Who is FAMILY?

This week the keyword is FAMILY.  My mother instilled in me, based on her example, how important family is. Some family members are closer than others, some members of the “family” do not carry the same blood.  However, you learn to love them and you learn from them.  You learn how much you need them when they’re not around.  You learn to miss them. You learn to miss how you longed to laugh for no reason and how you used to play “anything” and enjoyed it to the fullest.  You learn to be more like them while keeping your essence. 

You learn to admire their strengths.  You learn to pray for their difficult situations.  You learn to lift them when they fall.  You learn to support them when they need you. You learn that your family is a sister…a friend…a confidant…an accomplice…a partner. It is who protects you. It is who advises you. It is who exhorts you. It is who catches your attention. A family member is one who loves you.

My trip to Anaheim, California this week was transformative. I arrived at my hotel at the same time as my sister Clara and we enjoyed, together, some sessions that helped us grow as individuals and as leaders of our teams and businesses.  Although all of that was important, we spent quality time sharing together, not only celebrating each teaching, but also life and  her achievements in the aspect of health.

I disconnected from my world at that time as much as possible because I felt it was important to do it to improve as a person. I wanted to do my best and it involved disconnection and a total focus towards what we were learning.

I reconnected with old friends whom I admire a lot but I also discovered members of a new family, AMARE, who immediately welcomed me and promised me to be part of a mission that will change the world. My commitment is to be part of their movement to create opportunities that others need.

My family has practically spread within the team of John Maxwell, my church (Chicago Tabernacle) and this company, Amare, the mental wellness company that is revolutionizing the world.  The members of these 3 organizations have very similar things that appeal to me.  It’s characteristics of its people are what I look for in my “family”. They’re compassionate, helpful, action people, hardworking, wise, generous, impactful, successful … they are not perfect people, but they are “family”, they love God and their actions prove it.

At the end of my trip, I was certain that one more experience was still missing before returning to Chicago. Usually my intuition does not fail. 🙂

 I wanted to surprise my sister Noelia, the oldest from my mom’s second marriage, who lives near Los Angeles. I arrived during her church service. It’s always a joy for me to worship God with her and family. It’s amazing to see everyone there including her husband, her children, Sarahi (the angel of her family) and her dad Manuel together and what they’ve accomplished in spiritual growth.  It filled me with an indescribable joy. Seeing them together worshiping God with freedom always takes me back to my mother’s desire to see her children growing in the knowledge of God.

What followed next could be called a divine intervention.  My conversations with my sister Noelia are always very deep and full of reasons to get us closer, including constructive criticism. We shared time with our brother, Jose Juan and listened intensely through the phone about the miracles God recently performed in his children. This filled us with faith and hope that God hears our prayers. We cried, laughed, prayed and grew together.

 I will always be grateful to God for the wisdom he has given Noelia, for revealing areas of growth for me and for necessary changes in my actions. She makes me improve every day as a person, as a sister and as family. The labels that described us in the past are changing little by little with God’s help and we are becoming aware of what really matters within a family. They may be intangible things but impactful ones like unity, protection, forgiveness, exhortation and Love.

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