college

Here in this Place

If you read through a couple of my blog posts (like the previous one) or have a heart-to-heart conversation with me, you will know I have had my lot of daddy issues. From hating the man to ignoring his existence to being here in this place with him, I have struggled greatly with the way that I relate to him, but all of that has taken an interesting turn recently.

September 17th, my and my dad had a conversation, where I let it all out. Many times, I have unsuccessfully attempted to do so. All ending in failure and frustration, but at the end of the conversation I said something to him that gripped both him and I. He often makes references to being the spiritual head of our family and how I should respect that. He talks about how he is without honor in his own home. Knowing God, intimately and personally, I take offense to both statements. One, because I honor him. My lifestyle brings honor to him. I am an African-American women, who has graduated from college with honors and without loans. I moved to Texas to work with people I have never met in my life and did extremely well. I was accepted into one of the top seminaries in the nation. My whole life revolves around how I can please the Lord. The one time I was drunk (and before some of y’all get ya panties in a bunch I realize bad choice), I kept screaming, “I’m so sorry, Jesus! Jesus is so ashamed of me.” So, the no honor thing just pissed me off. More than that I hated it, because that scripture (Mark 6:4) was used in a way to belittle me. And they did. I felt so little, but worse than feeling little I felt insignificant. I felt like everything God created me to be was pointless. And folks, that is a hellish place to be. But back to the conversation. I ended it with this phrase,

“If you want to have a relationship with me, you need to pursue me! Because that is exactly what God did for us. He didn’t ask me to meet him halfway or to pursue him. Because, HE is my Father and HE wanted a relationship with HIS child.”

After letting the tension settle, my dad agreed. He FREAKING agreed with me. I went into my room that night and bawled. I turned on a song called When I am Afraid by Laura Hackett and just cried. I don’t know why I was crying. The conversation ended as good as it could, but it was just one of those where I was overwhelmingly (and frighteningly) emotional. I haven’t thought much about it until today. Because, I realized something: I am worth pursuing.

I jokingly boast with friends that I am awesome, but oft-times I think of myself in relation to my deficits. I look at my left hand holding on to all the things that I assume make me lesser than some fictional other person. The biggest of them all being my body. Not simply just weight, but health issues that are out of my control. I would focus on them and just imagine, “How in the world am I going to present this to anyone? I’m so ashamed. Why would anyone even waste their time?” But in this time off I have had the time to concentrate on the abundance in my right hand. Oh my GOD (literally to God), the perspective. I don’t want to list them off, but the ways the LORD has blessed me far outweigh the pitfalls of being me. And it didn’t see that. I never noticed that and for that reason I am worth pursuing. Let me tell you why this is important.

I am the WORST at liking guys. I pick out guys based on my deficits. I say I don’t have a type, but I do. My (previous) type are nice guys with terrible decision-making skills. Typically, he is a well liked guy in a group of people, but he makes really really stupid decisions. More than that, I have always pursued these “nice-ish guys”. But I am not a tyrannosaurus looking for a partner so I don’t miss Noah’s Ark. I am a woman and I am awesome. I ain’t no Halle Berry, but let me tell you something Halle Berry ain’t no Tosin Akande. GOD has brought me to a place in our relationship where I am understanding myself a whole lot better, because I am understanding HIM a whole lot better. I am worth being pursued. I am worth being pursued because if God pursued me, then a man (the right man) can too.

I can’t believe that took 23 years to figure out.

So, if you are wondering about me and my dad. He is actually pursuing a relationship with me, but pray for me y’all. My heart very easily falls back into the bull it did before. I have forgiven my father. Forgiveness is a purposeful decision, but reconciliation is a whole new battlefield. Can I ask the readers of this blog to leave a prayer for me in the comment section or a message on Facebook that my heart would just soften towards my dad and I would just give him a chance. The way God is constantly giving me chances knowing I am a screwball.

Lord Jesus, here I am in this place. It is such a funny process walking with You. I always ask You to take me deeper than I could ever wander and You do. By the way, I meant physical location wise. However, this is much better than I had in mind. I never seem to know my destinations, but I get there and then everything just makes sense. I don’t ever think I said this before, but thank You for pursuing me. Thank You for thinking me worth the journey from perfection and holiness to sin and folly. Thank You for always loving me even when I never noticed and even when I didn’t love You back. You are so good to me. Thank You for this amazing journey. The past six years walking with You have been epic. Thank you for this month of reflection and recharge. Whether You send me to Mozambique or Sevilla or to Iran or Venezuela or to remain in Houston or return to Atlanta, thank You. My trust is in You alone, and as long as You are in my heart then I am home. I love you and Amen

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A Year After Graduation

May 6, 2012 I graduated from college. I wasn’t to thrilled about it. I didn’t want to attend the graduation ceremony, because I didn’t care. I borrowed my sisters cap and gown from two years before because, I didn’t care. Honestly, I hate impersonal ceremonies. Some would say I did a lot with my college career, but all of it is just fluff. I only attended because my family asked me to. I would have been content staying home or just going about my normal Sunday routine. I hate the pomp and circumstance of it all. I know for some people it is momentous because they are the first in their family to graduate from college, or it took them a long time to complete college. However, I just didn’t think much of college. I have a degree in Psychology (which means nothing, just ask all the psychology majors who didn’t get into PhD or PsyD or Counseling programs). Honestly, I don’t think it mattered because nothing in college really shaped me. Honestly, I feel like all of it (jobs, classes, people, friends) were experiences that are rapidly fading into the nether regions of my brain. Gosh, that was harsh.

We do the same thing in college that we do in high school. We climb social ladders that lead to nowhere. I did it as well. In college I associated myself with the Incept office as if I had nothing else to offer the world. I mean that is what I did for three years in college and the truth is none of that matters. I bought into this lie that if people know me that it is something special. It’s not. The more people who know you; the more people who don’t actually know you. I graduated and Incept and where I worked on campus and anything related to Georgia State (including my degree) did not mean squat. In the next few days people will get the harsh realization that everything that invested in means nothing outside the context of college. You know maybe if I had a more carefree personality I would feel differently, but I hate believing people do things without purpose. Look, I don’t regret going to college and look forward to attending seminary, but I don’t look back a year ago and wish I had mustered up more excitement for the graduation.Truth be told, the last “academic year” of my life has taught me more applicable skills that any on campus job or student organization.

I am a relational person. I love people. I will always love people. I am the person who goes into a job and wants to have deep friendships with my coworkers. I don’t like shallow. I like real problems and real people. Jobs will come and go, but people are a constant in the world. So would you rather use all your energy and resources in roles or in relationships?

I have had a new sort of education since last September. If there was a title to the courses, I would call it Relational Management 4000, because it is not easy. I spent 6 months of my time in Houston as a foster parent working for a nonprofit managing the relationship I have between myself and my kids and myself and my coworkers. Not easy, but in time it leveled. I loved learning with them. Everyone was so open to the experience that in time our constant was splendid. However, the second semester rolled around April 10th, and the classes got harder. Managing the relationship between me and my kids is pretty fantastic, but myself and coworkers is harder because I am readjusting to new people with different personalities, and I have two new classes: being in charge and managing relationships between myself and administration. I wouldn’t change it for the world though. God used the time in my old house to pull out some roots of pride in my life. I am forever grateful for my old house. In this new home, I am learning a lot as well. God is not withholding anything to teach me patience. Obviously, I am calling on Him more frequently.

A lot of my class time is working everyday with my kids. Since I have been here I have had 15 children in my care. Fifteen. College is not a reflection of who you are. You are not members of an organization or on executive boards or in a fraternity honestly there comes a day where none of that matters. My fifteen kids have been a mirror reflecting back who I am. With my kids it is not about the role I play, but about engaging with them as Tosin. I value this past academic year in Houston more than my four in college. I don’t regret the people I met or the work I did, but it was so embedded in the mantra of networking that you have to question the motivation of people’s interactions with you. With my fifteen it is not about networking or who I can use as a reference or any other self-seeking relationship. It is about them and about how I live out my life for them. It is about loving them for who they are. It is about loving them for surviving. It is about humility and grace. It is about abounding in love when you are so burnt out. It is about long days filled to the brim with tantrums and longer nights with newborns. It is about living not for yourself. College was all about me. This has nothing to do with me. I am merely a piece in this puzzle. I genuinely love what I do. I love my kids. It is not simply volunteering; I am parenting and this time has shaped me.

It is harder than psychological research methods. It is not clear and clean-cut. It is messy, and still I get to see beauty in my children. You have not lived and you have learned NOTHING until you live a life that is not about you.

God, I pray for all the people I know graduating. God just make your plans clear for them. Some people are disappointed about not getting into the program they want or not getting the job they want. God, I know first hand Your plans are better than my plans. I know nothing about life, but what You have mad e clear to me. Direct them as well. As, some people are made freshly aware that they are at the bottom all over again use this time of humility to teach them.

God thank you for my time at Georgia State. I am not ungrateful for that time. It served a purpose and brought me closer to You. However, I do not cling to it. It is not the best days. There are many more days to come. You have taught me more that I could learn in the past 8 months, and I look forward to all that I have left to learn. Make me quick to hear and slow to speak. Thank you for everything.

Amen.

Bunnies, Racism, and All Things Cute and Cuddly

***This blog post while not vulgar may be offensive. Please know it was not written for offense, but for clarity and understanding. My intentions were not to harm, but to open up a discussion with a stating of my perspective*** (more…)

Top 5 Seminaries

  1. Covenant Theological Seminary (St. Louis, Missouri)
  2. Dallas Theological Seminary (Dallas or Houston, Texas)
  3. Grace College and Seminary (Winona Lake, Indiana)
  4. Talbot School of Theology (Los Angeles, California)
  5. Columbia International University (Columbia, South Carolina)

That’s right kids. You heard it here first. Tosin is applying to seminary. I knew I was supposed to go to seminary two years ago after returning from my first mission trip from Spain. After being rejected from graduate school, I have accepted that this is what God wants for my life.

I find this ironic though. I don’t feel like I am holy or proper enough to be going to seminary. I love the academic and the relational-ness of the complete gospel of the Bible, but I don’t feel like my past is clean enough to actually attend a seminary. More than that, I don’t even know in what field I would find myself working post seminary. Fortunately, God has a previous pattern of using literally the most unqualified people to do His work. So, I accept the calling and move towards it.

Fleeting Friendships

For the past three months, I have struggled to confront a former friend of a mindless indiscretion surrounding a birthday party. Which all in all makes me question the nature of my collegiate friendships.

I think for most of college I was pretty lonely. I had friends I think. I was an Orientation Leader, which puts you in the spotlight. The girls I roomed with that summer quickly became who I considered my college friends…well plus one minus one. However, as I began to prepare to lay in bed I realized the nature of those relationships were based on an improper assumption. I believe that their view of me was much lesser than I view I had of myself. Maybe since I’ve moved, my view has adjusted.

Since, I graduated in May I began resenting my time in college. The same way I resented my time in high school when I graduated, but I don’t really resent that time. I don’t resent the people I knew there. I don’t resent the relationships that I had. Notice the past tense. I have avoided asking K about the birthday incident because I wanted to spare our friendship, but what sort of friendship do we have? An insignificant one. We are not entirely necessary to one another anymore.

Yet, I am still grateful for that summer with her. She is still one of the most beautiful people I know who constantly is selling herself for much lesser than her real value. She is smart and hilarious and defensively strong. She was a dear friend; I have mourned the loss between us. Nevertheless, I am going to must my courage and ask. She owes me an answer.

Only Time Will Tell

One of the best things about working as a communal foster parent is that my desire for a significant other is fading. Years, I’ve obsessed about having a boyfriend and getting married. Perhaps, I thought a relationship was the greatest purpose I could submit my life to. It is not. It really isn’t. It has been my prayers for so long that if God doesn’t want me to marry, I would be content in whatever He wants me to do. Honestly, I am. I really am.

I love my kids. As, I begin to ponder what I could be doing in a years time I answer with an honest, I don’t know. All I know is that comparing October 2012 to October 2011 there are a lot of things in the grand scheme of life that do not matter.

  • My mistake of an evening with Jarrod, doesn’t really matter. I didn’t sleep with him, heck I didn’t even kiss him. I simply made myself emotionally vulnerable to a guy who is not one for emotions.
  • Homecoming Court was an awesome experience. Let’s be honest though, it is a big pageant. It’s something you reminisce about, but it doesn’t truly change anyone’s life.
  • Whether or not I go to graduate school right after college. I don’t think I would have loved being in school now.
  • College friendships. I don’t know why I made such a big deal about them. I knew some great people. Had some great times and now it is over. Some relationships could have lasted longer, but they didn’t.

I wonder what won’t matter next year.

Honestly, I guess the point of this is, there are few things that really matter continually. What I was so up in arms about last year is completely irrelevant now. What and who matters now, will matter forever. I don’t think I will ever forget any of my kids. I don’t want to. All, I know is my kids matter to me the most.

Thus is life.