(ThySistas.com) A few weeks ago I got baptized at church. The very public declaration of my surrender to Jesus Christ and the birth of my born again self was the very anti-climatic end, or perhaps beginning, to my renewed journey and faithful walk with God and my Saviour.
Like many Black children in this country I was raised in church. I was christened Catholic, had my first communion in a white dress and veil, somehow managed to avoid the sacrament of confession, but still got credit for it to move up in catechism class (Sunday school), and at 12 years old I was confirmed; the Catholic version of confessing that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Saviour. I was an altar server and a lector. I volunteered every third Sunday with my mom
With all of that said it is safe to say my formative years were God filled. Even as I got older and had dark moments in my life I still turned to God first. In my times of need, of loneliness, in despair I sought the Lord. Often times in these moments I felt I’d found the judgmental, wrathful, vengeful, God of the old testament. The God that killed Aaron’s sons in Leviticus because they didn’t do the burnt offering the right way. The God of Revelation that promises next time by fire and not by flood. Despite my fear, not the kind David speaks of in Psalms, I still sought God. Sometimes I felt He answered my prayers and sometimes I felt He ignored me.
Then I gave birth.
Some women describe birth as beautiful.
Some women describe birth as painful.
Some women can’t describe birth at all.
In my case the first 9 centimeters went from “Yup, I got this natural birth thang” to “Oh my God I can’t do it give me the shot now.”
After that shot from heaven two hours passed and my son entered the world. It was in that moment I knew without a doubt that God is real. If God has never given you a reality check then you may not be able to comprehend how I knew that God was in the room as my son separated from my womb and took his first breath. I felt His presence and between blinks knew I saw His face though it remains indescribable. In the moment that one woman became two separate and different people I knew without question the very essence of God… and then I was filled with this immovable spirit of death and I ached for more.
Having a child made my own mortality as real as the presence of God in the delivery room. I shuddered every time I thought about the finality of death. The unknown of Heaven and whether I would end up there. I remember reading James Joyce’s “Hell” in high school. I couldn’t get through one man’s imaginative description of fire in the place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, but I will never forget a fellow classmate’s response when our teacher asked us to describe hell in our own words. He said, “It’s your soul trying to get out of the coffin you were buried in but never being able to escape.” To this day, even with my born again perspective, that still makes me shiver.
By nature I am restless. For eternity to be my soul stuck, in a rotting box, beneath six feet of dirt trying to get out is an accurate definition of hell for me; even without the fire. It is something I want no part of. So when a friend of mine invited me to church I went. I didn’t tell her the first time I attended. I didn’t even look for her. I just went.
Like many church-raised adults, when I left my mother’s house attending service every Sunday dropped on my list of things to do in life. Even if I picked up the habit again for months something would happen and then going to God in His house no longer became a priority. While I still had faith, and prayed, it was only when I was in need, not when I needed to rejoice.
My return to church was positive. Something I needed. I needed to be reaffirmed in the word of God. My faith needed to be ignited and my soul set on fire. Yes, these are all the cliches church folk say, but I realize people filled with God’s Holy Spirit say these things because they are true.
There is nothing like being truly in worship: when you’re not thinking about your phone, your bills, your job, your family, the person next to you, or anything else but God’s glory. There is nothing like feeling the spirit wrap around your body as you lift your hands in praise. There is nothing like reading God’s word and knowing it is exactly what you needed, when you needed it, and God being the good God that he is delivering it to you because He knew you needed it. “God is good all the time, and all the time God is good” is not just a saying just for the sake of saying. People say it because it’s true.
Shortly after I returned to church the pastor challenged us to tithe. Give 10 percent for three months and if it is a financial hardship and God doesn’t show up in your life the church will refund your money. No harm no foul. I took the challenge and every month for three or four months straight when I needed money it appeared; a refund check from the insurance company because I had overpaid, or savings bonds my mother and I had forgotten about but it was there. Skeptics may say that money would have showed up anyway it was just timing, but what skeptics don’t realize about faith is that everything happens in God’s perfect timing.
Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
God didn’t just show up for me financially. He also showed up for me by fulfilling dreams I had stopped dreaming. I finished writing my first novel in March of 2015. Upon completion I began the tedious task of looking for a literary agent because I did not and do not want to self-publish. After months of cold emails and swift rejection I figured maybe self-publishing wouldn’t be so bad. I spent money for a graphic designer to design my book cover and website and then began formatting for my release date when I read a blog right here on thysistas about using the people you know to get what you want. That resonated in me so much that I asked a coworker whether her boyfriend’s agent did literary work or knew someone who did.
I had nothing to lose in asking and I can write to you today and say that a week before my scheduled self-publishing release two literary agents said they wanted to represent me and now they’re shopping my manuscript to publishers for a release next year. That there is God. I have been through tests and have testimonies to back them up. My faith was bred in me by my mother and it’s stronger today than it’s ever been. I am a member of the church my friend invited me to, I have connected with some awesome women through the life group ministry, I now volunteer in the children’s department, and I’m raising my son in faith starting him off with saying grace over his meals and the Lord’s prayer at night. I still have struggles, the biggest one is my marriage (as I’ve learned the enemy will always attack where you’re most vulnerable), but I will always have faith that the Lord will work everything out for my good.
Whenever I am in need, or even when I just want to say thank you, I turn to the Lord. I start my mornings with scripture (delivered daily to my inbox because #millennial), I am reading the bible (still in Leviticus, trying to get a chapter in every day but it doesn’t always work out because #life), and I’m walking this walk of faith with Jesus knowing that he’s at my side, behind me, in front of me, or even carrying me, knowing all I have to do is call on His name and He will be there. I’m not perfect, and never will be, but I believe.
I want to leave you with my two favorite scriptures:
2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
Matthew 6:25-34 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow.
They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Staff Writer; Nikesha Williams
May also check this sister out over at; http://www.newwrites.com.