Who Am I

A statement was made. Why don’t I sound British! I was taken a back in that moment for a couple reasons, one no one has ever said this to me before and two I am British and proud of my early years living in Jamaica. 

Presently working on a short story as part of a writer’s group with the group’s aim of publishing a book. Already I was given what I believe to be another story plot which ties into being British Jamaican which I would like to do an insert of this plot title Accepting

Continuing how does God see this. I am a born-again Christian and given how 2020 went regarding race and how I look, I believe I have something to say too.

Without speaking one cannot tell where my origin is from so there are assumptions for example am I from Brazil, Ethiopia, South Africa etc; I smile at this. Few Years ago, I kind of struggled to say part of my identity due to stereotypical view of my Jamaican-ness, including some assumptions.

A snippet of Jamaica’s’ diversity given that three-quarters of Jamaican’s skin colour and or features do look West African, there is a mix due to the slave trade also. Now this has been used to judge, criticise and or for an advantage point as well; but the reason, I started here is again because of how I look.

Let us go back to the statement that was made at the beginning. It is interesting how little children straight away pick up on both the British and Jamaican accent. No wonder the bible tells us to come to Jesus with childlike Faith because it is innocent; secondly someone who has been expose to both accents can also figure this out.

A snippet of British history although what I am about to say is not hidden and is also known but is not highlighted. Britain along with other European Nations had Colonised most of the earth population so from Hong Kong to the Americans. Back to the statement that was made why don’t I sound British well what does Britishness sounds like? Do not get me wrong, it is not necessarily a bad thing to have some sort of idea to call your own, but it is when it can be used to ill-treat and or used to exclude someone, that is when it becomes wrong. 

I know the person who made the statement did not mean anything by it. However, I am a child of God and so it is good to educate where I can.

To give a better understanding of what I have already touched on, I could go into my physical appearance and where I have lived which leads to topics such as Society, Prejudice and Discrimination. Let me say first there is good and bad in every society however I have faced a degree of some prejudice, boarder line racism (but what does His Word, say about all of this). 

Firstly, He loves each one to us. Secondly, He celebrates certain aspects of our Culture for example When Paul talks about being half Jew and half Roman (Gentile); but when this gets in the way of us living in harmony and peace then it becomes a problem. I will give an example Peter (Jew) ministered to Cornelius & his household (Gentiles) they were saved, Firstly Peter went back to Jerusalem and reported the events. As the church expanded the Gentiles went down to Jerusalem and the Jew were pointing a finger at them judging and saying things. Later on, Peter in his humanness went along with his fellow Jewish friends so Paul spoke up for the Gentiles regarding being prejudice.  

By Kerri-Ann    

Over Come

Five years ago roughly I heard about my sister-inlaw ectopic pregnancy and the lost of their first child but good news* her and my brother are having a baby girl!
My job- August 2020 I started a new job in a supervisory role due to covid then went on to cover maternity leave for a member of staff as a teaching assistant. That member of staff came back to work so I was a little concern. Good news again, I resumed my supervisory role with the addition of being back in the classroom while that member of staff expresses her milk somewhere else. Okay it is for a short time each day but every little helps! Look at how God answers prayer.
My reason for typing this out is to encourage myself in a time of need. My eldest coming to the end of year ten with exams for his GCSE’s next year, his current year report 10 is not looking good presently but like with everything else I am going to trust God to see him through in Christ Jesus.

By Kerri-Ann

Its

Intro- I wanted to write a piece on love that is clinical and pure but is it? No, so what is it? Here goes.

Love starts with a small grain in the ground. There are two elements that kicks in the growth, faith and trust. Another vital component is time that allows one to accommodate the roller coaster ride, a roller coaster rattle and shakes; you got to hold on tight.

However, there is a silver lining that should not be crossed less it becomes ugly. True love is not anger for long but will maintain its’ distance at times.

Receiving love, it will flourish and bear, to be displayed up high. It can stand on its’ own or place in a pot to hang high like a flower in a flower basket, to the sunray.

The sea rolls in and out of the shores but there is a boundary of love which stops it from rolling all the way into harm.

The seed of love must have been kept and kept through the rough conditions. One can image that seed through its rough time, in the boxing ring skipping around to fight like the boxer Muhammad Ali, waiting to launch its punches to the wind of foolish talk.

In the boxing ring it paces itself, throws a punch, gets punched, has its time out and in that moment watches to reflect and stands up again to throw the final blow; afterwards, stands in strength of victory.

The flower beams in its flower basket, basking in its sunray on a beautiful balcony.

By Kerri-Ann

Thankfulness

It’s a cold day Friday 12, February 2021 and I am sat in the car knowing there is a need for what I am about to say. On the other hand I could ignore it but not going to. Why could I ignore it because it seems small and heart warming to me. I have attempted once before to acknowledge what may seem small, was it the right time, place (I was situated in) or not enough thought given to acknowledging what my Lord has done; may I add is still doing. When you know what He (God) has done for you, it is important to give thanks and often times we continue with life itself without stopping to acknowledge and give thanks and praise for such things. I am wearing my heart on my sleeves at this present time but I have to because regardless of what is happening around me, I just have to tell of what He has done, this is where gratitude is birth from.  My son was being bullied on the school bus, the sad thing at the time his older brother had joined in. My husband and myself did not really know what was taking place at that time. My son spoke with me saying he wants me to take him to school. My response was I will take you to school and back home if I get a job at your school. Last week Friday my hubby pointed out to me, our son wanted you to take him to school and you wanted a job at the school; you are working at the school and he got his heart desire. I must say the bullying was taken care of. What I have already shared did warm my heart to see God’s goodness and mercies which continues. Another God moment one of my children had virtual learning last week due to a child in his year tested positive for the virus; at the same time there was an outbreak of the virus in one section at my hubby’s place of work. Him being at home this week he escaped being in the office. My son also got the opportunity to do virtual at one of his classmate home twice this week.

By Kerri-Ann

Peace

Peace like a river. We must get to that place of peace within us. My husband and I have been married since 2002. When we first dated, he passed a remark which went something like this “I think you have an inferiority complex”. Hmm it was a little hard to admit but when i took a close look at myself I could not deny it. Why not? I knew I had my own struggles with studies for example with dyslexia. My point is for some it is other things for example how they may think they appear; and maybe there is a valued reason for their perception i.e history, like in my case. There comes a time when we have to recognised what may seem like a flaw. Decide what we can do with it. I am a strong believer that time heals and so I recognised and improve with my faith in Christ Jesus, him being at the centre of it all.This piece came about because of alot of the challenges we faced from 2019 to 2020. Plus towards the end of my week it was a bit challenging but went okay.

By Kerri-Ann

Frustrated

Completed pre-nursing second highest then moved away for University. I came to my final year, having to re-sit my exam. In between the two courses I had gotten married, conceived and diagnosis with being dyslexic 2005. Now are these excuses for not passing that particular exam! Well I was frustrated. I moved back to my home town and got a job as a health care assistant at the hospital as bank or agency staff which meant at times working on a new ward; where alot of the times no one tells you anything or show you where things are kept. Whenever I complained my husband would re-assure me, how good I was at the job and so would say do your best. One particular day I went to a new ward again no one would show you where anything was or tell you. It felt like I had looked in almost all the cupboard until I found the one I was looking for with all the bed sheets etc. As I was packing the nurse’s trolley to assist the patient with their care I started to complain to myself and clarily within I heard the latter end of Psalms 100 verse 3 I think it is, “know that He is God and it is He who had made us and not we ourselves” but what stood out to me and surprised me in a small way was “it is He who hath made us and not we ourselves”. That shut me up for the day. Why I am typing this? As I laid on myside for a ten minutes nap I thought about the atmosphere and tensions, individuals upset or angry, frustrated and either side seems to be not listening to each other. My heart almost panic when it seems no one is listening to the point of peace. I also type to show an understanding of what it is like to be frustrated/disappointed but we should heed to the Word of God and at times ignore i.e turning the other cheek or giving your cloak.

By Kerri-Ann

Finding Your Strength

Finding one’s strength, how does one come about in finding their strength?

It was on Tuesday November 24th, 2020, I was feeling discouraged. Afterwards I saw that an article that I had written and was accepted, is going to be published in a British magazine for the Embassy. It made me feel a little better but not a hundred percent.

Although it has been a challenging year for everyone, I knew the reason I was sad, it was tied to a sense of how, I think I am perceived by others; partly to do with my growth in Christ meaning I know I have made mistakes.

On Wednesday I had my head bowed down on top of the counter then the scripture came up from within me “I will lift up mine eyes…My help cometh from the Lord found in Psalm 121. This led me to read the rest of it; I hadn’t read the bible for a few days. In addition to that, it caused me to ponder the entire chapter which in total has eight verses.

One truth that I think must be told is a quote from my younger sister “you are a beautiful lady”, this I know the Lord has made me into. All of what I have said has brought me to the realisation that I am better at writing articles and daily devotionals, although I have written a couple hardcopy books and a softcopy.

One last struggle was to do with whether or not I thought I was a good writer. Well, I have already answered this and it leads me to tell a very small piece of my mother’s story in this light, from a God perspective of Psalm 121.

Interject- The more I get older in age, the more I realise that there are very limited Cinderella’s stories as part of people’s day to day lives.    

Psalms 121 is my mother’s story (Jennifer), her mother died when she was around six to seven years of age. At one point in her childhood, she was very sickly that the extended family thought she would die but she lives to tell the tale. Afterwards my mother went to live with her aunt who was at times abusive towards her; despite this she enjoyed her childhood when spent with her brothers.  

One of the things my mother advised me on, was to be careful in not having my children change school too aften because she had that done to her and she knows what it is like and the effects it could have on a child for example having to adjust to a new environment and having to make new friends.

In my mother’s adult life there were other challenges but old ones were still there for example my mother is physically beautiful and an educated lady and some of her peers saw that as a threat but it did not stop her from exceeding in life. 

Jennifer went through domestic abuse and came out of it. She has managed to work for almost her entire adult life.

One other challenge I guess was being a mother and raising her children. I know my mother thought that she was giving, my older sister a better life living abroad with her father and the same for my brother when she allowed him to live with her father and stepmother; and at that time was told, it was the right thing to do, at the age of around 24.

My mother raised my younger sister and I, sharing with us what is in the bible. 

By Kerri-Ann

Love

Driving to work I was reflecting on a daily devotional I had read on love. It went on to mention the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris where couples would chain a pad lock as a sign of love. The thousands of locks on the bridge weight heavily to the point of damaging it. 

Let’s take a step back, remembering a personal family situation a good few years back, it made me think about the bible story in 1 Kings 3:16–28 Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the King…. Verse 17, And the one woman said, O my Lord, I and this woman dwell in one house; and I was delivered of a child with her in the house. Verse 18, And It came to pass the third day after that I was delivered also: and we were together; there was no stranger with us in the house, save we two in the house. Verse 19, And this woman’s child died in the night, because she overlaid it. Verse 20, And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me… Verse 21 And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold, it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, which I did bear. Verse 22 And the other woman said, Nay;… Verse 23, Then said the king, The one saith, This is my son that lived, and thy son is the dead: and the other saith, Nay; but thy son is the dead, and my son is the living. Verse 24, And the King said, Bring me a sword. And they brought the sword before the king. And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other. Verse 26 Then spoke the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and, and she said, O my Lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, let it be done neither mine nor thine, but divide it. Verse 27, Then the king answered and said, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.

I want to pick up these words ‘for her bowels yearned’, I see that love at times carry pain which weighs. Love can carry lost and an element of letting go or giving up for the sake of love; could this include forgiveness too? So often we think of the happy feelings of love which is distorted but love does not always carry happy feelings. I never thought about what I am about to say until now for God so loved the world, he gave His only begotten Son, St John 3:16; the lady was willing to give up her son because of love.

By Kerri-Ann

Black & Black

My first book, ‘Love Sees Her’, is set in South Africa.  Before my book was out, a British Nigerian acquaintance of mine posed an interesting question to me.  He asked, why was my book set in South Africa and not in Jamaica, which is where I’m from.

This prompted me to think about unity, culture, and value systems…

I remember watching a programme on Netflix called ‘City of Joy’. It is set in the Democratic Republic of Congo and examines the horrific violence that has been happening there. The number of deaths there is higher than that of the Bosnian war.  This is deeply shocking.

When I look at the state of affairs, I home in just for a moment on who is carrying out these horrific acts, and I see that the Congolese are carrying out these acts of violence among themselves even though it is influenced by the outside world. Something should be done to tackle this but there is no unity; no coming together to solve these life and death problems.  

The Eastern part of the country is rich in the four most commonly mined coltan, tin, tungsten and gold.  Every phone, laptop etc. is made from the material of coltan, yet with these rich resources within the country, the wealth is not being used for the better of the people.

I watched another documentary that got me to wonder about the complexities within humanity.  The documentary, on BBC iPlayer, is named ‘Africa Turns the Page’ which features Chinua Achebe, Buchi Emecheta, Jomo Kenyatta and others.  In the documentary, I noticed that some of the authors had an issue with the title “African Writer”, as if they were not proud of that title from their point of view.  But shouldn’t you be proud of being from the African continent.  If you are from there, your lineage is there and your plot is set in one of the countries in Africa, so, shouldn’t you be proud of that title. I would be, just as I am proud of Jamaica. 

In light of the civil unrest since the inhumane death of George Floyd and black lives matter, I could see the thoughts formulating in my mind regarding these societal problems.  There are complexities within the American black community such as class, wealth and more, but we all can agree that the death of George Floyd should not have happened in the way in which it did. This brings me to my point of unity.

My heritage is Jamaican, so I have that link to the black community.  Before I say what I am about to say, I must say that I do believe in doing your best, achieving, and that no man is an island by themselves. However, from the recent events, I get the sense that some people within the black community come across as if they are having to prove themselves.  And if not proving oneself then it is looking outside of the community for help.  

I must say, that regardless of our lineage and nationality, when my God looks at us, He looks at us all the same and it is our hearts He judges and not by the colour of our skins, eyes, hair, etc.

Watching these documentaries caused me to see distinct issues.  In America and England, I see black people having to prove or come up to statues to be inline with the white population.  In the Congo I see that blacks are killing one another, and there seems to be no support from what I call the cream at the top of black society, who are living abroad with no concerns for those who have been victims of the militia groups.

We are like crabs in a barrel, but to what extent.  I wonder how true this saying is when it comes to helping each other.  Is there no unity because black people abroad are so busy with their own struggle that to a fair degree have forgotten the black people within the African continent.  And do the rich and famous see this need too but also ignore.  This is my quest to understand these complexities.

By Kerri-Ann

Resilience

R- Self respect

E- The letter E in peace

S- Silence when needs be

I- I in dignity 

L- Love of Christ Jesus

I- The ink in my words

E- Envisage

N- Navigate

C- Caring

E- Earnest

There are distractions including noises which can simply be heard in one’s back yard yet without absolute truth. Asking the question why? Is there some validity and if so, should the rest of the noise be drowned out! Some would say you are either for or against but what if I disagree with and stand in the middle on my truth! I once heard of a mother of someone famous asked for her preference and she replied none of the above. 

I rest my case, which brings me to the word resilience. It has been shown over decade and beyond that within my people there have been good role models so let’s spread it over the masses and never stop; never stop, having nothing to prove. 

Walking in peace and if needs be in silence, holding our heads high. As I walk with my head held high staring into the space in front I see where He has allowed me to have over two books under my belt.  Although it may have been said I could not and might have been due to the short coming of not seeing through His eyes. However, I keep walking!

He puts the ink in my pen and gives me the vision on which to write as I learn to navigate this world, He so cares about. Remaining earnest enough to pray for it.

By Kerri-Ann