we make is trying to get perfect before we come to church so I am saying no, come, we will help you towards perfection as we ourselves are being made perfect. So it is Christ who does the perfecting and he uses the church to do it.” He added that catering to the whole man is intentional in his ministry and that life application is a key approach used during his sermons.

Marriage and Family Life

Tucker 2Although Trudy, a trained teacher by profession, is a devoted behind –the-scenes supporter of Pastor Junior’s ministry, he wisely maintains that she is not married to his calling. “One of things you don’t want to do is to make someone feel that because they are married to the person they are also married to the calling. She (Trudy) is not married to my calling. Because what you don’t want her to do is now be in something that she is not called to do and is frustrated and then end up being miserable in our marriage and in our life,” shared Pastor Tucker, noting that this is why he specifically asks God for her specific calling so that her passion can also rise.

No doubt the Tuckers will continue to minister the word of God and the church will grow, but Family and Faith Magazine was keen to determine how they are managing family life, especially with the notion that Pastor’s kids are oftentimes  wayward and troubled. Trudy emphasized that is very important to stay involved in the children’s lives; in their music, the TV shows they are watching and so on. Through a close relationship, parents have ‘entrance’ to truly discuss and influence their children’s decisions, Trudy counsels.

Pastor Tucker adds that a key discipline for him is seeking and listening to the Lord as it relates to family matters.  “I know for me, being the head of the house, anytime I act like I’ve got this I am always in trouble, so I always have to consult Him (God), pray, find out what His word says about the situation I am dealing with or the family and He leads and I follow Him and then everybody walks with me.”

He also recalls discussions he’s had with fellow Pastors who were themselves children of Pastors. He asked them how they would raise their kids differently. He recalls those Pastors sharing that: “My parents sheltered me from the world so much, the moment I became free to leave the house I ran into it (the world), I wanted to find out what I was missing. So what they have done is they have had to walk with their children through the things of the world and so what I get from that is that they will watch TV with them, listen to what they are listening to and talk about it.”

The doting parents are also excited to share how God has blessed their lives with miraculous provision and healing. They fondly tell Family and Faith Magazine how God delivered on a promise to their firstborn, Chyna. “When my oldest girl, Chyna was 2 years old, her mother pointed her finger at her and said you are a getting a full scholarship at one of the best colleges in America and I’m going to pray and I’m going to ask God to bless you and she spoke it over her life and she kept on doing that and many nights she would lay hands on her and pray. Many times Chyna would ‘act up’ as a teenager and she (Trudy) would speak it over her life and call it (into being) and say you are what God says and God says you are going to specifically get a full scholarship and we saw it come to pass.”

Chyna is now second year at a university in the United States on a full scholarship. She was one of only 400 teenagers in the USA who was chosen for the scholarship.

Losing a Child and Remaining in Faith

You would never be able to tell by just looking at the joyous Tucker household, but just 4 years ago, they lost their second child, Zoe to a major illness. Accepting that the experience must have been excruciating and knowing that they still are charging forward into God’s plan for their lives, Family and Faith Magazine wanted to simply find out what Pastor Junior and Trudy left the situation knowing.

With tears streaming down and her voice quivering, Trudy points to “A tangible experience of God’s grace. There are days when you just don’t want to wake up or any regular person would probably be in depression or just can’t go any further. But then you know that there is something carrying you, literally just carrying you; you can’t explain it, cause when you should be down, you are up, you know that the fruit of the spirit is real – there is joy and there is peace.” Indeed Trudy’s experience brings meaning to the popular song – one set of footprints in the sand.

“For me is that He is sovereign,” started Pastor Junior. “I asked the Lord why did He allow her to die and He never answered me for quite a while and then one day I was in the kitchen and I heard the voice of the Lord speak to me. He said to me ‘do you love my grace’ and I said ‘yes Lord’. He said to me, ‘what is grace?’ and I said ‘Grace is undeserved favour’. He said ‘you love my grace don’t you?’ I said ‘yes Lord’. He said you’ve never questioned my grace. Then he said to me, who can question my grace when I give it? I said ‘nobody Lord.’ He said, ‘In order for me to give grace I must be sovereign because only a sovereign God can give grace. But you love my grace but you don’t want to love me when I am sovereign. In order for me to grant grace, I must be sovereign.”

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While his reverence for God has grown tremendously, Pastor Junior admits that he remains heartbroken. Nevertheless, the man of God continues to hearken to the voice of the Lord and pursue His will. Recently Pastor Tucker launched a new 12-track island worship album, Jesus Famous and hosted a worship party at New Kingston Shopping Centre. Speaking to his evolving journey as a Gospel artiste and Pastor, Tucker said that God alerts him when it’s time to embark on another musical project. “These songs come and I wrestle with them lyrically, I get the melody, I get the songs together…and put the album together,” he explained passionately noting that he is simply a channel for the delivery of God’s heart to the body of Christ. SAH

Dr. Wayne Henry on Faith, Family and Fatherhood

Family and Faith Magazine had the privilege and pleasure of interviewing the erudite and affable Dr. Wayne Henry, new Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica on matters of faith, family and fatherhood. At the end of the process, we developed a new sense of admiration for this humble man of God. May His testimony inspire other men to “press the pedal of their potential!” Enjoy our discussion below.

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Family and Faith Magazine: How important is prayer in your life?

Dr. Wayne Henry: Prayer is extremely important. With the word of God (the Bible), prayer forms the core of my Christian life and experience.

Family and Faith Magazine: What role does faith play in your life as a respected professional, as husband and father?

Dr. Wayne Henry:  At the risk of sounding very spiritual, the Bible says that the just shall live by faith (Hab. 2: 4, rom. 1: 17, gal. 3: 11). I have found that to be true in my life. Faith in God has become a way of life, governing the expanse ranging from my day to day expectations, to the long-term outcomes I anticipate for my life, the lives of family members, friends, the future of the country, everything. Isaiah 26: 12 (nv) says that all that we have accomplished, the Lord has done for us. So whether it is in goal-setting, being armed with the right attitude, in striving for excellence, moving on from failures and disappointments, or achieving favourable outcomes, for me it’s all about faith in a loving God. “Trust in the lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths (prov. 3: 5 – 6).

Family and Faith Magazine: What do you love most about being a father and why?

Dr. Wayne Henry: Being a father is a tremendous privilege and a huge responsibility. There are many things I love about being a father. Among them, I love the opportunity I have with my wife to build a loving family, to partner with her in demonstrating love, setting example and building a home. Many things… but I think I love most the deep love and joy I experience through my relationships with my wife and children. They are truly a blessing from the Lord.

Family and Faith Magazine: What are the 3 most important functions you believe you must perform as a good father?

Dr. Wayne Henry: The 3 most important functions as a father are: (1) to be present (spend quality time with your children – more than things, children want your presence). This also enables (2) to model – set example for them – live before them.  Demonstrate love, hard work, discipline, faith in God, service to others.  Don’t just dictate but demonstrate. This is part of mentoring. (3) motivate – encourage them in their purpose, speak to their potential, the power that lies within them. Encourage them that they have what it takes to live their life fully.

Family and Faith Magazine: If you could go go back in time and offer advice to your 16 year old self, what would you say?

Dr. Wayne Henry: Give God full control of your life, there is so much good that he has in store for you, according to his purpose. Give him that permission and that chance to unfold what he has in mind for you, what he has destined from long ago. There will be mountains and valleys, heartaches as well as rejoicing, sunshine as well as dark days. But in the end all things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose. Allow God, invite Him in, and fasten your seatbelt as you press the pedal of your potential.

Dr. Wayne Henry is the new Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica. He has been married to his beautiful ophthalmologist wife, Gail for 9 years. He has an older son, Mathew (28 years). Together Gail and Wayne have 2 children, Joshua (7 years old) and Gabrielle (5 years old).

Sweet as ‘Kandi’ – Overachieving Principal of the Year, Wife & Mother, Kandi-Lee Crooks-Smith Shares How God Orders Her Steps

When the Family and Faith Magazine team arrived at Allman Town Primary School in Kingston, we couldn’t help but notice the smart Bluetooth earpiece on Kandi-Lee’s ear, her quiet confidence and sense of assurance and grace as she walked across the schoolyard; instructing a child here, talking with a teacher there. This was no ordinary educator. The petite youthful dynamo is a superlative principal with achievements, awards and accolades to fill the seats in any primary school classroom…and that’s a lot of seats! In this Easter Edition, we couldn’t be more pleased to showcase the story of the sweet, humble and considerate Lasco / Ministry of Education Principal of the Year, Kandi-Lee Crooks Smith and how her faith charts her personal and professional success.

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Through the eyes of her adoring husband of 14 years, Kandi-Lee is “such a humble person. I don’t think most people who know her, really know all that she has accomplished and all the awards she has. They are not the stars in her crown,” Oniel Smith told Family and Faith Magazine. “She is always seeking how to help someone else, sometimes giving of her per personal things. I tease her and say she should take the bed to school next, because whatever is needed for the school, the students and teachers to benefit, she is going to get it,” he shared.

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Describing her as “nice to be near, conscientious and kind,” Oniel says the mother of their two children (Jo-Nathan, 11 and Kayth-Lyn 4), “loves from the depths of her being. I know she is tired, but she has a drive to keep going that keeps everyone else going. Sometimes I feel like Aaron, holding her hand up. No sense telling her not to do something if she is sure that’s what the Lord is instructing her to do.”

Reflecting on their years of married life, Oniel, employed to the Ministry of Education, speaks with intimacy and appreciation for his ‘Kandi’: “I remember the days when we just got married I was doing voluntary work at church and between us there was not a lot of funds. She doesn’t make a fuss about getting material things- clothes, shoes etc. There are many times she does her own nails and hair (of course I have to help plait the braids, or relax the back of her hair), but given how busy she is and our lifestyle, she just always says whatever we have we will make it work. She still says she is sticking by me through the poorer, so she qualifies for the richer!  She is my traveling companion we do everything together. There is never a dull moment.”

Kandi-Lee is a trained teacher employed to the Ministry of Education in Jamaica. She holds a diploma in Primary Education from the Mico Teachers’ College (Now University College), and a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the Mount St. Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  She also has a certificate from East China Normal University and was one of two Jamaican Principals who received a Fellowship- Seminar for Principals in the Caribbean, South Pacific and Latin American Countries – Shanghai, China 2014. Presently, Kandi-Lee is the principal of the Allman Town Primary School.

In addition to her educational prowess, the educator has received numerous awards for her work in education and the development of the Allman Town Community. She has also shared her experience and knowledge through a variety of workshops and seminars.

  • 2015-2016 Lasco/Ministry of Education Principal of the Year
  • Governor General’s Youth Award of Excellence 2009-significant contribution to community
  • The British Council/Ministry of Education System and School Management Coaching Programme – Trainer
  • Mentor and Coach of Principals in Jamaica
  • The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program – 2013
  • Presenter – Trainer of Leaders USAID/ Ministry of Education Jamaica Basic Education Project 2011
  • Presenter-Canadian Obesity Conference, Vancouver BC May 2013
  • Presenter- Conquering Childhood Obesity Symposium 2012, University of Toronto
  • Guest and Motivational Speaker- various schools and organizations 2008-present
  • The Mico University College 175th Anniversary Award of Excellence 2011
  • The Mico Teachers College Top Ten Awardee 1998-Student of the Year Competition
  • Valedictorian – Mount St. Vincent University November 2009
  • Jamaica Teaching Council Award for Leadership and Achievement of Excellence September 2010

Family and Faith Magazine’s Editorial Director, Shelly-Ann Harris sat with Kandi-Lee to learn more about the lady behind the accolades and achievements.

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SAH: How has your faith influenced your professional choices?

KLCS: My steps are ordered by God. I have always asked Him to lead me and direct my choices. I also have a host of persons who lift me up in prayer. My mom has a sixth sense that is always alert. She will call and give a blessing or a word of encouragement when it’s really needed. I have parents who will call and say they are praying for me.

I always wanted to be a teacher; I think it was influenced by my Aunt and the dedication with which she served her students. I remember asking God what I should do after leaving sixth form at St. Andrew High School for Girls. I was not even at the acceptable entry age at the time of application. I was too young. But I was accepted and given an Advanced Placement at Mico, so I went straight to the second year of college. I was living in Allman Town where I grew up and my mother, aunt and grandmother definitely weren’t rich! Mico was therefore my best option financially, but outside of that, it was all in God’s plan for my life. I walked to and from the Mico. I met amazing lecturers who saw value in me, and took me under their wings. There were times I stayed behind or I walked to the college just to get supper from the cafeteria. The cooks began to look out for me. Now there is a bond between Mico and me. This has allowed our teachers and students to benefit from numerous initiatives.

Now whenever situations or opportunities present themselves, I place them before God. Like David, I ask ‘Should I go Up, Lord?’ I am constantly asking for His direction. I guess that is a manner of praying without ceasing. It’s that heart to heart conversation that happens even without any forced effort. It’s that subconscious connection that keeps my spirit conscious and my mind conscientious at the same time.

SAH: Keep your spirit conscious and your mind conscientious, I like that. Describe for us now your relationship with your students and teachers.

KLCS: The students and by extension the parents are very special to me. I think it’s because I understand from firsthand experience what it is they go through on a daily basis. Living in the inner-city has its fair share of struggles and its fair share of hopelessness attached to the struggles. But when students realize that somebody actually cares and has hopes for them to succeed, they begin to have that intrinsic motivation, they too want to excel regardless of their circumstances. They and their parents are appreciative. I have an open door policy for most students and staff, so as long as I’m available they can walk in and have a conversation with me. The students will see me on the corridors, or are in the schoolyard and they will walk up and give me a hug or they start to share some information whether it’s their birthday or a relative has died, their mother got a new job…just about anything. They look forward to being rewarded for the good things that they have done and it doesn’t always have to be something that is tangible or can be bought with money. In fact a smile, a hug, a high five, they appreciate it. I love to give them new exciting and innovative experiences and show them that they are first-class, world-class students because they belong to our school.

I always say that I have the best crop of teachers in the world, not because they always agree with everything that I do but because at the end of the day once they see the vision and they understand what our mission is, then they are right there with me. A colleague shared the term ‘followership’ just recently. That is important. Persons follow because they see the wisdom in the leadership and are willing to follow. They might not always agree with the reason or the wisdom but are willing to follow based on trust and mutual respect because they see the results of what that brings.  I believe that is what we have.  I really appreciate my teachers and support staff members.

SAH: That’s quite a beautiful relationship with your teachers and students. Turning now to your family life, what do you enjoy most about being married and being a mom?

KLCS: I love having a companion, a friend, a sounding board who is available to me at all times. My husband is amazing. He helps to provide the adventures we need to keep us balanced and grounded. He has a song for every situation. Sometimes he calls and plays or sings me a song, then hangs up. Lol. I also love that at whatever time I am afraid or uncertain, I can call him or send him a message to pray for me. There are times when he physically comes to my office and places his hands on my head or shoulder and prays for me.

I love seeing my children happy or excited. We try to provide meaningful experiences for them, and help them to have fond memories. Impromptu trips are my favourite. I love when they try to surprise me, my daughter would say close your eyes mom, and my son tries to speak to me in a French accent! Hilarious bunch they are! They are all my real life teddy bears.

SAH: Sounds like a loving family, how is your faith lived out in your family life?

KLCS: I can say for a fact that having a family and the expenses related to that, is in itself a daily test of faith. The provisions that are made through other family members and friends can convince anyone that God is real. We constantly tell our children to practice graciousness. Give thanks for the provisions, because many times they are nothing short of a miracle. The decision we made, as to where to send our children to school, did not make sense to many persons, but we asked God to direct us. Oniel and I spoke about it. I prayed about it. Now they are close to us, and doing well in their schools right here in the inner-city.

SAH: As a high-performing principal, what strategies do you employ to manage your time so that your husband and children get quality time?

KLCS: I honestly think I am still figuring out how to manage my time so that my husband and children get quality time. What has been helping is that fact that we all work and study in the same vicinity. We capitalize on our commuting time, if there is something pressing to discuss, a new song to share (yes the children love to sing like their dad), or a new book to read. We usually attend functions together as well. We sometimes leave the children with their grandmother in St. Ann on our way to a workshop in some other parish, or may have someone from church or a close friend keep them for a few hours.When we go to visit my mother who is abroad, we always try to ensure that our time synchronizes. I know though that it helps that we basically enjoy or participate in the same activities, so that’s really how we spend some time together.

Additionally, my husband tries to have lunch with me at my desk as much as is possible. He actually comes and commands me to stop working and let’s eat! I need that sometimes, no, most times. If I don’t get that, I just keep going.

Kandi-Lee certainly has a lot on her plate, but with God’s help and the love of her doting husband, she is achieving with grace and humility. May her faith continue to keep her sincere, successful and as sweet as ‘Kandi’!

 

Rescued & Redeemed into Sweet Fellowship with Jesus – Tricia-Anne Morris Testifies

When Family and Faith Magazine sat with Tricia-Anne Morris to discuss her journey, we couldn’t help but be enamored by the sweetness of her refreshed spirit and her willingness to be vulnerable for the glory of Christ. The self-proclaimed ‘Jesus Chaser’ shared openly about her past struggles and how the Lord Jesus rescued and redeemed her and put her on path of purpose to help others.

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Family and Faith Magazine: You describe yourself as a ‘Jesus Chaser’, share with our readers what that means on a day to day basis.

Tricia-Anne Morris: Chasing Jesus means doing whatever I can to deepen my connection to Him. So I do simple things like say good morning when I wake up as I would any loved one. We also talk throughout the day like Father and daughter – when I need advice, a shift in my mood and a word of encouragement. Then sometimes there are those moments when I need to apologize to Him (and the person I offended) because my attitude, reaction, or thoughts were un-Jesus like. I also tell Him thanks throughout the day and let Him know how grateful I am for life, my family, my business, lessons learned etc. I do devotions. I’m not a morning person so I do my devotions at lunch time or before bed. My devotions will include reading and meditating on the Bible, praying, listening to worship music. More importantly, it’s when I learn a whole lot about Him. Outside of devotion time I may listen to gospel music or watch sermons.

Family and Faith Magazine: Share one example of how you’ve experienced redemption from sin in your own life?

Tricia-Anne Morris: I remember going through a very rough patch in my life. And that rough patch left me struggling with low self-esteem and mild depression. I didn’t know Jesus then. I didn’t know how to turn my sadness into joy with His help. The hole in my heart was huge and nothing I did would repair it. So I turned to sex, partying, and promiscuity. However, once I became a Christian and accepted that I had been redeemed, had a new life, and was made a new creature, my life and perspective changed dramatically. Because of His redemption I felt like a brand new white suit. I’m talking tailor-made, dry cleaned, steam-pressed, crisp full white suit, white buttons – everything white. I felt like everything that was wrong about me, every situation that had hurt me, everything I did wrong had vanished (was wiped clean from my story) because of Jesus’ blood and death.

Family and Faith Magazine: You were in a broken abusive relationship, what has God shown you about abuse and how women should treat men and men women?

Tricia-Anne Morris: A man is supposed to love his wife as Jesus loved the church. Jesus died for the church, protected the church, provided for the church. This is the model husbands should follow. As such, husbands should never intentionally harm their wives. Furthermore they should protect her (keep harm away from her) and provide for her.

As I prayed about my own situation the Lord showed me that I was also wrong in the relationship. He made it very clear that abuse was wrong. So He wasn’t saying that I deserved it. He was merely saying that I was wrong too.

Ladies, in our efforts to see things run smoothly and care for our family we (women) sometimes usurp the man’s authority. If the man has no money and we go ahead and pay the bills without having the conversation with him first, we’re usurping his authority. The primary responsibility of providing for the home is his and unless that conversation is had and we’ve both agreed…we’re undermining his authority and disrespecting him. We’re saying he’s incapable. Funny thing is we often don’t mean anything by it. We’re usually just trying to help out but that still doesn’t make it right. A wife should always be on the same page with her husband and to do that she needs to have that conversation – the one that includes him and shows him that he matters and is the man. Another example is asking him to do something, say fix a pipe, and because we don’t think he’s getting around to it fast enough, we call for the plumber without having that conversation – usurping his authority.

You know the key I learned from the Lord as we talked through and I self-evaluated is that I am not meant to be the man in the relationship. Don’t get me wrong. I do believe that I can do what a man does in a professional capacity, academically, and even earn what he earns. That however will never make me a man. And I am very happy being a woman. So I have come to realize that his roles are his and mine are mine and I have to respect his as much as he needs to respect mine. Took me a while to understand that, particularly because I never realized that what I was doing was wrong. Nevertheless I’ve since learnt and very much appreciate the lesson.

Family and Faith Magazine: How is self-control important in determining if a man has a tendency to abuse his partner?

Tricia-Anne Morris: Self-control is having the discipline to control your impulses, emotions, thoughts and behaviours. Someone who lacks self-control doesn’t have that discipline. Yet in marriage both persons have to be mature enough to know when to compromise, to agree to disagree, and not ‘be right’ even when you are right. When you lack self-control it’s hard to do these things that are so critical to keeping the marriage together and keeping the peace. A man (or woman) who lacks self-control is more likely to give in to the impulse to argue a lot, ‘blow his or her top’, and as you can imagine over time that may lead to abuse.

Family and Faith Magazine: What is your advice to women in a physically abusive relationship?

Tricia-Anne Morris:

  1. The first thing you ​ought to do is find a safe space. One where you’re out of harm’s way.
  2. Next report it to the police​. ​Especially if he has threatened you or you feel threatened.
  3. You should also tell a close friend, family member and/or pastor (someone trustworthy and dependable). This is​ very​ important because you’ll need someone ​to check up on you and act as your accountability partner​. Your accountability partner is the person you can trust to talk sense into you in the event you contemplate going back under the circumstances and/or you start to blame yourself. ​
  4. It would also be good if you found a prayer​ group to share with. ​A space where you’re free to speak openly, honestly and confidentially. Verbalizing your pain, concerns, fears etc. will help you get rid of the ‘toxins’ from the relationship.
  5. ​You should also ​get ​professional ​help. See a pastor, therapist, or counselor ​- someone that can help ​you get over the ​spiritual, psychological and emotional ​trauma​. ​A great place for counselling is WOGIS Ministries International.
  6. ​Finally, do things that will accelerate your healing process. ​My suggestions:
    1. Forgiv​e yourself quickly
    2. ​Stay away from the blame game. Blaming yourself is wrong, there is no two ways about it. Even if you were the worst wife ever, he was wrong to abuse you.
    3. Forgive him quickly. Hating him ​is a great way to stay stuck. Anger and hate are energy depleting mechanisms. Make every effort to let go and move on!
    4. Also once it’s safe to do so, make every effort to live again…  Take on a hobby, invest in courses, volunteer, join a church ministry, and/or get involved in community service… Getting involved will empower you which in turn will build your self-esteem. If you don’t get involved you may find yourself sinking further into depression and feelings of insecurity.​
  7. ​Keep your distance from him, his friends and/or family members until you are sure it’s safe to be in a shared space with him/them (if at all). Being in the same space may put you in harm’s way again. Doing so can be very risky. Also unless your spouse has sought help and can show overtime that he is a better man, he’s not ready to be with you. It is a risk you’ll have to assess seriously and only after YOU have also sought help and are in a much better place. A weak you will not hesitate to go back, even if it’s not safe. Be keen to listen to the advice of family members, your pastor, accountability partner, and prayer group. If they are opposed to you seeing him then it’s probably best not to.

My rule of thumb is: He’s not ready to change if he hasn’t sought prolonged professional help.

Family and Faith Magazine: How has your painful past helped you to find your true purpose?

Tricia-Anne Morris: God is so amazing. As I went through my healing process I became empowered and then I became excited and eager to share what I had learnt and found in my search to a better me. So I started to think of ways to help other women and then I found myself being led by God in a particular direction. It was less about me seeking stuff out and more about Him taking me on a journey. Out of that journey came my book but it still felt like there was more. So I prayed more, fasted and just submitted it all to Him. In no time the ideas came flooding and the doors started opening. The truth is, as I opened up more and more to the idea of helping women, God cemented for me what my purpose is. So now I do success coaching, business coaching. I’m author, radio host, business consultant, blogger and I host an annual conference for women. In fact, my key target is women. What’s funny is that I’m now writing a book about finding purpose based on the ‘formula’ as it were, that God gave me.

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You can purchase Tricia-Anne’s book on Amazon http://amzn.to/2o0yYwp and at Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/2o4ZlfS. You may also get in touch with her directly via email at tricia.awminc@gmail.com or follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @triciaanneymorris

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