If anyone would’ve told me 10 years ago, that I’d be a Bible toting Jesus lover, I would’ve quickly and sharply called them a liar. I despised what I felt Christianity stood for.
By senior year in high school, my opinion of Christians and Christianity was pretty set. I literally used to cringe whenever I saw the Cross, heard gospel music, or witnessed someone talking about Jesus. It all felt contrived and unintelligent. And as far as me going to hell unless I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I was willing to take my chances. Besides, I was convinced that was just a scare tactic anyway.
If you’ve been following my posts to this point, you know my story (essentially you know all my little bitness- lol). I’m sure you noticed there was a pivotal point in my journey where I acknowledged God’s role in my healing. If it seemed like that came out of nowhere. You’d be correct! My conversion did in fact come out of nowhere.
Remember, anything associated with Christianity repulsed me. So, how did this happen?
It’s obvious to me now, certain elements were always at play guiding me toward the Lord. But if I go back to that season of my life (specifically), right before I accepted the Lord’s call, there are a few things I notice right away.
- I was surrounded by loving Christians
- The purging process in my life had already begun. People and things had been and were being removed from my routine.
- I was open to hearing people tell me about Jesus
I laugh when I look at who surrounded me at that time because until then, I was primarily engaging with people who smoked and sold weed. Like seriously, these are the people I spent most of my time with. And then all of a sudden, I was surrounded by Jesus fanatics (lol). The crazy thing is, I didn’t even notice the shift. Perhaps I didn’t realize it because I was still high most of the time (lol). Anyway, this began the process of purging the people in my life. During this time, I started to make other changes as well. For instance, I stopped going to the club and slowed my sex life down to almost a halt.
That last thing, being open to people telling me about Jesus, is HUGE. I’ll never forget being in Starbucks on Howell Mill road listening to my now mentor, give me her testimony. The entire time I was wondering, “How the heck did I get here?” Like, “Why is this happening? I just wanted to sell this lady life insurance.” This was a completely different experience for me. It felt weird yet meaningful. It is the first time I received someone talking to me about Jesus. Less than a year later, guess who was getting dunked in a Baptism pool?
But wait, I don’t want to get ahead of myself. After my strange encounter at Starbucks, I was invited to a prayer breakfast for High Tech Ministries. Little did I know, these breakfasts are strategically geared toward non-believers. Members of the organization are charged each fall with filling up their table at this beautiful function with people who have not accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. This particular year an heir to the Anheuser Busch legacy was giving his testimony. I wish I could recall his name because his story was so incredibly powerful. This was the first time I remember relating to a Christian. His story was a lot like mine. Riddled with violent deaths of loved ones, financial losses, sex and drugs as coping mechanisms, distrust regarding religion, failed self-sufficiency, etc. I saw him as a real person, and I wanted to know more about this peace and joy he was able to obtain in Jesus.
At the breakfast, there was a small book that contained the Gospel of John to the left of my place setting. I was so intrigued after this phenomenal testimony that I took the book home and read it. That was the first time I’d ever read scripture. I recognized parts of it that were taken from Genesis because I’d read them before in the Qu’ran. I guess timing really is everything because I was so open as I read and I absolutely loved it!
I put this tiny book on display in my bathroom. Keep in mind, I was still smoking weed and keeping up certain other activities but I always made sure this little book was dusted off and displayed perfectly.
A couple of months later I was invited to a ceremony for Historically Black Colleges. Rev. Cameron Alexander was a distinguished speaker at this event. I don’t know what he said but I remember thinking, “I need to go to his Church.” Was I actually considering going to Church? Previously, I swore Church was a senseless production meant to drain people’s bank accounts. Welp, I got up that Sunday morning and drove 2 miles to Rev. Alexander’s Church. I sat on the back pew anticipating my need to bolt if it became too much. But I was hardly prepared for what happened next. Again, I can’t tell you what he said but all I know is I responded to the altar call to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior. It felt incredible!
I had no idea what this meant. In fact, I went home and smoked a blunt as I reflected on what had just happened. Things started to change rapidly after this day though. Within 90 days, I no longer had a desire to smoke weed and haven’t done so since. Also in that timeframe, I took a vow of abstinence that I obviously still uphold. Don’t mistake it though, this may have been THE most challenging season I’ve ever faced. This was the season I referenced in a previous post when I said, I finally started to FEEL. And the pain was truly unbearable at times. So, as the purging of people and things was continuing, there was no one I could turn to except the Lord. And go figure, that’s exactly where He wanted me.
In My Story, I talk about serving tables barely clearing $1k a month. That was this timeframe. Having a mindless job during this season really allowed me the mental, emotional, and spiritual space to endure. The most amazing part about this season is, Jesus became my best friend. I was living in an unfurnished condo and was withdrawn from my friend groups. But I had God. From sunrise to sunset, I would talk to, shout at, and cry out to the Lord. This was the first time I was 100% vulnerable. I confessed things of course that He already knew but that I would have never said out loud before then. I offered my heart to Him. And I experienced His love, in ways I still can’t explain.
These are the reasons I can be so vulnerable today. I get to experience the constant flow of God’s unconditional love daily. The chains are indeed broken!