I am 31 years old and I already feel as if I have seen, heard, and have experienced many things waaay beyond my years. I have two stories I feel that testify to Gods grace in my life. I have the darkness that I was called out of from the streets of Chicago. Having felt the pressure of gangs, having been in jail for theft and being an accessory to murder, being in love with a drug dealer who taught me how to make it on my own. Then, I have my life here in Alabama. Which is what I want to talk about. After a conversation with a family member today, I feel I need to explain somethings, so this blog post is just that, my explanation. The reason why many people have not heard from me or seen me in years.
When I moved to Alabama with my grandmother, I felt it was the worst and must difficult decision I believe I had to make. I hated it!!! I was leaving behind friends, other family and a boyfriend whom I just knew I would spend the rest of my life with. You see when you you grow up in a single parent home without a father you use that boyfriend ( or gang) to fill that void that you really want a dad to fill. So when grandma said "we are moving to Alabama" that was it, I had to go. By the GRACE of God I was not thinking in my mind, maybe I can stay here with him.. if that had of been the case life for me as we know may would have been over. Why? Well, because months after I moved here I got a call saying that they found him dead in his home. Looks like his cousin wanted the drug money so badd that he was willing to kill for it. But anyway..thats a whole other issue.
So, I move to Marion Alabama and try to begin a new life. I am depressed, I have anxiety, I am angry to say the least. I make plans to finish school and go off to college so that I can get out of this small town ( no offense). I begin to meet family whom I never knew I had. Lots of cousins, great great aunts and uncles whom are very precious to me. Well, after a while my grandmother begin to ask me when was I going to get baptised. Not just granny but other family was wondering the same question. Huh? Whats that?? You see I never really knew or had any interest in "church". I knew there was a God but as far as him having anything to do with my life I never thought about that. (did I mention my ex boyfriend was a hard core atheist)
Anyway, I say all that to say, I didn't get it. What I started to noticed as my grandmother and I begin to go to church was that many people professed to love God. People went to church on Sunday, got dressed up in fancy clothes, sang in the choir( yes.. I said sang lol) served on the usher and deacon boards, ect,ect,ect. So, I thought okay, well if that's all you have to do to love God, then hey I am down with it. So, I was baptised. No life style change, no relationship, no genuine repentance. Not fully understanding what the gospel was. Just straight dipped in the water. I know much of what I am going to say will offend some, if not many, and I sorry you are offended, but I am not sorry for speaking the TRUTH . This is what the LORD has revealed to me and I pray, I pray that He uses it to draw someone unto Himself. So after being baptised I continue to do all that my heart wanted. I continued to live for self and not the glory of God.
Long story short, I begin to date another guy who introduced me to a campus ministry. I met a person who confessed Christ with their lips but whos heart was far from him. I begin to see where I was, people practiced religion with NO RELATIONSHIP. Now I am not saying everyone across the board did this from what I saw (including myself) just some. Anyway, the Lord used this guy to reveal himself to me. I met him at a junior college in Selma. he invited me on a Christian retreat with him and there is where I met Jesus, for real!!! I heard the gospel message and it was so clear. I prayed with two other college students and that night my life change dramatically. After surrendering my life to the LORD, I didn't have the same desires I once had before, all that tasted good to me, the partying, the drugs, the sex was not as attractive as it had been before. I even had a strong desire to end it with the guy I was dating. I begin to read my bible and it was like a light switch had been turned on. As I thought about my life and what I looked like before (post Chicago) I begin to feel scared and sad, that I had been baptised, sung in the church choir attended church every Sunday and still didn't know who the LORD was. It was all religion. People do it everyday, they go to church on Sunday and then at home in private or throughout the week they are living a totally different life. Or kids, they live off of their parents or grand parents faith. Having hope in just because you were raised in the church and attended all your life that means you are in good standing with God. I learned real quick that this was a LIE I had been believing.
As a new christian what happens is you begin to withdraw from things or people that would be would a stumbling block for you. You don't think about the effects it will have on others all you can think about is I have gots to stop doing this. Well, that's where my family come in. I pulled away from many people I loved and it hurt them. I didn't know what else to do. I didn't want to judge them, I didn't want them to think I was thinking I was better than them, I didn't want to start a big fuss, so I just decided to not say any thing and not come around. I needed to figure out this Christian thing. What I did was I begin to search for all the college students who I met on the retreat and ask them to help me grow. That summer I attended a mission trip and that is when my growth in the LORD begin to really take off. At that time our church brought in a new pastor from out of Cali. The LORD showed me through this family how he cared about my growth and my relationship with him. I was thankful I had other Christians to really fellowship with just like I had at this retreat.
God taught me what it means to HAVE A RELATIONSHIP with him, to not just fall or settle for the religion I see in the south so many times. We get so busy doing things for God, and worshiping our service that is suppose to be for Him that we miss out on just worshipping him alone. He is all we need, we really can do without the other stuff. What we do in worship service and outside is suppose to reflect our love and relationship with the Father. I want to encourage you as you read this, are you are religious person or are you someone who genuinely has a relationship with God the Father? Do you think about life from Gods perspective or your own? The bible says the beginning of wisdom is the FEAR of the LORD. Wisdom is seeing and living life from Gods point of view? Why do you go to church on Sunday? Is it just something you do as a family and have continue to do for years or are you coming to worship the God you LIVE for and fellowship with his people?? I want to encourage you to examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?
Those whom I have hurt I am so sorry please forgive me. Those were NEVER my intentions. How I went about doing what I did was wrong, and now I know better.
Grace and peace to you all this God ordained weekend
That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
1 john 1:5-10