Today we continue our New Series FIND US FAITHFUL with a 3 part testimony from Tanya (me) entitled “My Redeemer is Faithful”
My Redeemer is Faithful
As I look back on this road I’ve travelled
I see so many times He carried me through
If there’s one thing that I’ve learned in my life
My redeemer is faithful and true
Growing up, I never envisioned my life would have taken this path, but I definitely know that it is the hand of God that brought me to this point.
So that you can see God’s remarkable leading in my life, I have decided to trace from my childhood through until now….
I was raised by my mother who is not a Christian. From an early age, I attended church with my aunt and continued to do so for my entire life. Growing up in a non-Christian household meant that there were a lot of things I should have been able to do that Christians were not allowed to do. Now I use the term “should’ as my mother was very strict and so we (my sisters and I) could not do them.
I was always quite shy and quiet, but in the same breath, I always stand up for what I believe and would not avoid a confrontation if I believe that this is something that I need to stand up for. Anyway, I kept very few friends growing up for more than one reason. I grew up poor, to the point that there was a period where our floor was rotted and you could actually see into the cellar. You had to walk on certain boards so that you would not fall through the floor. Because of this I felt ashamed and kept my school friends at and church friends at a distance because I did not want them to know. My neighbourhood friends were kept at a distance too since a lot of them did things like curse, steal- the older ones inn my sisters’ age group were into drugs and partying- my mother was strict, my family was reserved, and I tell you we were blessed by it!
Growing up with a single mother of 3 meant that she worked long hours to support us, but unfortunately those long hours did not translate into a substantial amount of money.
On the contrary, she worked long and it was still very difficult to support us. We had other help from my grandmother who we lived with so were survived. Besides that, growing up in the tropics, we had a breadfruit tree, an apple tree, a soursop tree, a lime tree and coconut trees and banana trees at a point too. My mother also kept a vegetable garden which I loved to work in. On Sundays my grandmother, my cousins and I would go and sell the produce form the garden. During the week I spent a lot of time in that garden, wiping off caterpillar eggs, pulling weeds, watering that garden- I loved it! Well except the manure part since I was really grossed out by that (shhhh. I am still weirded out by poop but I am not phased by blood go figure!)
Since we all were poor we didn’t eat a lot of junk food
since we obviously had no money to buy it. We roasted breadfruits, cooked outside, ate sour-sops (I had those things timed off so I probably would say that I got most of them), drank lemonade, ate roasted fish that the male cousins caught (they also ate doves too, but I can’t say that I ate any. I also can’t say that I didn’t eat any either.) Oh and we had chickens too. I think pretty much most people in our neighbourhood had chickens. Our chickens were what people call “free range” chickens today but we called them “yard fowls”. I remember us watching to see when the hens would go to lay their eggs and we were often very lucky to get them when they were still warm and the shell had not yet hardened. How cool was that!
I remember spending a lot of time with my grandmother (great) and her cooking the most delicious food on her oil stove. Everything seemed like it tasted so much better back then; probably because it was chemical free and actually took time to grow and was not rushed to maturity by chemical fertilizers, but I digress.
We couldn’t afford toys and things like that so we got very creative with our games and props for our games. We played police and crooks and cowboys and Indians and we made our own guns from pieces of wood or branches. We also made our own bows and arrows using string and branches. Those games we loads of fun- picture chasing people through knee high (I was the smallest back then) only to realize mid-flight that the grass you were running through was tied lol.
We also made these things like go carts which in effect was a flat piece of wood that you sat on it had 4 wheels under the bottom and 2 of those wheels were on a piece of wood that could turn from left to right so you could steer (maybe a picture would be great). We used the coconut branches limbs to build structures in which we placed a bathroom which had a pep bottle filled with water and holes punched in the cap as the shower. We also created our own games too like catcher (tag) in trees or on bicycles.
I have very fond memories of the entire street we lived on and others from other streets coming out in front of our house to play games and this included adults too! One of our favourite games was “Red light green light”- talk about loads of laughter.
Then there was Christmas, where everyone was outside scrubbing the outside of the house cleaning windows and then in pairs, armed with newspapers, shinning windows until they were so clean that not even the birds knew they were there. Curtains came down for a week before Christmas leaving the windows bare so that people could peer in, but that did not matter to us. Floors were scrubbed, carpet was scrubbed and then placed on the roof to dry for days. Walls were painted, gardens pruned and marl laid around the house. Then the night before Christmas, turkeys, ham, chicken, sweet potato pie, macaroni pie, sweet bread and cakes were baked. And at midnight there was hammering as everyone finally put up their long hidden curtains. Many Christmases we would take a walk through the neighbourhood after midnight looking at everyone’s curtains, enjoying the smell of food wafting through the night.
Oh the memories!
Look out for part 2 of this testimony next week.