Today, Latoya speaks to us about loss and grief, vulnerability and sharing our stories.
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: I grew up in the beautiful island of St. Lucia. A fun loving certified “tomboy”, artist and athlete. I loved my faith community and grateful for the foundation of faith, family, and [community]. My childhood was amazing, and I cannot complain about it.
There were hard times, but they worked together to give me the resilience I have today. Earlier on, we lived in a two bedroom wooden house with the toilet (outhouse) and shower outside. These were the good ole days.
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: Genesis 1:1-6. I have been traveling through some dark times, but the verse which says the Spirit hovered over the face of the deep is what I cling to knowing that God is covering my deep moments with His presence.
“The verse which says the Spirit hovered over the face of the deep is what I cling to knowing that God is covering my deep moments with His presence.”
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: The power of God in my weakness. I am using the tools in counseling to help me overcome the space of self frustration and regret [that] I have lived in for many years. I have also begun the journey of corporate grief recovery; taking the time to dig into all the losses I have had and how they correlate with my regret cycle. The infusion of grace is crucial for my journey now.
“The infusion of grace is crucial for my journey now.”
Profession: Consultant/Pastor/Workshop Facilitator. Full time student. I am a seminarian at Andrews University Theological Seminary.
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? The Eyes of the Banana Leaves
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? I was around 12 at an evangelistic tent meeting, and I wanted to be baptized, but my mom felt I was too young, so I went to the top of the mountain where I walked to school and made a deal with God that I would be His if He got me to be baptized. I did get baptized but life soon became dark. I rebelled thinking He abandoned me, but now, later in life, I know that never left me. Joy!
How has your relationship with Him changed you? Surrender. I shifted my focus for what He could do for me and others to just simply wanting to be in His presence. The former falls into place when that happens.
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Self awareness and being in this school with the teachings of “how to allow the breaking and rebuilding process to be successful.”
“My story matters and sharing can save a life, including mine.”
Top three essentials: Worship (prayer, praise, the Word), self care, community.
How did God speak to you recently? Through a sister/mentor. I have been struggling with my health, grief and acceptance of the calling. The Lord spoke through her and brought to me James 1:8 which says, “Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” I needed this strong word because I was in that space, and I believe God wanted me to have this coming-to-Jesus talk!
Hobby: Beach, music, writing, photography, and travel.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong: Vulnerability, raw and honest conversations with God, self-inflicted grace.
Favorite person in scripture? Paul.
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? He is relentless love! He pursues us with passion and urgency. His grace is woven in my journey.
“He pursues us with passion and urgency. His grace is woven in my journey.”
How do you engage with your community? Training in the areas of need then serving in those areas.
Favorite holiday? Christmas.
A goal you have? Publish all of my books.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: Mother’s Day is spent at the movies to watch the latest Disney or Marvel movie to come out. I don’t want gifts just that family time together. We have been doing this for years and the best part of Mother’s Day for me.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? Show me those miracles of caring for me.
Thing you want to raise awareness about: Society wise: Trauma, community resilience, childhood trauma recovery, healing families, restorative justice, the transformative and restorative power of God’s love.
What does your morning routine consist of? Normally, I have my favorite Christian songs on full volume and on repeat for hours as I worship. Also I listen to the latest T.D. Jakes sermon. Oh and dancing to the songs.
What is on your nightstand? The Word of God, reading books and my journals.
Define Christianity in a sentence: The expression of the impact of my life with Christ.
For more Latoya:
Until next time, keep witnessing!