When I began my journey in 1999, it was all about HIM. For the next year and a half, He would begin the process within me of building a firm foundation based on His Word. I remember feeling like I had hit the jackpot! I was literally floating on cloud nine! There was a considerable difference in my life. I was no longer alone and I knew I wasn’t. I could feel His presence. And it didn’t matter if the people around me couldn’t give me what I needed or if they understood me anymore because all I needed was Him. He had become my everything.
So after my encounter with Him in my room in 1999 (check out my testimony here), I thought to myself, “I have to go back to church!” Because that’s what I had been taught to do. So I did. I remember trying to go back to the church I grew up in but it just didn’t feel the same anymore. I tried visiting my sister’s friend’s church and that wasn’t it either. After visiting a few churches I decided, I’d just ask God where He wanted me to go. So I did and I waited for Him. There were several places that I could’ve easily gone to at the time because they were the “hot churches.” They were the places where everyone was leaving their Sunday services to go for their afternoon services. These places were packed and attracted lots of people. So the spirit of God had to be there, right? But I prayed and I asked God to send me where He wanted me to go so that I could learn more about Him. But in the meantime, it was just me and Him.
I was still in the honeymoon phase. Just the two of us. Sometimes I would read the bible and sometimes pray. We’d go on walks together along the lakefront, sometimes we’d watch movies. I’d just wake up and ask Him what He wanted to do today. I was spending time with the Lord in ways that others deemed radical, unbiblical, and even sacrilegious. I mean aren’t you forsaking the assembly of yourself together? Why don’t you belong to a church? Don’t you need a covering? You know all the things we are taught through the religious tradition of man.
But what I didn’t realize at that time was that my relationship with God was being cultivated. He was sharpening my ability to hear His voice. I was learning and strengthening my discernment. I was developing trust and confidence in Him. I was learning how to read and study the bible through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. There was so much being planted in me that would eventually become extremely vital and instrumental in my walk with Him many years down the road and even now. When I look back…I wouldn’t trade that time alone with Him for anything!!
One Sunday in October 2001, I had what I can only call another encounter with God. My sister-in-law and niece had left for church and my mom was downstairs in bed. She wasn’t feeling well. Her cancer had come back and she had been taking some intense radiation treatments. Just like last time, we were the only two at home. I was upstairs in my room still in bed. But the TV in the living room was on. So I went downstairs to turn it off figuring they (my sister-in-law and niece) must’ve forgotten to turn it off when they left. So I pick up the remote and hit the power button. The TV goes off. I go back upstairs. All is well. As soon as I get back in bed, I hear the TV again. I know I just turned the TV off. So I go back downstairs and it’s on.
Okay…so I’m thinking maybe the button on the remote is stuck and it popped back on turning on the TV. So this time I open the panel on the TV (we had one of those old-school floor models…LOL!) and turn it off directly. The TV goes off. I go back upstairs and get in bed. And guess what? The TV comes back on and this time it’s loud.
So frustrated I take my little self back downstairs and grab the remote and stand right in front of the TV, mad and ready to hit the power button when I heard something that made me stop. There was a man with this little afro preaching on TV about hearing the voice of God. He started giving his testimony of how he had left his job to go into full-time ministry because the Lord had called him. I found myself intrigued and ended up sitting on the floor watching the entire rest of the message. He was talking about faith, using your faith, standing on your faith, and trusting God even when it looks ridiculous to others. My spirit was leaping on the inside. When he finished his message. I turned off the TV and ran to my mother’s room and told her all the wonderful things I had just heard. Then I went to my room and got on my knees and prayed a prayer that I will never forget.
You know there are some prayers I remember verbatim because they were simple, yet powerful, and totally changed my life. I said, “Lord, I give you everything. Use me for your service. It doesn’t matter if I lose everything I will follow after you.” That was it! Simple. And by the of the next week, I’d lose my job. In two months, I’d lose my car. In three months, I’d have my heart broken and lose the love of my life. And in seven months, I’d lose my mom to cancer. That should’ve been the end of me. But it wasn’t. It was only the beginning. I made it through all of that by the grace of God and the power of His Word on three little white cassette tapes.
Very shortly after I prayed that prayer, maybe like two weeks after, a family friend stopped by to see my mom and he brought his best friend with him who just so happened to be a minister. As the family friend visited with my mom in her bedroom, I sat in the living room with the friend who I’m calling my “Angel.” He asked if he could pray for my mom so I went and asked her and she said yes. He comes into her room and prays a prayer as I’ve never heard anyone pray before. When he was done, he turns to me and says I have something I want to give you and asked if I wouldn’t mind coming out to his car to get it. He gets in the car and beckons me to get in on the other side. It’s a bit chilly outside so he starts his car and then turns to me and asked if I was saved and if I had accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior and I said, Yes. Then he hands me three white cassette tapes and says listen to these. Then something playing on his radio caught my attention. I recognized the voice. And I said, “Who is this?”
And he replied, “My pastor.”
I said, “Is he on TV?”
He replied, yes.
I said, “Does he have a little afro? Is your church blue with blue carpet and a curvy white ceiling?
Yep! he laughed.
“I saw him on TV a few weeks ago giving his testimony about how he left his job to go into full-time ministry.”
“You should come,” he said.
I was so excited! I told him I was so pumped up after hearing that message that I just hopped up and ran to tell my mom and didn’t bother to find out who or where the pastor was.
I got out of the car eager to listen to my three little white cassette tapes. But I could not have imagined all that God would have in store at the end. Those three little white cassette tapes started the watering process of the seeds God had already begun cultivating in my heart. Those three little white cassette tapes would give me just what I needed to walk through the next 7 months of my life and the death of my mom. I know for a fact, that if I didn’t have that Word I wouldn’t have made it. And lastly, those three little white cassette tapes lead me to the ministry that I would call home for the next six years.
By 2005, my relationship with God had deepened. I had roots! I knew without a shadow of a doubt who God was. He had performed and showed up so miraculously in my life up until that point that there was simply no way of denying Him. But now it was time for the next phase of my journey. It was time to learn my identity in Him and it all started with a question…Who Are You?
Well, that’s it for now! Stay tuned/
Until next time…Smooches
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